OS X Photos Library Clean Up – Update

This is an update to my last post about merging my OS X Photos Library to iCloud Photos Library.

After uploading close to 30,000 items to iCloud Photo Library, my local disk space usage was at about 90%. I was importing all those photos into my local Photos library for uploading to iCloud and those are taking up massive space. While I have chosen to ‘Optimize Mac Storage‘, I couldn’t find a way to delete the local copies that had been uploaded.

Turning on iCloud Photos Library
Optimize Mac Storage

Well, I decided to do something drastic. I deleted the entire Photos Library. :) I figured that would clean up my entire Photos Library and free up disk space.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 12.06.19 PM

So after the whole process, an additional 70GB of space has been recovered on my local hard disk.

Merging Photo Library to iCloud Photo Library

About a year ago, I started housekeeping on my iPhoto Library. I had more than 27,000 images and 600+ videos. Beside running out of space, iPhoto was also having problem handling the large library. Apple subsequently release the new Photos app for OS X and I converted my default iPhoto library to Photos. With iOS 9, I wanted to put all my stuff in iCloud. So naturally, my photos will go on iCloud as well.

Putting the default Photo Library on iCloud is simple. All you need to do is to flick the switch on in the Photo preferences.

Turning on iCloud Photos Library
Turning on iCloud Photos Library

I chose to ‘Optimise Mac Storage’. The means that as the photos get uploaded to iCloud, the originals are replaced with a lower resolution thumbnail to conserve space. I find this very helpful when I have only a very limited 256GB SSD.

The next thing, is to merge all my Photo libraries that were split out in the previous housekeeping. There are 2 steps here.

  1. Export all the original photos from the individual Photo library
  2. Import them into the default Photo library

For step 1, you will need to open the individual libraries. All you need to do is to click on the library itself in Finder and the libraries open up. To export, select all the photos with the key ‘CMD+A’.

Exporting from Photo
Exporting from Photo

Select ‘Unmodified Originals’.

Photo export options
Photo export options

These are the default options. I just went with it to have my files exported. The export process took a while for me because I was exporting thousands of files.

The next thing is to import everything into the default Photo library. Go to Finder –> Pictures and double click on the Photos Library. Why we have to do that is because, after opening the previous few libraries, the Photo icon in the dock now points to the last library opened.

The import is straightforward, just go to File –> Import and point to all the exported files. Once the import is completed, you should see this at the bottom of your Photo Library.

iCloud Photo Library Status
iCloud Photo Library Status

All the files are now uploaded to the iCloud Photo Library. So technically I should see my whole HDD filling up. I started with 40GB free and I definitely imported more than 40GB of files.

Disk Space after iCloud Photo Library
Disk Space after iCloud Photo Library

As I have mentioned, the files are cleaned up from the local disk as they are uploaded, so now I don’t have to worry about cleaning up and housekeeping.

The final thing I did was turning on the iCloud Photo Library on my iOS devices. So now the pictures I take gets uploaded to iCloud whenever I’m on WiFi. This is a very useful feature especially when you are travelling. My last trip to Taiwan, I uploaded all my pictures to Google Photos to make sure that I don’t lose my photos under any circumstance. For my next trip, it’s going to be iCloud.

Continuity On OS X 10.10 – Yosemite Beta

This has to be the feature that I’m most interested in for version 10.10 of OS X – Continuity. What is this Continuity about? What it does is, it allows you to make phone calls or send SMS text on your Mac or iPad using the iPhone as a proxy.

Continuity - Yosemite Beta
Continuity – Yosemite Beta

This is an example of Continuity working. The incoming call comes in and I get it on my Mac and iPad Mini. I can pick up the all from any of the devices.

SMS On My Mac
SMS On My Mac

This is the SMS on my Mac, relayed from my iPhone. Specifically in this screenshot, I’m getting my OTP for internet banking. I can simply copy and paste the OTP into my browser instead of having to read it off the phone and typing it in my browser. My phone could be in my pocket, or charging at the wall socket and I can still get my SMS.

So, what are the pre-requisites for this to work?

1. First of all, you need OS X 10.10 (Yosemite Beta). I have an iOS developer account, so I get a preview of Yosemite.

2. You need to have iOS 8 on the mobile devices. Again, this is from the developer account.

3. All the devices have to be on the same WiFi network

4. All the devices have to support Bluetooth Low Energy aka Bluetooth 4.0.

5. This is very important – Yosemite has to be updated to Preview 5 minimum for Continuity to work. I didn’t get this from the release note. It’s simply that I couldn’t get Continuity to work until I updated my OS X to Preview 5.

This is an interesting development for the Apple eco-system. When OS 10.9 (Maverick) was released, Apple was clear that they were trying to integrate the mobile and desktop experience. I couldn’t really feel it except for some of the cosmetic and behavioural changes.

With Continuity and other new features on OS X 10.10, the integration has gotten tighter. OS X and iOS are becoming ONE. :) My guess is that enterprise collaboration could be next thing Apple is going after.

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