Photos App doesn't appear to be saving Photos

Hi All,

I have a Mac Mini running macOS Ventura 13.6 that I’m using as a Time Machine/Photos backup server. On the Mac, I have two accounts, one for myself and one for my wife. Each of us are administrators on the Mac mini. Each of us on our respective accounts are logged into iCloud Photos and Photos is set to download the Original photos and store them on the Mac.

I have setup each of our Photos App to store our Photos library on an 8TB external hard drive that is always connected to the Mac mini. Each of our respective photo libraries are stored under separate folders [name]/Photos on the external drive. The iCloud Photo Library sync seems to be working as each of us are able to browse our respective photo libraries on the Mac mini.

However, when I use Finder to browse the external hard drive My library appears to be about 70GB (which sounds about right) but my wife’s only shows 3.5 MB, which isn’t possible because when I look at our iCloud Storage, her photo library appears to be larger than mine by about 30 GB. When I right click on my wife’s photo library and select “Show Package Contents”, I do get a file listing, but when I try to open the Originals folder, it just hangs on “Loading”.

Please see attached image:

Any idea why my wife’s photo library would be so small? I feel like it may not be downloading the originals.

Thanks in advance.

It’s definitely worth checking that your wife’s photo library is on the external drive.

I suspect it’s actually on the internal drive.

Perhaps not the problem but the first two things to check would be to open Photos → Settings and verify under the General tab that the open library location is the Correct library and that it is selected as the System Photo Library.

If the wrong library is open, quit Photos then Option-click Photos to be prompted to select a library. Double-clicking on the library container in Finder would do the same. Then, check settings to make sure it is the System Photo Library.

1 Like

This sounds (at least) vaguely similar to a problem I thought Marco Arment described on an Accidental Tech Podcast episode a while ago, but I cannot find the episode. Maybe someone else here will remember.