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Question: Pictures corrupted on Mac from photo stream

I take a lot of photos on my iPhone, and they are saved to the iCloud and synced to my iMac into Photos. This has been working fine for years -- I have over 50K photos, and they are all on the iCloud and on my iMac.

Recently, I have been getting over 50% of the photos landing on my iMac Photos corrupted. I can see the thumbnail, but if I expand the photo it's super-pixelated, or I get a grey screen with a triangle with an "!" in the center. When I look at the same photo on my iPhone, it's fine, and when I look on the iCloud via the Mac's web browser, it's fine there too. When I have videos, always just have the grey screen with triangle with an "!" in the center. I am never actually missing a photo or video, but I'm missing the main contents of many of them.

I did a rebuild of my Photos library on my iMac, which took a few days to run, and then all the photos were good on my Mac again. But new photos from my iPhone via iCloud were mostly corrupted on the iMac again.

I've also run disk utilities on my iMac, and it came up clean. I have over a TB of storage remaining so I don't think that's an issue.

This just started happening a few months ago, so I am suspecting some type of Apple software bug in one of the new releases.

I have an iPhone 7 Plus 256GB, running IOS 11.1 (just updated to 11.2 a few minutes ago).

My Mac info is:

iMac (27-inch, Late 2013)

Memory: 24 GB 1600 MHz DDR3

3 TB Fusion Drive

El Capitan 10.11.6

iMac, OS X El Capitan (10.11.6)

Posted on


Dec 10, 2017 12:50 PM in response to WilliamTellTakesAim! In response to WilliamTellTakesAim!

This can happen, if your iPhone is taking the new photos and videos using the new codecs - HEIF for photos and HEVC for videos. In that case you should either update your Mac to High Sierra or set your iPhone to take the photos in a more compatible format. Only macOS 10.13 High Sierra supports the new codec. See this document on how to change the settings on your iPhone, that it will not send the photos in an incompatible codec to your Mac:

Using HEIF or HEVC media on Apple devices - Apple Support

Though capturing in HEIF and HEVC format is recommended, you can capture media using older formats that are more broadly compatible with other operating systems and devices:

  1. In iOS 11, go to Settings > Camera.
  2. Tap Formats.
  3. Tap Most Compatible. This setting is available only on devices that can capture media in HEIF or HEVC format.
  4. All new photos and videos will now use JPEG or H.264 format. To return to using the space-saving HEIF and HEVC formats, choose High Efficiency.

Or, if you are using USB to import the photos:

When you import HEIF or HEVC media from an attached iOS device to Photos, Image Capture, or a PC, the media might be converted to JPEG or H.264.

You can change this import behavior in iOS 11. Go to Settings > Photos. In the "Transfer to Mac or PC" section, tap Keep Originals to prevent the media from being converted when importing.

Dec 10, 2017 12:50 PM

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Question: Pictures corrupted on Mac from photo stream