Photos - At what point does the PhotoLibrary become too big, and become unreliable

80 hour in and now wondering if wasted my time. And this is even after watching most of MacSparkys Photos Field Guide. Hope I didn’t just miss the solution. There is a ton of good information in the Guide and my Photos have definitely gotten better. I don’t know if it is me or the 12 Pro Max :wink:

Talking with an Apple 2nd Level Creative Engineer and he saw that my photo library was around 565GB. I am only about 1/2 through my photo organization project. I expect that it would grow to 1 - 1.5 TB when I get current on all of my photos.

He suggested that I break them down into smaller libraries. But that makes the management of them harder as you can’t have more than one photo library open at a time or I would just open the two libraries and just move the photos that I wanted to be available in iCloud over to the system photo library but that seems like a management headache.

I believe that Power Photos allows you to have two libraries open at the same time but Apple is not thrilled with 3rd Party software digging into the Photo Library.

I talked to a Pro Photographer friend of mine and he basically said there really not a good solution. He said that Lightroom and the Bridge apps have gotten worse over time.

His suggestion was to just plug your phone in and copy the files into the file system and then just import just the ones that want to have available to the System Photo Library and iCloud.

Not wild about that idea as I really love the fact that new photos get synced to all of my devices. And eventually I will end up with the same problem.

Also not wild about the thought that my photo library could become corrupted and if I did not notice in time to restore from a backup I could be left with a real mess.

How big do you think that I could let the photo library grow to before having to do something?

If I do nothing eventually I will have to face this problem.

What solutions have you come up with?

Pretty sure you’re only limited by the size of the disk.

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I don’t know that Lightroom has become worse regarding cataloguing. I use LRCC with Adobe’s cloud storage for my semipro needs and I have roughly 600 Gb of RAW and JPG files in there. No issues, and I’m on the first tier of storage only.

My understanding is that only the metadata would get corrupted - the photos themselves are actually independent files in the bundle. So you’d lose metadata that wasn’t stored in the photo file, but not the photos themselves.

Still sucks, of course, but may or may not affect your decision.

If you have to manually extract your originals from a corrupted library file you will also lose the photos original title. For example a photo named “2001 Christmas Atlanta.jpeg” will have a name such as “1A58F1E3-E761-4EE2-8E9C-25A06Z72DAEB.jpeg”.

Because of this I routinely export photos from my Apple photoslibrary to standard folders as an additional backup.

As of Catalina the original filename is stored as metadata, but AppleScript is the only way I’ve found to get at it.

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Correct, but exported photos receive their original name avoiding the need for additional AppleScript, etc processing.

I had to recover photos from corrupted libraries for several users prior to Catalina. At that time all that was required was copying the Masters/Originals folder, creating a new library and importing the originals. Apple didn’t mess with the file names. Now the chance of having my original file names lost forever is a real possibly.

After iTunes trashed my ripped music collection a couple of times I made second copy as a backup. I keep a second copy of my photos for the same reason.

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