Consolidating photos across devices

My wife and I both take photos on our iPhones.

We would love to have a consolidated library with all of our photos.

Any suggestions on how to go about this - both setting this up and maintaining into the future?


Thanks for the clarifying questions. We would like to have all photos in one place for backup, but also to be able to have a central source for using the photos (e.g. to print,create photobooks, etc.).

I’m sure many of us have been asked that question or asked it ourselves. IMO there is no easy answer, but Google has the best solution at this time.

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When you say you want a consolidated library, do you mean for storage or for display? Or both?

Some questions …

  1. Is this for backup?
  2. Do you want the photos always available?
  3. Do you want every image taken or a curated collection?
  4. Will you want to share this library with others?
  5. Do you want separate galleries in the library?

And of course all off the above is an acceptable answer.

My siblings and I use shared albums in Photos to share images (we load images throughout the year for an family calendar my sister makes each year). You could set a shared album for the two of you to use and upload the images you want to share. I do not know the storage limitations for this option [thanks to quorm I do know the storage limit!].

I also use SmugMug to upload images to the web, and they are available on any device, and can be shared (or not) with others. SmugMug has a iOS app which can be set to automatically load images your SmugMug account. Note that SmugMug is a paid service. There is no storage limit.

For the iPhone images I want to keep, I use Image Capture on my Mac to move them to my image library. I do not use Photos on the Mac. The images are in folders and I use a variety of programs to catalog and process them. If you are just looking for a combined backup library this could be an option.

Good luck, and I hope you find a solution that works for you.

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Regarding shared album limitations

  • Maximum combined number of photos and videos from all contributors in any one shared album: 5000

and more …

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Since Photostream and Shared Albums were mentioned above, I would add this caution: both of these services degrade or compress the images. The images after transmitted or shared through those services are not the full-resolution image files, so they are not suitable for permanent or archival storage.

Further explanation in these links:

Here’s one option I’m considering:

  1. Create a folder in Google Photos for each year (2020, 2021, 2022).
  2. We export our favourite photos from our phones into the relevant folder.
  3. We delete the exported photos and all of the others.
  4. If we want, we can create other subfolders in each year (Dad’s birthday party, first day of school) but keeping the structure flat makes it simple and easy to use.

What do you think?

One thing I would add is:

  1. Back up photos.

I have both local and offsite backup for my photos (and everything else!).

Good luck and have fun!

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