Apple Photos with multiple computers

I have iCloud Photos and 2 Macs in my house

Mac 1: A Mac Mini with a lot of space where I usually do most of my photo work (2 TB SSD)

Mac 2: A Macbook Pro with a smaller SSD (256GB)

I’d like to be able to use Photos on my laptop without taking up all the hard disk space. When I signed into my iCloud account it downloaded everything to the laptop and filled it up.

Should I be using “Optimize Storage” on the Macbook Pro?
If so, will that affect my Mac Mini at all? (i dont want it to)
What about my iPad/iPhone do I use optimize storage on these as well?


The setting on one device does not affect other devices.

I have Optimize Storage enabled on all of my devices except my iMac Pro where I have Photos download all files so they can be backed up via BackBlaze.

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Definitely use “Optimize Storage”! It will only effect your MacBook Pro. What it does is remove the full resolution version of your images from the device and only keeps the thumbnails (until you specifically click on an image)

Nice, ok thats what I thought I just was afraid of something happening to 20 years of photos. Even though I have backups Im just paranoid :slight_smile:

But you won’t be able to access photos offline, so keep that in mind

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On the plus side, if you have an iOS device you can whisk through the years and dredge up old photos in the middle of conversations for better or worse :slight_smile:

You should at least still see low-res versions/thumbnails which will trigger a download upon open,

yes, but you won’t be able to download if you’re offline.