macOS/iCloud Photos Sync

Syncing Photos between my iMac and iCloud hasn’t worked well since upgrading from Mojave → Big Sur in October 2021. Now, on Monterey 12.6.3, it recently stopped altogether.

I called Apple, fiddled with some settings and ultimately created a new Library by downloading from iCloud, which seemed to be working.

Now it’s stuck again.

Syncing between iCloud and my iPhone 12 Pro (now iOS 16.3.1) has always worked flawlessly.

I’d like to continuing using Photos on my iMac’s 27” screen, but my next step is to abandon the iMac and try syncing to my M2 MacBook Air; editing on its 13” screen would be better than on an iPhone, but not as good as on a 27” screen.

Does anyone have any ideas to jumpstart syncing Photos between my iMac and iCloud? (I need a defibrillator.)

This is a long shot, but are your photos stored in the default location (~/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary)?

The reason I ask is that I had a long-term problem syncing my Music playlists that was solved by moving my library from its legacy iTunes location to the default Music location. Since this was non-intuitive, I wonder if something similar could happen with Photos and iCloud.

Thank you for your suggestion.

All my .photoslibrary files are at the root of:


Your file path wrapped at the space between “Photos” and Library”; I presume that the wrap is not intended and that you mean:

~/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary

Yep, that’s right, it’s just a regular space.

I just realized that despite my .photoslibrary files being located at the root of ~/Pictures/, maybe they are not considered in the standard location after all because my user directory is NOT on the startup volume.

Is is possible that Libraries must be located on the startup volume in order to sync reliably after exceeding some size threshold?

Mine is on an external drive and works. More than 42,000 photos.