If you’ve upgraded to iOS 13.x, you might have noticed there are two places in the Photos app where it points out you should plug in your iOS device and lock the screen to update your Photos library on your iOS device. So far, I’ve found no reviews that cover what I’m about to describe.
The first place where this (machine learning?) happens is in the Photos tab where is it creating galleries and layouts. This takes a bit of time depending on how many photos you have. I have about 100,000 photos (80K already processed and 20K to go) and it took several nights of plugging my iPhone and iPad, opening the Photos app, and locking the screen. (I don’t know if I had to open the Photos app but I didn’t do it one night and the count of photos remaining to process didn’t change. YMMV.)
The second place where this (machine learning?) happens in Photos is more problematic. It is the People folder in the Album tab. This seems to be a separate process and scans dramatically slower. (This makes sense - the work to recognize people/faces is harder than simply organizing photos by existing metadata.) I also think it only starts when I plug my iPhone or iPad, open Photos and navigate to this album, and then lock the screen. It does maybe 1,000 photos per night and I have about 71,000 left to go on the iPhone and 82,000 remaining on the iPad. This could be a looooong process and so far in my experimentation, it only happens if I “initiate” it. (I’m going to test again tonight by not doing the steps and seeing if the count changes.)
Does anyone know if this can be sped up or optimized? I doubt it and it seems device-specific since Apple is likely doing this on each device for privacy/security reasons. Also, I’m curious to see if the process will happen automatically because I don’t expect most users to ever discover these steps, if they are required. I’ll now more tomorrow.
However, I have to say this is one place where I wish Apple would do this processing in the cloud (like Google) and just send the metadata down to my iPhone and iPad. Maybe for security, they could do it with some user-created key or version of my iCloud password, but I’d rather have this info centrally stored and updated in near real-time on my devices instead of waiting for people to be recognized in photos nightly or whenever my phone is plugged in and locked.
Hoping someone with more iOS 13 experience can shed some light on this. Thanks.