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Question: Inconsistent number of files when backing up via Photos

Hi everyone, hoping someone can shed some light on this for me.


I have around 8000 photos on my iphone that I want to back up to an external hard drive. They are backed up on icloud but I want a non-cloud copy of the originals.


I've learned that you can't back up directly from icloud or iphone to an external drive, and it has to go via my mac.


I don't have the capacity on my macbook to back them all up in one go, so I decided to do it in batches.


The first batch had 4182 files.

But the import final figure was 4155.

I went ahead and moved these over to my external drive.

During the process, the dial in Photos said 'xx of 4182' so I figured it had righted itself.

But now it's complete, the number of files in the folder on the hard drive (empty before) is 4337!


I have no clue why this would happen, or how I can be sure that the 4182 pictures I originally asked to be backed up, were backed up, or what the extra 150 photos are (or even if they 'are'...)


I have removed tons of stuff from my macbook in an attempt to do it all in one go, but each time I remove stuff and lauch photos, the amount of space it says it requires to complete the action increases, and I just can't find that much stuff to remove anymore!


Can anyone help?

MacBook, OS X El Capitan (10.11.6)

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I don't know about the Image Capture method - is it better?

Image Capture is a very convenient application. It comes with every Mac. Perhaps you know it by a different Name. If the system language is not set to English, the names of some applications change.

User uploaded file


If you launch Image Capture you can import from your devices and cards directly to a folder in the Finder, for example directly to a folder on your external drive. Then it does not matter, how much storage you have on your internal drive. Click the Image Capture help menu for details how to select the Import destination.


Alternatively can I batch download from Icloud (I think not?)

You can download from iCloud at www.icloud.com, but only, by command-clicking each photo you want to download. It is not feasible.


Did you enable the option "Optimize Storage" in the Photos & Camera Settings, or is it still enabled, as is the default? In that case, importing by a USB connection will give random results. The Mac cannot download photos from the iPhone, that have been optimized and are only in iCloud and not stored locally on the iPhone. Some photos may be missing. Either disable "Optimize Storage" on the iPhone and wait, until all photos have been downloaded to the iPhone. (If you have enough local storage on the iPhone), or use iCloud to download the photos from the iPhone. Move your Photos Library from your Mac to the external drive, then enable iCloud Photo Library in Photos on your Mac and wait for the photos to download from iCloud.

  • Drag your Photos Library to the external drive.
  • Double-click the library to launch Photos.
  • Open the Photos > Preferences > General and click "Use as System Photo Library"
  • Open the Photos > Preferences > iCloud and click iCloud Photos Library.

Wait for the photos to download to the Photos Library.


Now you can use "File > Export > Export unmodified Originals" to save save the photos in a folder outside the library, if you do not want them in Photos.

Do not delete Photos from your iPhone, as long as both the iPhone and the Mac are syncing with iCloud, or the photos will be deleted from the Mac as well.

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Nov 11, 2017 4:56 AM in response to léonie In response to léonie

Thanks for your reply.


I did it from within Photos - I plugged in my iphone, opened Photos and imported from within the software.


I don't know about the Image Capture method - is it better?


Alternatively can I batch download from Icloud (I think not?)


Sarah

Nov 11, 2017 4:56 AM

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Question marked as Apple Recommended

Nov 12, 2017 2:23 AM in response to imovie2015 In response to imovie2015

I don't know about the Image Capture method - is it better?

Image Capture is a very convenient application. It comes with every Mac. Perhaps you know it by a different Name. If the system language is not set to English, the names of some applications change.

User uploaded file


If you launch Image Capture you can import from your devices and cards directly to a folder in the Finder, for example directly to a folder on your external drive. Then it does not matter, how much storage you have on your internal drive. Click the Image Capture help menu for details how to select the Import destination.


Alternatively can I batch download from Icloud (I think not?)

You can download from iCloud at www.icloud.com, but only, by command-clicking each photo you want to download. It is not feasible.


Did you enable the option "Optimize Storage" in the Photos & Camera Settings, or is it still enabled, as is the default? In that case, importing by a USB connection will give random results. The Mac cannot download photos from the iPhone, that have been optimized and are only in iCloud and not stored locally on the iPhone. Some photos may be missing. Either disable "Optimize Storage" on the iPhone and wait, until all photos have been downloaded to the iPhone. (If you have enough local storage on the iPhone), or use iCloud to download the photos from the iPhone. Move your Photos Library from your Mac to the external drive, then enable iCloud Photo Library in Photos on your Mac and wait for the photos to download from iCloud.

  • Drag your Photos Library to the external drive.
  • Double-click the library to launch Photos.
  • Open the Photos > Preferences > General and click "Use as System Photo Library"
  • Open the Photos > Preferences > iCloud and click iCloud Photos Library.

Wait for the photos to download to the Photos Library.


Now you can use "File > Export > Export unmodified Originals" to save save the photos in a folder outside the library, if you do not want them in Photos.

Do not delete Photos from your iPhone, as long as both the iPhone and the Mac are syncing with iCloud, or the photos will be deleted from the Mac as well.

Nov 12, 2017 2:23 AM

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Nov 12, 2017 9:44 AM in response to léonie In response to léonie

Hi Leonie,


Thank you for this - I had never really worked out what Image Capture was for - except scanning - now I see how useful it can be. Also when I spoke to Apple on the phone they said it was impossible to transfer my photos to the drive without having the space on my mac itself, so thank you for supplying this work around it has changed my life 🙂


I still have one more question:


I have the original files on my iphone.

So, I have imported them via Image Capture direct to my external drive - all good.

Image Capture says there are 9582 items to import.

It has imported all 9582 to my drive - Success! These numbers match.


However, my iphone says it has just 8374 photos and 263 videos - a total of 8637 items ( I double checked in settings>general>about)


So, I'm wondering where these additional 895 items that Image Capture has imported have come from? And what they are? Obviously better too many than too few... but it would be good to establish why this is the case.


Thank you again.

Nov 12, 2017 9:44 AM

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Nov 14, 2017 7:26 AM in response to imovie2015 In response to imovie2015

Hi there,


Just wanted to check if there are any more thoughts on this topic? Still not sure why it says there are so many more items than listed on the iPhone.


Thank You

Nov 14, 2017 7:26 AM

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Question: Inconsistent number of files when backing up via Photos