Extra Photos library on iPad Pro

So I’m awaiting the arrival of my new iPad Pro in January.

There are not many things that keep me from going completely iOS and iPad Pro instead of MacOS.

One thing though is the fact that on my Mac I maintain two separate Photos libraries.

In the Mac that’s very easy to do. I just them up individually. But how do I do that on iOS and the iPad Pro?

My primary library is all the photos and videos I shoot with my iPhone and have shot over the years. They’re stored in iCloud and accessible everywhere.

The other library is about 4000 photos that spands nearly 90 years of family history.

I had all of my family’s photos scanned and optimized abkt 5 years ago so that they were available digitally for myself and other family members.

But now I’m looking at a Mac-less future and I have all these precious photos in a separate Photos library as well as on a separate hard drive. My question is then:

How can I access this “extra” Photos library on my new iPad Pro? Any ideas?

I think this will depend on how you use/access/share the second library. A couple of possible options:

  • Store them in a separate system (main library in iCloud, family history library in Google Photos).
  • Store them as a bunch of files in a cloud storage solution (Dropbox, iCloud Drive, etc.).
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Ran across this thing yesterday, no idea If it will help, but seems to have potential.


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The most price-effective, stable company options for showing and storing images, and having private and public galleries:

Google Photos (unlimited jpg storage if your photos are 16MB in size or less, otherwise you pay for Google Drive storage 100GB: $1.99/month, up to 20TB: $$199/month).

Flickr Pro ($50/yr, unlimited storage, ad-free, with statistics, backup via the desktop Auto-Uploadr, and discounts from Adobe, Blurb, SmugMug, and Priime)

Smugmug (which bought Flickr: similar unlimited plan for same price)

Zenfolio (Smugmug’s main competitor, aimed at small photo businesses, $60/yr, unlimited photo storage)

iCloud (50GB: $0.99/month, 200GB: $2.99/month, 2TB: $9.99/month)

Adobe Creative Cloud: they have mobile-only plans that seem to range bwtween $5-$10/month with up to 100GB storage included. (Interesting discussion here.) I do know that if you need more storage and are already on an Adobe plan you can get 1TB additional storage for $9.99/month.

If I were in your situation I’d try out the iPad apps for each of these - I don’t know how good they are as I don’t have an iPad now.

My personal inclination if I were seriously into photography were iPad-only would be to get an Adobe Lightroom CC plan, which would give you excellent editing tools plus storage. If I wanted to stay with iCloud Photos for personal stuff but retain an archive of scanned family photos I’d probably set up private archives on FLickr Pro or Smugmug … unless the images were all under 15Mb in which case I’d go cheap and toss them all into Google Photos.

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lets say I decide to put this extra Photos library into iCloud Drive. Would it be possible to browse the images in an iPad when the images are contained in a Photos Library or do I have to keep them as a separate files?

With iCloud Photos the canonical location for all files is the cloud, and the images propagate (and edits propagate) from device> iCloud > all other devices. (And if you delete an image from one device the delete command goes to iCloud and deletes the image everywhere.)

So yes, if you put extra photos in a folder into your iCloud Library you will be able to see and edit them (making non-destructive edits) from any of your devices, plus iCloud.com, plus you’ll be able to share them individually or even create links for shared photo albums.

There are several collected useful articles here that should help you with iCloud Photos:

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so just to understand this correctly, if I take my secondary Apple Photos library with all my family photos and put it in iCloud Drive, then I’m able to browse it on my iPad?

If you merge the libraries into one library (you separate them by folder/tag) then anything in iCloud Library is available through any Mac or iOS device (or Windows PC), or on any web browser via the icloud website.

That iMore link above has dozens of how-to articles linked in it relating to Photos on iCloud.

I wouldn’t want to merge the two. The scanned family photos have no dates and it would completely mess up my primary library :blush:

iCloud = one library.

I’ll just refer you back to my original post: for sub-16MB sized photos you could easily get away with using Google Photos for free. Otherwise I’d recommend spending $48/yr on Flickr Pro or Smugmug. They’re very good, very stable, and offer public and private galleries you can share with friends/family, and can be used on iOS.

But if you have your own photography hobby and are choosing to go “completely iOS” you might want to consider the Adobe ecosystem I also mentioned. There’s Lightroom CC for iOS that comes with 1Tb storage, for $9.99/month which will give you photo management, storage/backup and excellent editing tools. And your family photos could be a shareable folder there.

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Thanks @bowline I’m still a little undecided. I have about 6000 scanned family photos in my second Photos library on my Mac. They range in size from 425 KB to 1.3 MB

In total about 36 GB of photos. I need to export all these photos from the Photos app to the Finder and then upload them to a service online.

I would prefer not to pay a subscription, so I’m leaning towards Google Photos to be honest.

In your opinion, which service would be the best choice for me, subscription or non-subscription?

Those file sizes are pretty small so I think Google Photos would be fine. The privacy/sharing functions are good, and as long as you don’t mind the metadata-mining it’s a safe, free, platform-independent option. Google Photos makes it much easier to share a library with someone else - you can either mix-and-match which accounts you’re using (so multiple people can upload to the same library), or you can Share a library, filtered by face, or date, or ‘face group’, and you can easily share multiple photos or an entire day from Mac or iOS. Here is an article on Google URL sharing security. Google Photos is also integrated with its iOS PhotoScan app for uploading phone scans of printed photos.

If you didn’t mind having that album sit alongside your own photos (but you said you did), the easiest and cheapest next option (especially if you prioritized privacy) would be iCloud Photo Library, which would fit into the US $0.99/month plan.

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Thanks a lot @bowline I think I have decided that this is the right thing for me. I will export my entire 2nd Photos library of family photos and them upload them to Google Photos.

Do you know what the fastest way to either is? I assume it’s quite time consuming both to export an entire Photos library and then upload it as well to Google Photos.

Does Google Photos require me to install something on my Mac before uploading the photos or is it strictly done through the browser?

Also, when all the photos are uploaded to Google Photos, what are the browsing options from there? Is there a decent iOS app for browsing the photos?

I also plan on keeping the photos strictly private and only share them with a select group of family members. I assume this is possible.

Thanks :blush:

Google Uploader!

If you have a large catalog of images on your hard drive, the best way to upload them to Google Photos is to use the uploading tool. Download the desktop uploader, then sign in with your Google account. You can select to upload photos from your camera/storage card, desktop, or any images on your computer.

Mac download: https://photos.google.com/apps

Otherwise, you can upload a batch of images whenever you wish through the Google Photos site. Just sign on to photos.google.com and select the cloud icon at the top of the screen. Then you can drag in a folder or individual images. Or, just as with Google Drive, just drag and drop a photo directly into the Photos site.

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@bowline thanks again. Any suggestions for the best way to export an entire Photos library to the Finder?

Two options.


export all photos mac photos


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Google Uploader seems to add new files/images to the library. It is now uploading 8000?! I only have 6000 photos in the folder.

Any thoughts?

Edit: I might have set it to upload recent photos and videos as well… I will go through them manually online and check for duplicates or photos and videos which shouldn’t be part of the online album

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So it’s doing it again. Uploading more photos than I initially set it to do. I only have nearly 6000 photos in that family album, so I don’t know where the extra 1783 photos are coming from…

I have turned off uploading newly added photos and videos to Google Photos in the settings on the Mac app. But it is still uploading more photos than I initially told it to.

I have connected the Google Photos app for iPhone and iPad. But I have turned off Backup and Sync on those too. There is a pane called Photos on the iOS apps which has all my photos from my iOS Photos app, I think, I allowed Google Photos to access my iOS library. Maybe I should withdraw that access. I just don’t know how to do it. There doesn’t seem to be a setting for it in the iOS apps or the Settings.app on iOS.

But any thoughts on where those extra photos might be coming from?

I guess, I will have to go through all the photos manually on the Google Photos website and check which photos are there.

But this is just a typical Google experience. Free, yes, but confusing and not really doing what you told it to

I thought you were going to export your 2nd library from Photos to the Finder then move that one specific folder to Google Folders. I am not sure how additional photos could be selected if you’d chosen that specific folder (using ‘Add’ from my earlier screenshot to select that one folder by itself) in the GP app (or did a drag-and-drop in the website). It seems you specifically allowed additional sources for photos, yes?

You can always just stop the transfer, delete all images from GP, change the sources of all photos, and start again with just that folder.

To change your GP iPhone settings here is Google’s 3-tab Help-page instructions for Computer/Android/iOS:

I did export my family photos from my 2nd Photos library to a folder on my Mac. Then I downloaded the Google Photos Uploading tool and pointed it at that folder. Is that what you mean by Google Folders?

I’m not sure that I specifically allowed it. All I did was to point that uploader tool at the folder with the photos. I since downloaded Google Photos to iOS and it might have begun uploading a little bit before I caught it.

Thanks a lot. I will have to go through them at some point anyway, so I will just manually remove photos from Google Photos and when the upload is complete, then I will remove the uploader tool from my Mac, because I won’t be adding additional photos at any point to this album. It’s a one-time upload.

Thanks, again. You have been so helpful :blush: