After upgrading to iOS 8.3, you may have noticed a new option in the iCloud settings for Photos (ie in Settings -> iCloud -> Photos), called iCloud Photo Library.
As an early adopter of all things Apple, I turned on this new service on my iPad and iPhone, and also upgraded my Mac to use the new photo management solution Photos (which replaces iPhoto under OS X 10.10.3.)
In theory, all photos from my devices would be uploaded to my iCloud and then shared with each device - so that I would see the same set of photos and albums on each device.
This would mean that future Albums that I created on my iPhone would also appear on my iPad and Mac.
Additionally, any photos that I edited on my iPhone or iPad would automatically appear on all devices - overcoming a current limitation with getting your edited photos from your i-Device to your computer.
(See a separate iTandCoffee article on this topic: I edit images in Photos on my iPhone, but they don't import to my computer!.)
Sounds great? Well, maybe not!
Unfortunately, this service is in its infancy, and I have had multiple issues (still ongoing) with getting access to my photos now stored in my iCloud Photo Library.
This may be due to the size of my library, but Apple is not yet able to shed any light on what might be causing my issues and how to resolve them.
So my warning to other readers is to really think twice before you turn on this new Apple service.
You really need to understand what it offers, how it works, what it requires and the limitations it introduces - before you turn it on.
Multiple issues after switching on iCloud Photo Library
My iPhone finally (after 3 months of issues) shows my full photo library.
This is only after multiple attempts at turning on the feature, which would 'stall' part way through the upload/download process - never to start again.
I would then have to switch off iCloud Photo Library - which deleted from my phone all photos that had already been uploaded to iCloud - and try switching it on again.
In the meantime, I lost access to the photos that had been already uploaded to iCloud, waiting for them to be re-downloaded (which kept failing to happen).
I am yet to get my iPad to successfully perform the upload and download activities associated with switching on the iCloud Photo Library service. I might try again this weekend, but not feeling hopeful.
Internet access required to view your iCloud Photo Library photos
Another frustration is that I need internet access to view these photos properly, as my mobile device must download the full version each time I tap the photo. I see a little progress 'clock' showing that my photo is downloading.
I could choose the option to Download and Keep Originals, but even my 'optimised photo library' takes up 13GB on my iPhone. My full photo library is too big to fit on my iPhone, so it would still need to 'Optimise' my photos - meaning that I need internet access to view their full resolution version.
This meant that yesterday, while in country Victoria with no internet access, I could only show blurry versions of my beautiful photos. If there had been internet, I would have been using up my cellular data allowance each time I accessed a photo!
Even when I do have internet access, there is too often a delay in getting my photos to fully resolve - frustrating when you want to flick through your photos and see them 'in their full glory'.
This delay occurs despite the fact that, at home, I have a very fast internet service. For some photos, the progress clock just stalls, giving me only the blurred version of the photo.
Below is a very short video showing what happens these days when I view my photos library on my iPhone. Watch for the little 'timer clock' at the bottom right of most photos.
Additional iCloud Storage may be required - at a higher cost
iCloud Photo Library requires that you have enough storage space in your iCloud to store all of your photos - which could add up to a very large number of gigabytes (and hence increased cost of iCloud storage).
For me, this meant upgrading to the 200GB plan at a higher cost of $4.99 per month, since my 20GB plan was not going be any where enough.
Recommendation: Steer clear for now
So, unless you are an 'early adopter' like me who is brave enough to try a new service when it is in its early days, I would steer clear of iCloud Photo Library for now.
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