In iCloud hell, i am

If you’re tethering it definitely won’t work. There is an actual limitation on tethering a Mac to the iPhone, a software limitation, that prohibits iCloud Photos updates, uploading/downloading on the Mac. I tried for several days before I finally went searching of a solution and discovered that it is a limitation of iOS.


I agree, Photos, IMO, is the most reliable service on iCloud. It does not, however, work with any predictability. In the meantime a few of these might come in handy.

I’ve had several variations of this experience and it’s extremely frustrating, usually related to downloading originals or general “updating” notices that seem to go nowhere. I recently was stuck on downloading originals for two full days with zero movement.

Two things that help to get things moving, which might not have any impact on uploading but worth a shot:

  1. Restarting in Safemode, then back to normal mode.
  2. Adding all items to an album, then right-clicking the album and selecting Play Slideshow (this is trigger Photos to download originals, so not sure how helpful or impactful it would be for uploading).
  3. Walk away and try not to think about it for awhile, just to preserve your sanity.
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  1. Tried safemode - didn’t change anything
  2. Tried the album/slideshow thing - didn’t change anything.

Finally got tired of seeing ‘restoring from iCloud’ and turned it off, exported everything, downloaded Google Drive, added all documents and photos and videos, upgraded Google One to 2TB, initiated a transfer of all photos and videos from iCloud to Google Photos. Took about 30 minutes.


If it is any consolation, I think you will find search in Google Photos is much better.

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It appears that you have entered the iCloud sync morass, compounded by signing out from, then back in to iCloud **. This is in addition to whatever issues you might have with your iCloud storage level and your internet bandwidth.

** Signing out then signing in to iCloud from a device in which photos are stored in full resolution results in the following: the iCloud service will check every single image to see if it has been synced to iCloud. This can be very slow with large photo libraries, and is much slower than simply downloading your iCloud Photos anew to an empty system library on your device. Even worse, during this image-by-image check process no new photos come down to the Mac.

I suspect that you may have encountered this situation. For more information and a blog post describing a clever work-around, see this previous MPU Forum post:


That would explain why there’s no network usage by photos yet if it is in the analysis phase

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As opposed to Google Photos, which evidently checks one file, starts uploading it if needed, then proceeds to the next file, resulting in a steady stream of uploads even while still checking on file sync status.

Right now my files are uploading over my Verizon connection, tethered to my iPhone. Connection is showing 75down, 16up. Theoretically I have a 10GB limit per month of tethered data. Tonight I will test this limit. Tomorrow I’ll have a Spectrum cable modem to use for the week. Hopefully by the time we head out I’ll have everything in the cloud. Just not the i-Cloud…

It is not clear exactly what it happening from the information provided, but this iCloud-to-Google Photos transfer may not be the same process as that described in the original post. In the original post above, photos stored locally in full resolution had to be re-synced to iCloud after the user’s iCloud sign-in was interrupted. As described previously, this re-sync is excruciatingly slow for large locally-stored system libraries.

The new transfer-to-Google Photos procedure appears to involve either one of these two processes: 1) first-time upload from local device to Google Photos, or 2) “Cloud-to-cloud” transfer from iCloud Photos to Google Photos as described in this Apple Support article:
Can you determine which of these two is actually occurring?

Maybe, and good to know if this is actually true. Is Google Photos actually checking a previously-synced locally-stored library, or is this a virgin upload to a new Google Photos library?

Google Photos is highly regarded by many users, but there are some limitations to be considered. I don’t know how Google Photos handles RAW files; there are reports that some users’ RAW files were compressed. Could be an isolated problem - it’s not clear. Also, Google’s services are frequently changed (status of free storage and discontinued services are two examples).

I am constantly re-assessing the strategy for my permanent photo storage/backup solution, one that would be simple, hands-off and “just work”. iCloud Photos has improved nicely in recent years, but there are some limitations and some situations to be avoided. One of these is this re-syncing a large, locally-stored-in-full-resolution library. Here is a link to a blog post with a creative work-around.

Google Photos might work as a second Cloud backup, but I am not yet ready to trust it as my primary storage and backup. @dixonge Please let us know in this forum how this works for you going forward.

I use Apple and Google but my primary photo storage remains terrestrial. :grinning:

Here’s some info on Google RAW I found. Not sure how helpful it may be:

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Just gonna put this out there… does anyone know if iCloud Heaven even exists?


In your dreams :wink:

FWIW, Cloud problems are not confined to Apple-iCloud. Even the famed Dropbox has its issues. There is, of course the infamous intrusive, bloated and resource-hungry Dropbox macOS app. And Dropbox also can be slow when syncing, as explained by @tjluoma in this post:


Dropbox apparently overcomes slow or erratic sync by brute force (the aforementioned intrusive macOS app). Apple’s iCloud sync simply putters along, oblivious to users but eventually completing its tasks. Most of the time.

I have learned … the slow and painful way … to bypass certain weaknesses of iCloud and Dropbox. Two examples:

  1. Avoid disturbing your iCloud connection or sign-in at all costs, for fear of having to re-sync the iCloud Photos Library on a device that stores full-resolution photos.
  2. Replace the Dropbox macOS app with Maestral (see the MPU Forum thread referenced above).
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There is no ‘may’ about it - there was nothing about transferring photos from iCloud to Google in the first post.

I don’t have to ‘determine’ it - I know exactly what I did. It is the 2nd option you mentioned. I initiated this today, only after determining that I was not going to stay with iCloud.

It is uploading files from folders. No library involved. I already had a lot of photos there, as I previously was thinking of using Google Photos as my primary cloud. I am now resuming that process.

Regardless how things go in the future, the bottom line is that Google Drive and/or Photos just works. Out of all the pros/cons of each service, I never thought that taking days and days just to decide what to upload would be a problem with any modern cloud service. Since switching over 10-15 GB of files and photos have uploaded/downloaded. That’s more than iCloud achieved in a week.

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Evidently there is a promotion going on. My upgrade to the 2TB tier on Google One has caused them to send me a Google Nest (2nd Gen) device.

For free.