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Since Google Photos is a straightforward setup on iOS, one doesn't have to use an Android to take advantage of their photo storage scheme, if it works better for you than iCloud Photos.
For folks with Amazon Prime (or Amazon Drive), the Amazon Photos app can also automatically back up photos onto your cloud and keep thumbnails. Folks with Prime have no limits on storage for photos at full resolution. If you upload to Amazon Drive and then delete the photo from Photos, then the thumbnail will still be in the Amazon app. The thumbnail there and the photo on Amazon Drive are coupled together (so delete does both). I'm not sure if the app tries to keep thumbnails of everything. For many thousands of photos and small capacity on an iOS device, that would still be space.

So, different apps have a different focus.
 


Using macOS 10.14.2 on Dec. 30 2018, I needed to send a large attachment (zipped) via Mail on Zoho. It was too large, so I logged into iCloud so the attachment could be delivered. First time to use iCloud in that way; usually I avoid iCloud. A few days later I could not get TextEdit even to force quit. Looking around discovered the guest account was enabled. I disabled it and changed my login password as well as my Apple ID.

Since then system prefs for Energy Saver seem to be ignored and I get logged out after a few minutes while away from the keyboard. Tried restoring defaults on Energy Saver and later setting 1-hour delay.

Is there a way through Terminal I could determine what is going on - and restore normal settings? Have used Little Snitch for many years but do not find a bogus connection that is obvious.
 


There are two Apple web services for photos. The older one is Photo Stream. The newer one is iCloud Photos. While they both "back up" photos off an iOS device, there are two slightly different objectives. Apple has a support document about the two:
Recent Apple IDs don't get Photostream, just to make things a bit more complicated. (The space used to sync the photos is 'free', and I suspect, in part, that got too expensive for Apple's taste.) The user who has the problem appears to have a deep Time Machine backup, so a decent chance they have the feature. Apple has 'frozen' Photo Stream, so the types of photo/video files synced up are also fewer. (Again, 'feature freeze' will cause folks to wind down its use.)

ICloud Photos' objective is closer to making the same set of photos and edits appear on all of the devices. The Mac/PC is treated at the same level as iOS devices. That has two 'bad' outcomes from a space management perspective:
  1. The available space on the devices is typically vastly different. Mac photos pruned down to iPhone capacity run into "delete for space" (versus "delete because bad photo, don't want anymore").
  2. Worse still is that iCloud (as a "device") space is nominally even smaller than either of those.
The other downside is a large 'archive' library on Mac/PC has to be explicitly forked off (e.g. this 'restore' of deleted photos could push too much to the iOS devices if not careful. Shouldn't be restored to the "system photo library" hooked to autosync with iCloud).

Photo Stream isn't quite exactly the Android/Google solution, but it doesn't have the "delete everywhere" property. Pragmatically, you need your own Mac/PC as your "inifinite" cloud storage target (the sync directory is only the last 1,000). And it will automatically start trimming the iOS device (although Google Photos can be set to start doing that on a space metric, not a photo count metric).

Photo Stream also has a presumption that the Mac/PC is going to be on enough to drain the stream queue before the user fills it completely up. If iOS is the overwhelming primary device, that may not work so well. So another reason they are trying to sunset the web service.

The major human factors problem that Apple has is the very sizable number of folks they trained on Photo Stream that they are defaulting into iCloud Photo library. Apple points to the new features, but there is a major shift in semantics of delete on both the Mac and iOS sides.

Google Photos, Amazon Prime Photos, and some other cloud photo services have a far more sensible feature set. Delete simply should have two options: "Delete from this device" and "delete from everywhere."

Delete from device leaves behind a thumbnail version of the photo/video, so you can see it is still in the library and perhaps pull it back "just in time" if on Wi-Fi (or OK with using cell data to do it). Apple has a less fine-grained solution where they automagically push down everything to lower-resolution (smaller) files.

What Apple's system has lost is the notion of archive and/or different-sized storage capacity. To some extent there is a premise embedded in their system that iCloud storage capacity devoted to Pictures/Video won't get bigger than the capacity of the devices hooked into the service. That seems extremely dubious over a protracted period of time, if the objective is to be a "one big pile collection" (archive). Over the intermediate term, though, Apple herds more folks into buying bigger SSDs and more iCloud storage so that working-set size is bigger on all the Apple devices.

I think folks could treat iCloud Photos more like a not-so-automated Photo Stream. Unfortunately, Apple has made a substantial number of hoops, if you want to stick with Photos. (High-level Library management in Mac Photos isn't easy.)

Option 1 (single library with references)

i. Preferences > General > Import: Deselect "copy items to photo library".​
(What we're going to leverage here is that local reference photos don't sync to iCloud Library.)​
ii. Export the photos you want to delete (e..g. create a ~/Pictures/Local_refs_library folder and stuff them there). Export with subfolder (and file) names driven by Photos features (album/moment on file name/folder). If it's a small local SSD, then the export target on a hard disk drive is probably a better archive.​
iii. Once you safely have copies, then you can delete the iCloud sync version. (That will propagate out to other devices, so space saving takes a while there.)​
iv. Import the stuff just exported. (Now that preferences are to "references only", they will only be local.)​
(Export/import pragmatically means not trying to keep photos in some "partially" edited state. Either export original file - with optional keyword metadata - or transform the photo into JPG/PNG and lose keywords. It has some kludge aspects to it.)​
Option 2 (two libraries, second with references)

Similar to the above, except export from Library sync'ed with iCloud (System Preference) and then import to another local library via same export/import. (Kind of painful - there is no "move these photos to another library" option. But the fact you have to quit Photos completely to change libraries shows they aren't trying make multiple libraries 'easy'. It is a "meta" feature added back into the Mac version that is plain different.)


So, in short, use a Mac (or PC?) to copy items out of the iCloud Photo library by hand. Then you shrink the iCloud Photos library on the Mac (PC) by doing some deletes. Finally, that ripples back to the Phone (which finally frees up space on the phone). You simply have to kick off that process manually on the device with the larger capacity instead of it "automagically" being done for you.

"Storage problem on your phone" means go to the Mac and solve that problem - something the docs don't lead you to directly. (Most iOS users don't have Macs, so there are some merits to why the docs don't point to that as primary solution.)

The hardwired sync with iTunes/Photos works also, with iCloud Photos turned all the way off. That, too, is a "Mac/PC"-first solution way of approaching it.
I haven't seen anyone mention that you can set iOS to "Optimize iPhone Storage" in the Photos settings on the phone or iPad, and it will remove the full-size photos as needed from your phone if space is tight, but keep a thumbnail and will redownload them from iCloud if called upon to be viewed at high-res.

This frees me up from having to constantly watch my space limitations on any of my devices or computers. I have one computer that has a large enough space for all photos (so don't turn that on for it) but a laptop, phone, and iPad that have smaller storage. Yes, I pay a bit for storage, but I don't have to waste time thinning out old photos and still have full access to my whole library at full-res on my phone.
 


Using macOS 10.14.2 on Dec. 30 2018, I needed to send a large attachment (zipped) via Mail on Zoho. It was too large, so I logged into iCloud so the attachment could be delivered. First time to use iCloud in that way; usually I avoid iCloud. A few days later I could not get TextEdit even to force quit. Looking around discovered the guest account was enabled. I disabled it and changed my login password as well as my Apple ID.

Since then system prefs for Energy Saver seem to be ignored and I get logged out after a few minutes while away from the keyboard. Tried restoring defaults on Energy Saver and later setting 1-hour delay.

Is there a way through Terminal I could determine what is going on - and restore normal settings? Have used Little Snitch for many years but do not find a bogus connection that is obvious.
I've had the Guest User turned on after macOS upgrades. It's not ideal behavior, but when I notice it, I just turn it off again. This isn't evidence that your computer has been hacked.

You couldn't get Text Edit to force quit? How about after a restart? As for your Energy Saver settings, it sounds like your PowerManagement plist file has become corrupted. I would try deleting it and restarting.

If you don't regularly use iCloud but wanted to use it to send a large attachment, it would have been wiser to log into iCloud.com and send the email from your web browser.
 


My wife's iPhone SE was uploading full-quality photos to her iCloud account (expected behavior) but not showing any of those recent photos on her phone! Additionally, when I plugged her phone into her Mac, iTunes warned that it could not read the data on the iPhone and recommended we restore it to factory settings. I first logged into her iCloud account (on my Mac) and downloaded all 5000+ photos "just in case", then performed the restore as directed.

What a miserable experience! It took five or six resets of the phone in order to get past the initial 4-number iPhone login and then it consistently hung when having to "log into your AppleID in order to finish setting up". I figured out the solution for that is logging out of iCloud completely and then logging in again, but her Messages are all gone (and she's not very happy about that).

In short, this was a four-hour nightmare, and, based upon this experience, I'd never buy an iPhone again. My Android phone has none of these problems and, when I did decide to nuke and re-pave last year, it took 45 minutes, had no "issues", and I was able to do it without connecting the phone to anything but a power adapter.

When my wife's iPhone presents another "issue", I'll drop it in the toilet and buy her a Motorola or Nokia.
 


My wife's iPhone SE was uploading full-quality photos to her iCloud account (expected behavior) but not showing any of those recent photos on her phone! Additionally, when I plugged her phone into her Mac, iTunes warned that it could not read the data on the iPhone and recommended we restore it to factory settings. I first logged into her iCloud account (on my Mac) and downloaded all 5000+ photos "just in case", then performed the restore as directed.
What a miserable experience! It took five or six resets of the phone in order to get past the initial 4-number iPhone login and then it consistently hung when having to "log into your AppleID in order to finish setting up". I figured out the solution for that is logging out of iCloud completely and then logging in again, but her Messages are all gone (and she's not very happy about that).
In short, this was a four-hour nightmare, and, based upon this experience, I'd never buy an iPhone again. My Android phone has none of these problems and, when I did decide to nuke and re-pave last year, it took 45 minutes, had no "issues", and I was able to do it without connecting the phone to anything but a power adapter.
I discovered her Messages have been backed up to iCloud but they're not coming back down to her phone. I tried turning off iCloud for Messages ("Disconnect and Download Messages" is what the dialog said, if I recall correctly), but after an hour, nothing came down. I turned it back on.

Is there an app that would let me pull those Messages from her last iCloud backup? She never plugged her iPhone into her Mac so there is no local backup.
 





I migrated my iPhone X to an Xs and now my iCloud tabs are "one way." I can see the tabs from my other devices on my new iPhone Xs, but I cannot see any tabs from my iPhone Xs on my other devices. I have a case open with Apple, but has anyone else seen and slain this problem?
 


I recently upgraded my 2012-era Mac Mini to a new Windows 10 system from Lenovo. After installing iCloud for Windows, I am having a very odd problem. If I take a new photo on my phone or iPad, it will not show in iCloud photos, or the iCloud web site, until I turn on the Mac and start Photos. After I turn it on, the photos show in all places without issue. The only thing that doesn't work is when I delete a photo it will not delete from iCloud. Any suggestions?
 


All drives fail - especially hard disk drives (with their mechanical moving parts), it is just a matter of time. Internal or external has no difference on the drive mechanism failing - externals do have a slightly increased chance of failure, if the USB controller itself fails, and possible risk of it being knocked over/dropped. 9 years is honestly pretty good. Keep good backups!
I use Time Machine for the server. Interestingly iTunes is downloading a lot of episodes and films I had purchased years ago. What I learned is that if you keep anything in the Cloud and it fails or is no longer supported, the things disappear, even if you paid for them.
 



What I learned is that if you keep anything in the Cloud and it fails or is no longer supported, the things disappear, even if you paid for them.
Yep. I have several terrific "iTunes Originals" albums that are among my favorite recordings, and they disappeared from the Apple Store quite a while ago. Had I relied on cloud streaming instead of purchasing and downloading, these recordings would exist for me only as memories.
 


Yep. I have several terrific "iTunes Originals" albums that are among my favorite recordings, and they disappeared from the Apple Store quite a while ago. Had I relied on cloud streaming instead of purchasing and downloading, these recordings would exist for me only as memories.
Actually, the iTunes Originals albums, while no longer available for sale, should still be available for download for those who previously purchased them. Just click on the Purchased link on the iTunes Store, and Music and "All". If you did not already have the album in your iTunes library, you would find the download link active to redownload your purchase.
 


I'm having problems replying to messages on the Messages app on my Mac Pro. It just started about a week ago. I can see incoming messages but when sending a message I get a note saying "Not delivered" just below the message I'm trying to send. This problem doesn't appear on my other Macs. I tried logging out then back in, but the problem is still there. How can I resolve the problem?

Thank you all and have a Merry Christmas.
 


I have multiple Apple devices, including an iPhone 6S, iPad Pro, Watch Series 5, and three different iMacs. Not that long ago, whenever I received a text message, I got both a Notification message and an audio alert on every one of those devices, usually simultaneously. (Basically in stereo!)

However, in recent months (after upgrading to iOS 13), it seems that I'm not getting notified of new messages on all devices with both a visual notice and an audio alert. It may come in just on an iMac, or just on my iPhone. Yet, when I unlock and check the Messages app on other devices, I usually will see a pending message notification— it simply failed to alert me with the alert sound!

This leads to sometimes not being made aware of pending messages, unless I happen to check manually. My iPad no longer gives audio alerts for Messages unless I'm actually using it at the time the message arrives. Then it works as expected.

Sometimes, I'll answer a message on my iMac, and my answer is visible in the Message Thread Preview on my iPhone, but it still indicates I have a missed message! It's very weird and random how my devices are not in sync with the Notifications of new messages but are in sync regarding the actual message content.

All iOS devices are running current software and play audio just fine with everything else. I get phone call alerts on all, as expected. This issue seems limited to Messages alone. Very frustrating in that it is so random, but clearly not working the way it used to. I don't have any other issues with my iCloud account. Email Alerts are working fine, too

Any ideas?

#applequality
 


I have multiple Apple devices, including an iPhone 6S, iPad Pro, Watch Series 5, and three different iMacs. Not that long ago, whenever I received a text message, I got both a Notification message and an audio alert on every one of those devices, usually simultaneously. (Basically in stereo!)

However, in recent months (after upgrading to iOS 13), it seems that I'm not getting notified of new messages on all devices with both a visual notice and an audio alert. It may come in just on an iMac, or just on my iPhone. Yet, when I unlock and check the Messages app on other devices, I usually will see a pending message notification— it simply failed to alert me with the alert sound!

This leads to sometimes not being made aware of pending messages, unless I happen to check manually. My iPad no longer gives audio alerts for Messages unless I'm actually using it at the time the message arrives. Then it works as expected.

Sometimes, I'll answer a message on my iMac, and my answer is visible in the Message Thread Preview on my iPhone, but it still indicates I have a missed message! It's very weird and random how my devices are not in sync with the Notifications of new messages but are in sync regarding the actual message content.

All iOS devices are running current software and play audio just fine with everything else. I get phone call alerts on all, as expected. This issue seems limited to Messages alone. Very frustrating in that it is so random, but clearly not working the way it used to. I don't have any other issues with my iCloud account. Email Alerts are working fine, too

Any ideas?

#applequality
Are you actively using one device when the others are silent? I have experienced a Messages notification on my desktop Mac when I am working on it but not on my iPhone, which is a couple of feet away. It seems Apple may try to avoid the stereo effect and focus only on the active device.
 


Are you actively using one device when the others are silent? I have experienced a Messages notification on my desktop Mac when I am working on it but not on my iPhone, which is a couple of feet away. It seems Apple may try to avoid the stereo effect and focus only on the active device.
While that gives Apple a lot of credit to think clearly, I have to admit I’ve experienced both single and multiple device audio notifications. I haven’t noticed a well defined pattern to which case occurs when, so it almost seems random.
 


I’m having the same alert issue, as well. But also, sometimes when I receive a text, it doesn’t show up on my iMac but does on my iPhone and iPad. If I quit and restart Messages, the text is there.

#applequality
 


Thanks to Ira L., JSchaffe and SteveClark for their responses. To followup, yes, I’m often using one device while the others are either sleeping, inactive or locked. Yes, they tend to be nearby. iPhone and iPad are usually in the same place with me, while I use an iMac at the office and an iMac at home. Both iMacs are behaving the same with this issue (previously running High Sierra and now begrudgingly on Mojave).

For one example, when working on my iMac (either one), the Message alert usually comes in there first. My iPhone and iPad often do not “ping!” immediately, if at all. Another example: if I’m on my iPad, it will ping there, and my iPhone remains silent (randomly). Oftentimes, I’m bouncing back and forth between them, and the alerts seem to be totally random!

What frustrates me is how this is actually a two-pronged problem.
1) The randomness of which device gets the alerts and when, and
2) after the alert came in, answering on one device often does not tell the other device that I’ve responded, meaning, there is still a notification badge "number" appearing on the app icon, even though the text of my response is actually showing up in the app itself! Just mind boggling...

I personally prefer having the “stereo” effect, despite close proximity. Why? Because that tells me that iCloud Messages is fully in sync and doing its job. Right now, I have no assurance that anything is in sync and am experiencing many missed notifications, because it did not Ping on the one device I happened to have at the exact moment the message arrived.

It seems that something on Apple’s end has changed in this last round (or two) of iOS and macOS, because it worked flawlessly for me, for years. I don't think it's an iCloud issue, because as I indicated previously, my email alerts do remain in sync across all my devices. My photos are in sync too. So this is something specific to Messages.

#applequality
 


Yesterday, I was reading on my iPad, and two Messages banner notifications showed but with no sound. I did not view them then. Later, after I quit whatever app I was reading, I noted no badge on the Messages app. A while later, I opened my MacBook Pro, and the Messages banner notifications appeared and my iPhone showed Messages with a "2" badge. The devices use iOS 12.4.1 and macOS 10.13.6, respectively.
 


Dan Hamilton

Moderator
...It seems that something on Apple’s end has changed in this last round (or two) of iOS and macOS, because it worked flawlessly for me, for years. I don't think it's an iCloud issue, because as I indicated previously, my email alerts do remain in sync across all my devices. My photos are in sync too. So this is something specific to Messages.
David, I have similar Message issues, but they also show up with incoming phone calls. Prior to the most recent OSes, they would ring or notify on my iPhone, iPad and iMac, the latter being especially convenient. Now they rarely arrive on my iMac at all and there can be a long delay from when the phone starts to ring and when I can answer on the iPad -- so long that often an attempt to answer on the iPad just sends the call right to voicemail.

So this may not be strictly a Messages issue, but rather one related to how "alert" a device is on my/your network. The iMac is on 10.13.6 and the iOS versions are both 13.2.3.
 


David, I have similar Message issues, but they also show up with incoming phone calls. Prior to the most recent OSes, they would ring or notify on my iPhone, iPad and iMac, the latter being especially convenient. Now they rarely arrive on my iMac at all and there can be a long delay from when the phone starts to ring and when I can answer on the iPad -- so long that often an attempt to answer on the iPad just sends the call right to voicemail.
So this may not be strictly a Messages issue, but rather one related to how "alert" a device is on my/your network. The iMac is on 10.13.6 and the iOS versions are both 13.2.3.
Dan, that's very interesting. I hadn't thought about that before. However, now that you mentioned it, I have noticed that when my Mac notifies me of an incoming call on my iPhone, even when I answer the call on my iPhone, the Mac will indicate a "Missed Call" (via the FaceTime app badge icon). This happened a few times and the badge icon continues to register additional missed calls.

This didn't annoy me as much, simply because the call was ringing on all devices simultaneously. For me, that's of paramount importance. Maybe, next time, I'll try answering the call on the iMac and see if the iPhone registers it as a missed call or if it responds correctly. Interesting....
 


In my experience, the Messages application/app is a mess. There is no consistency with it being in sync across all my devices. And sometimes the application crashes when I start it up, requiring it to be relaunched. Also contacts set up via Messages do not always show up in the Contacts application/app. Maybe there is something I really don't understand?

#applequality
 


... Messages application/app is a mess. .. no consistency in sync across all my devices.
Sync device interaction is undependable. Too many hidden settings on multiple setup screens.

I'm wishing for a Cloud Device Diagnostics Utility, where admin (me) can check all devices and their settings linked to my cloud and family sharing. See what is controlling what, and how each relates to other devices, and family sharing. Even a roadmap of what I have connected together.

My old-school single app brain is struggling. Then I made things worse by adding family sharing.
 


In my experience, the Messages application/app is a mess. There is no consistency with it being in sync across all my devices. And sometimes the application crashes when I start it up, requiring it to be relaunched. Also contacts set up via Messages do not always show up in the Contacts application/app. Maybe there is something I really don't understand?
In my experience, the Messages app and iCloud are a mess when you have lousy wifi and or lousy phone service for data. I just got back from London, where I experienced backups not getting done, being logged out of iMessage for no reason, and just had a very low-grade experience. Got home, and all problems disappear. So I would check that before I'd blame the app. It's been solid for me for over 5 years.
 


Sync device interaction is undependable. Too many hidden settings on multiple setup screens.
The underlying issue is that iMessage isn't designed as a sync system. It looks like one, but it isn't.

Messages are encrypted by the sender, with separate payloads for each and every one of the recipient's registered iDevice/Mac/Watch. Then those payloads are delivered by the Apple Push Notification service to each device. When they arrive can vary, especially with spotty internet connections (such as Steve L's example). It can even result in messages arriving out of order.

Message read status is also updated by push notifications – from the receiving device out to both the sender (if enabled) and to the owner's other Apple devices. And those are also vulnerable to delays in delivery.

iMessages are retained for delivery for up to 30 days on Apple's servers, then they are deleted.

A true sync system would have a centralized "master" or "source of truth" and everything else would update from it. All messages and status would be stored on Apple's servers indefinitely, and any given device would get its state from the server. In iMessage, there is no single truth state.

If we work by analogy to email, iMessage is like the POP protocol, not IMAP. In iMessage, the device in your hand is supreme, not the server.
 


In my experience, the Messages app and iCloud are a mess when you have lousy wifi and or lousy phone service for data. I just got back from London, where I experienced backups not getting done, being logged out of iMessage for no reason, and just had a very low-grade experience. Got home, and all problems disappear. So I would check that before I'd blame the app. It's been solid for me for over 5 years.
Of course that's possible. But I have Spectrum for wifi and AT&T for cell service. They seem to work (mostly) well in other regards. Not sure I would call them "low-grade".
 


The underlying issue is that iMessage isn't designed as a sync system. It looks like one, but it isn't....
Good points. I guess I'm stuck on the Messages application on the desktop where, in its Preferences, one will find under the option to "Enable Messages in iCloud" that you can instruct to "Sync Now". So what does the Sync Now option really refer to? Just syncing the Messages on that device to the Messages "in" or "still in" the iCloud?
 


Yesterday, I was reading on my iPad, and two Messages banner notifications showed but with no sound. I did not view them then. Later, after I quit whatever app I was reading, I noted no badge on the Messages app. A while later, I opened my MacBook Pro, and the Messages banner notifications appeared and my iPhone showed Messages with a "2" badge. The devices use iOS 12.4.1 and macOS 10.13.6, respectively.
I rebooted my iPad and the Messages badge(s) now show.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple has apparently made changes to iCloud for more extensive support with Android:
Ars Technica said:
Apple brings iCloud Photos and more to Android with new Web-based apps
With no fanfare or public announcement, Apple has launched a mobile version of its Web-based interface for accessing iCloud services like Notes, Reminders, and Photos. Located at icloud.com just like the desktop version, this mobile site works on the default browsers for both iOS and Android devices (with some caveats for the latter) and has a more limited scope than users already saw on the desktop Web.

That smaller scope starts with the Web apps that are available: the mobile version only offers Photos, Notes, Find iPhone, and Reminders. By contrast, the desktop version also offers Mail, Contacts, Calendar, iCloud Drive, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and Find Friends.
Apple hasn't documented its Android iCloud support, though it talks about its Windows support:
Apple said:
System requirements for iCloud
These are the recommended system requirements and minimum system requirements for iCloud.
 


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