First test of Photos app and iCloud Photo Library

A few days ago I decided to try out the OS X 10.10.3 public beta and the new beta of the Photos app. I have been very excited about the promises Apple has made about the Photos app and how they aim to make managing my photo library easy and seamless.

After sufficiently backing up our old iPhoto Libraries and paying the small monthly fee for 200GB of iCloud Storage, I launched Photos for the first time and had it run through its import of my iPhoto library and sync it to iCloud.

The sync took about 36 hours for ~100GB of photos, which didn’t seem too bad all things considered. I then replicated the same for my wife’s ~60GB photo library on her account, paying for another 200GB of iCloud Storage. For $3.99 apiece per month, it seems like cheap insurance for our priceless photos, although it’s too bad my wife and I can’t share the storage. Plus we were both running up against our free 5GB limits already thanks to iOS backups.

Once both syncs were done, I enabled use of iCloud Photo Library on all of our iOS devices and chose to store the optimized versions of photos, downloading on demand the full resolution copy. On our home Mac, we have the full libraries downloaded so that they always contain a master copy of the photos. This Mac of course is backed up by Time Machine and Backblaze. Technically now we have copies of photos in four locations now, two of them off-site. That seems like solid redundancy.

So far…so good! The photos really seem to sync effortlessly without worrying about it. Edits to photos also sync and are completely reversable. I also like the new Photos app a lot, scrolling is so fast and a million times better than iPhoto.

Today we had our first test of iCloud Photo Library after a minor fender bender in a parking lot (don’t worry, no one was hurt and very little damage to the cars). I took photos of both car’s and their damage. When I arrived home, I opened up the Macbook, launched the new Photos app, and the photos I took were already there thanks to iCloud Photo Library.

30 seconds later and I had them exported and attached in an email to my insurance company for our insurance claim.

Finally. Effortless photo management. Even for a beta, Apple seems to be off to a good start. If this is a sign of Apple renewing their commitment to software quality after some recent concerns, I’m excited for the future.