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Question: Replace iCloud photos with library on Mac Photos.app

I'm trying to recover from a sync nightmare on my wife's MacBook Pro 2012 running High Sierra. Through a set of attempts to get some new photos added to her library, many more photos than we wanted wound up syncing to her iPhone X. Without going into details of everything that transpired, here's where we are right now:


  • iPhone X has 0 photos in the roll (deleted through Image Capture). iCloud library turned off.
  • MacBook Pro has the golden copy of her Photos Library (~3K photos). iCloud library turned off.
  • iCloud I have disabled and wiped via iOS and it shows "you have 30 days to make a copy of your photos".


Now, when I turn on iCloud photo library to begin uploading the stuff I want, it actually downloads something on the order of 14K photos!


What I want is to replace every library online and off with the gold copy I have (backed up multiple times, natch) on the MacBook Pro.


How do I clear out iCloud or what else should I be doing?


Thanks in advance!

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Mar 23, 2018 6:57 PM in response to cbredesen In response to cbredesen

So, what is happening is that when you turn iCloud Photo Library back on again, the photo remaining in iCloud are downloading to your Mac.


The easiest way to rectify this situation is to turn on iCloud Photo Library again on your wife's iOS device, then go to the All Photos View, click on Select, and start selecting the Moments. That is going to be the fastest way to delete these photos from iCloud without having to wait for 30 days.


Trying to delete them from iCloud.com is excruciatingly slow. Deleting them from the iOS device allows you to select Moment after Moment, which selects all the photos in that Moment. Select a bunch, then click on the Trashcan. Then repeat until all of the photos are deleted from the device.


Then go to your Recently Deleted album on the device and click on Select, then on Delete All.


Those two actions should cause all photos to be deleted from the iCloud Photo Library. It might take a bit of time, but you can check the progress by going to iCloud.com and checking the Photos app there.


Once everything is cleared out, you can then turn on iCloud Photo Library again on your Mac, and the photos there will upload to iCloud.


Cheers,


GB

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Mar 23, 2018 6:59 PM in response to ZaZo In response to ZaZo

If you want to delete from the computer, reopen Photos with the option/alt key held down and create a new system Library. Let all the photos sync and then delete them. Once that is done and iCloud.com/Photos is empty, reopen Photos with the option/alt key held down and set the existing Library as the system Library. You can then delete the temporary Library.

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Mar 16, 2018 9:10 PM in response to cbredesen In response to cbredesen

Ugg. I have seen this happen too many times. I've ultimately gone to off device backups and manual synchs to replace iCloud for all but contacts and settings synching.


But, that is not what you asked. If you are certain you don't need the 14K photos, you can turn off synching on everything again, and go to iCloud.com and delete the photos there. You can also view them there.


Another alternative, is to make a new library with one of the backups, rename it and change it to the system photo library as that is the only one that gets synched. You'll add to the 14k on iCloud.com, but they "shouldn't" download again. (You can only have one system photo library)

Mar 16, 2018 9:10 PM

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Question marked as Helpful

Mar 23, 2018 6:57 PM in response to cbredesen In response to cbredesen

So, what is happening is that when you turn iCloud Photo Library back on again, the photo remaining in iCloud are downloading to your Mac.


The easiest way to rectify this situation is to turn on iCloud Photo Library again on your wife's iOS device, then go to the All Photos View, click on Select, and start selecting the Moments. That is going to be the fastest way to delete these photos from iCloud without having to wait for 30 days.


Trying to delete them from iCloud.com is excruciatingly slow. Deleting them from the iOS device allows you to select Moment after Moment, which selects all the photos in that Moment. Select a bunch, then click on the Trashcan. Then repeat until all of the photos are deleted from the device.


Then go to your Recently Deleted album on the device and click on Select, then on Delete All.


Those two actions should cause all photos to be deleted from the iCloud Photo Library. It might take a bit of time, but you can check the progress by going to iCloud.com and checking the Photos app there.


Once everything is cleared out, you can then turn on iCloud Photo Library again on your Mac, and the photos there will upload to iCloud.


Cheers,


GB

Mar 23, 2018 6:57 PM

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Mar 23, 2018 6:59 PM in response to ZaZo In response to ZaZo

If you want to delete from the computer, reopen Photos with the option/alt key held down and create a new system Library. Let all the photos sync and then delete them. Once that is done and iCloud.com/Photos is empty, reopen Photos with the option/alt key held down and set the existing Library as the system Library. You can then delete the temporary Library.

Mar 23, 2018 6:59 PM

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Mar 23, 2018 6:59 PM in response to gail from maine In response to gail from maine

Thanks for this. I hoped there was something easier but I see what's happening.


Something else I noticed is that in iCloud, there's many thousand in the recently deleted album. There's a Delete All option on that album and when I click it, I get the confirmation that it can't be undone, but it ultimately seems to do nothing. I'd like to clear out those 10K+ photos before syncing to an iOS device and doing the moment by moment deletion.


Any idea here?


Thanks again.

Mar 23, 2018 6:59 PM

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Mar 23, 2018 7:00 PM in response to Eric Root In response to Eric Root

OK thanks this may be faster than using an iOS device.


Do you happen to know if I can "Delete All" in the iCloud Recently Deleted album? As I said in another reply, it seems to try and work, but ultimately does nothing. Maybe the browser is just not caught up? Or possibly can I not do this while I'm inside the "you have 30 days to recover your photos" period?

Mar 23, 2018 7:00 PM

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Mar 23, 2018 7:19 PM in response to cbredesen In response to cbredesen

You are welcome. You should be able to delete all from the Recently Deleted album without waiting for the 30 day recover period. Have you given it some time to see if it works? If it doesn't clear after a day, try contacting iCloud Support for assistance.


You may have to try twice.


iCloud Support

Mar 23, 2018 7:19 PM

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Mar 24, 2018 4:08 PM in response to Eric Root In response to Eric Root

Hey Eric,


I've definitely not had any success deleting the Recently Deleted on icloud.com. But I did create a new empty system library and everything synced down. Deleting there is manageable.


However, from past actions, my iCloud photo library remains disabled no matter what I do on any device. It's enabled on iOS and on macOS. Will changes sync when it's in this state? If not, how do I get it out of this state?


Thanks again...

Mar 24, 2018 4:08 PM

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Mar 25, 2018 1:02 PM in response to cbredesen In response to cbredesen

You are welcome. How is it disabled?


Try Settings/Your Name/iCloud and slide off syncing. Wait a few minutes and then resync. This will start the sync from the beginning.



Try going to System Preferences/iCloud and stop syncing by unchecking the box. Wait a couple of minutes, then check syncing.


Last resort - have you tried signing out of iCloud and then sign back in?

Mar 25, 2018 1:02 PM

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Mar 25, 2018 3:20 PM in response to Eric Root In response to Eric Root

OK the storage was disabled, not the iCloud library -- I had forgotten the difference. I'm very close....macOS Photos and iCloud photos are in sync now how I want them.


Turned iCloud Photo Library back on on the phone and nothing is syncing down. Ugh. Trying a logout/login of iCloud on the phone, unless you have a better idea.

Mar 25, 2018 3:20 PM

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Question: Replace iCloud photos with library on Mac Photos.app