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So I’ve Decided to Move 100,000 Photos to iCloud Photo Library

PhotoJoseph's picture
April 12, 2015 - 3:41am

As I'd mentioned before, I was considering moving my entire personal image collection to Photos and iCloud. I mean, why not, right? I already had my personal work separated from client work in Aperture, so I exported that folder as a new Library (took overnight), then opened that in Photos (took another night). Today I checked in, and Photos seemed to be behaving, so I decided to bite the bullet and click the “Use as System Photo Library”, and enable iCloud. I was immediately presented with this message:

101,073 referenced files need to be consolidated… 

So over 101,000 images need to be consolidated, which I actually find quite interesting since according to Aperture there were only about 98,000 images in that library, but I guess it's versions as well. Maybe closed stacks when I looked? Not really sure… but whatever. It's on.

It took a few minutes to figure out how to consolidate. The File > Consolidate… command is dimmed until photos are selected, and I tried selecting the “All Photos” album under the Albums tab, but when I did it said there were no images to consolidate. So I finally opened that “All Photos” album, selected all photos, and selected Consolidate again.

Oh me oh my. No going back now. Note it does say “copy the original files” not “move”, so they'll still be accessible by the Aperture library.

Now my biggest concern is if there's enough space on the drive. It had just over 1TB free, so we'll see if that's enough. 

And then of course, if the total collection is over 1TB, I'll have to start culling images and shelling out $20 per month. Happy days!

Apple Photos for macOS

Staying put for a while.  I am not a power Aperture user but with nearly 200G in Aperture I am not in a rush to lose functionality.  Folder and organization of my photos is my main concern.  I will watch your tips and columns with much interest.  

Thank you for all you do.  I’m signing up for your course right now.

I’m probably going to switch to Capture 1 from Aperture since I really like what I’ve seen in the trial version and what I’ve read on the various posts and their comment threads here. I find it hard to take Photos seriously at this point. For example, if there is a way to reverse the chronological listing order of Events other than by individually dragging and dropping them either in the sidebar or the viewer I have yet to be able to find it, which is ridiculous. I have 1.4TB of images. And they are not going into anyone’s cloud, not even Apple’s.

Want to second John’s thank you. Your hard work to provide us with useful, sometimes critical, information is much appreciated.


I’m holding off for now. I’m not really keen on paying additional money/month to Apple for cloud storage and I never really got into using the photo streaming feature on my iPhone and iOS.  However, it doesn’t mean I’m not interested in keeping up with seeing how Photos works and evolves.  Already pre-signed up for Joseph’s first Photos class.  Right now I still have several of my Aperture folders linked to Photos on my phone via iTunes and just started using Lr’s Mobile feature which allows you to sync collections to your devices and even do some further editing if you so choose.

Florian Cortese

The comment thread for this article is really sobering and a little scary. People are having all kinds of weird problems going from iPhoto to Photos, much less when iCloud is involved.…


i have owned and used all versions ( up to v11) of  ’PS Elements’ then on getting a Macbook Pro decided to get Aperture (it seems logical as pro’s use it as well) just before Apple reduced its price to one third.. during this time i got used to the file structure of finder/elements and it worked well for me but on moving to Aperture all my photos went onto a ‘managed library’ which meant for me that all my photos ‘disappeared’ (though not in actual fact) for Photos app read ‘consolidate’…. so decided to move my near 15,000 photos into a separate usb drive (easier to copy, store and back up the photos) and on Aperture of course had to set them as ‘referenced’…. during this time I also decided to try Lightroom with its clearer file structure and i also noted that lots of my photos had had the image creation date altered so i could not date photos any more… (which program was to blame i am not sure) but i was able when importing in LR to change to name of my files and add the date of downloading which gave me a reference date - can Photos app do this ???     I do not do a lot of ‘darkroom’ work on the computer, don’t need to, so Photos app seems a good choice for me, though i do Not want to be involved in iCloud fees and slowness of loading.   Just hope I can sort out the things i wish to do….

If you found some pictures are lost during the process of moving photos to iCloud photo library.
You can choose to retrieve photos from iCloud with FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery.
The whole process lasts for several minutes.
After signing your iCloud account, you can choose a certain file to download and then save them to your computer.

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