Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Catalina No Longer Caches Shared Photos Locally

Tyler Hall:

So, I looked, and, sure enough, that sharedstreams folder is gone. But where?


Ok. That’s great. It actually makes more sense to have shared photos also live inside your library instead of somewhere random in ~/Library.


Of the 112 GB my shared albums previously took up, only 250 MB (MB!!!) are cached locally.


I don’t trust iCloud with my photos. And I’m not trying to single out Apple. I don’t trust Google Photos either. I don’t trust any cloud with my data. I love the convenience of iCloud photo sharing with friends and family and using Google Photos as a source of truth for my own family archives. But I want a backup of my data – just in case – that I’m in control of.

The option to “Download Originals to this Mac” doesn’t apply to shared photos. So you can’t back them up youself, and there’s no backup in the cloud. Not only does it no longer download the photos, but it also deleted the ones that had been downloaded by macOS 10.14.


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I just downloaded all my photos in the cloud in a single zip file. There is an option on to do this. Go to photos, select the files (or ⌘A to select all) and press the cloud with down arrow to download them in a zip file.

@Mark At least for me, the web interface doesn’t show photos in shared albums at all.

IMO shared streams shouldn’t be stored locally. I don’t want them taking up ever increasing GBs of drive space. (The photos in the stream aren’t original quality anyway – I think they’re scaled down and omit some metadata?)

I think the better solution for this situation is shared albums, like Google Photos has.

I'm confused. Whenever anyone shares a set of photos (Shared Album? I don't know the name of it) with me via iCloud, I just select the option to save them to my Camera Roll (or Photos Library or whatever it's called these days). Once their in my personal library, they're no different from any other photo. I do have to remember to do this, since links to Shared Albums are invalid after some set amount of days/weeks... but other than that, no problem.

@Nigel Yeah, unfortunately I think they are not full quality, anyway.

@Ben I don’t think that’s how it’s worked for me. I accepted a shared album, and it shows up in my library in a different section. Yes, I can drag individual photos out of the shared album into my library, but I don’t want to have to keep doing that each time another photo is added.

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