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Troubleshooting Photos: Syncing, deleting, organizing albums, and more

Glenn Fleishman | July 20, 2015
We're back with more answers to a seemingly endless number of Photos questions, including deleting, syncing, and organizing albums.

Optimization is in the eye of the beholder--er, beholder's device's eye, that is. If you loaded images on your MacBook Air before enabling iCloud Photo Library, it doesn't optimize those images until it needs to free up storage. There's no way to force optimization, unless you disable iCloud Photo Library on the device in question, then delete all photos, and re-enable the library setting.

Importing from an iPad to a specific location

Sterling Levie wrote in with a poser, and after some back and forth we found a solution. His workflow during a recent scuba diving trip was to shoot RAW images on his Canon camera and move them from an SD card to his iPad each night. He marked his best shots on the iPad by favoriting them, but wanted to transfer the unmodified originals from his iPad to Lightroom.

But using iCloud Photo Library, he was able to get images to sync so he could select just the favorites, but exporting only gave him JPEGs, not RAW files. And the whole thing was a clumsy mess. But there was a way out: the $3 PhotoSync app for iOS lets a photographer move images from iOS to all sorts of destinations, including a Mac and in RAW format. Sterling counts himself happy with the process.

An adventure in space and time

Rick Oshlo asks a question that parallels ones that many of you have:

I recently imported my Aperture Library into the new Mac Photos app. One result is that I now have about 35-40 monthly Photo Stream albums commingled (in a nonsensical alphabetical order) with my albums and folders in the sidebar rather than being collected at the bottom of the sidebar as in Aperture.

Is there a way in the Photos sidebar to collect up all the Photo Streams in one place or folder AND place them in logical monthly chronological order without having to manually drag and sort them one at a time--and then having to clean that up every month in the future?

You'd think this would be a feature in high demand, and you'd also think that perhaps Apple would incorporate this into Photos 1.1, which will be part of El Capitan, and is now available as part of the public beta release of that OS X update.

And, sadly, we'd think wrong. Albums can be moved quite easily, but I've checked in the current Photos 1.1, and there's no method for better organization in the sidebar. I have many dozens of iPhoto Events turned into albums, which remain in the chronological order they were created. But Apple seems committed to its Moments orientation, in which those groupings are the key organization metaphor.


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