I’m looking for advice on how best to migrate to iCloud Photos for a user with MacBook + iPad + iPhone. Objective is one single library of photos in iCloud that all three devices can view, curate, edit, etc.
Background: I’ve been using Apple’s photos applications on my MacBook Pro for years – first iPhoto, then the present-day Photos program. I tried enabling iCloud Photos when it first came out years ago. At the time, I probably had 5K images in the library on my MacBook. Things went terribly wrong - operator error, no doubt, combined with bugs in the new functionality required for iCloud syncing. My library got hopelessly corrupted. Had to delete everything, turn off iCloud Photos, and restore the library from Time Machine. Wasted days/weeks, and swore off iCloud Photos forever.
But perhaps it’s time to embrace the future. So I’m looking for advice on how best to proceed, and avoid the morass I encountered last time.
I assume the First Step would be to enable iCloud Photos on the Mac. Leave it be for a day/week (without sleeping) so the initial upload to iCloud can proceed. I have the 50GB iCloud+ storage plan which should be ample. If not, I’ll upsize.
Step Two: enable iCloud Photos on the iPhone?? The iPhone has lots and lots of photos and movies on it, some of which have already been moved to the Mac’s photo library - some via ‘direct transfer’ (usually Air Drop), some via My Photo Stream. As a result, there will be a lot of duplicates.
At some point, I assume that having enabled iCloud Photos on the iPhone, images will start downloading from the newly-created library in the cloud to the iPhone, bringing it up to date. Not full-size images, but thumbnails. Since the iPhone has limited storage, I should enable Optimize iPhone Storage. It’s not at all clear how Apple deals with the bi-directional syncing that’s required, but I assume that’s all taken care of:-)
Step Three: after the iPhone reaches steady-state, enable iCloud Photos on the iPad and let it sync to the iCloud library. As with the iPhone, I should enable Optimize iPad Storage.
Re the duplicates: After the three-way syncing completes, I thought I’d be able to deal with them within the Photos app on the Mac, but I’ve learned that the auto-generated Duplicates folder seems to be a feature added to Ventura. My Mac has Monterey (with no current plans to upgrade to Ventura), so perhaps I’ll have to winnow out the dupes on the iPad (which has iOS 16). That’s less than ideal, but may be viable.
If I decide to proceed down this path, I’ll ensure that the Mac is configured to keep local copies, so the complete photo library will get backed up. (I run both Time Machine and Backblaze, and also make a clone of the Mac’s SSD with SuperDuper from time to time).
Thanks for any advice on how best to achieve Photos nirvana in the cloud. As well, warnings about any pitfalls that may be lurking will be gratefully received.