Well, after a three and a half month valiant struggle to upload my 12000 photos and 1000 videos- (180 GB of data in total) to iCloud, my trusty 2008 MacBook Pro has finally died, succumbing to the video chip glitch that a lot of machines of this generation suffered from. Apparently this was due to the switch to lead free solder in the manufacturing process, and can often be fixed by reflowing the solder by heating the logic board in the oven at 200 degrees C for 10 minutes. But that will have to be for another blog post...
It nearly got there, it managed to upload about 100 GB of data, until it got stuck.... according to my calculations 180 GB at 1024 MB/sec should have only taken about 17 days to upload 24/7 - not over 3 1/2 months!
The main problem is that instead of uploading everything to the cloud, and doing the video and photo thumbnail generation in the cloud, apple uses YOUR CPU time to generate 2 versions of every photo and video in your collection at lower resolution so they can be viewed on other devices, which pegs your CPU at 100% and puts a lot of thermal strain on your computer, not to mention making it impossible to use for anything else.
When it actually gets around to uploading the files to the cloud, it maxes out your upload which kills your ADSL download speed. It was so bad that 2 weeks in to this sorry saga I decided to upgrade to cable internet.
Then, if it encounters a corrupt photo and video in your collection, it will just stall without telling you it is stuck. But you would never know, because Apple don't give you any useful progress indicators as to how the iCloud sync is progressing- the only way really to tell is that the CPU and bandwidth usage isn't getting red-lined.
I managed to figure this out by using the Activity monitor to see what files the cloudd process had open, and noticed that it kept looping over the same set of files. When I tried to open each of these files using finder, I found one photo that crashed preview every time. I deleted this file along with all the version on other devices and my upload progressed from being stuck at 94 GB until it got stuck again at 100 GB.
You can see all the temporary files that are used by cloudd when syncing by opening the Photos library file in the finder with "Show package contents". When icloud photo sync is enabled, there will be a subdirectory in there called private, which contains some sqlite databases that are used to track the file sync and a whole lot of directories named AAA, AAB, AAC, AAD, etc which contain the files that cloudd seems to be uploading in batches to the cloud.
There are also 2 directories for the lower resolution videos and photos that are used by the VideoConversionService and PhotoConversionService whilst they abuse your CPU and turn your laptop into a nice little room heater. Again, you can identify which files are being converted by viewing the VideoConversionService and PhotoConversionService in the activity monitor and going to the open files and ports section.
Another top tip, which got my upload briefly unstuck for a while it to repair your photo library by launching Photos while holding down the alt option keys.
I thought I would be able to consolidate all my photos in the cloud from all my devices. I think I ended up deleting the same photo from my library about 20 times trying to clean up my camera roll, but whether I deleted it from my phone, my computer or the icloud web interface it would never get deleted from my other devices.
basically iCloud photo sync DOES NOT WORK. I'm convinced it is all a big scam to sell iCloud storage plans, that they will never have to worry about actually being used.
basically, iCloud photo sync sucks.
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