Sync iCloud Photo Library to Mac while not logged in?


I also posted the question on AskDifferent, but I wanted to tap into the collected knowledge here as well.

I am using an old Cheese Grater as a server at home, and would like to backup the iCloud photo libraries from my wife, my daughter and myself onto that server.

At the moment, I have to login all accounts, plus the one which is running Plex. This is annoying, and I have to do it manually after rebooting.

Is it possible to sync photos from the iCloud library to a Mac while not being logged in that Mac?


FYI you might be interested in this article from today’s Macworld, which references Glenn’s earlier recommendations on backing up iCloud photos.

Thanks @bowline. These articles are interesting, but they do not really answer my question HOW I can make backups of my iCloud Photo Library from multiple users, apart from having all users being logged in (and yes, the photo libraries from the Mac server are backed up to Backblaze).

Any suggestions on the HOW?

I don’t think it’s possible.

The iCloud service for syncing pictures is not active until you log in, and I’m not aware of any way to ‘trick it’.

I can think of one way to make it a little easier, but it’s probably not the solution that you are looking for.

Since this is an “old Mac” then I assume you have a “new Mac”.

Screenshare to the old Mac using one of the usernames:

Be sure to save the password in keychain.

Once you are connected, save the login information:

Name the file something like username@hostname (for example mine would be tjluoma@backups)

Repeat for each username.

Save all of those files (they will have a .vncloc extension, which may or may not be shown) to a folder.

Then, when you have to reboot the server, just open all of those files from your other Mac.

You still have to log in as each person, but this will make it slightly easier.

Unfortunately I do not know any better solution or suggestion.

Thanks - that makes life definitely easier.

But a script which runs when the user for the plex server is logged in automatically, which logs the other users in, would make it even easier. But I’ll post an additional question for that.