How to force iCloud to sync & update Photos images fast(er)
(a) The good thing about Photos and iCloud is that the images you take on your iPhone are automatically made available in your image library on iPads, Macs and any other Apple device signed into the same Apple ID.
(b) The bad thing is that sometimes you have to wait for hours until the images are synced across your devices. What should you do?
How to force Photos to update iCloud images
The barriers to fast upload/sync seem to include:
- Low Power Mode: If your iPhone is in Low Power Mode then images won’t be synced to iCloud.
- Low quality network: Images and video take time to upload and to download, so if you are on low quality network (bad Wi-Fi or a patchy 3G connection) then it will take time for sync to happen.
- Power management: Anecdotally, I’ve noticed the power – more specifically that your device is plugged into power – has an impact on the synchronization process.
It’s usually Low Power Mode that delays the process
What I’ve also noticed is that the problem is usually around use of Low Power Mode.
The thing is, once you exit that mode (and charge your device) it takes a while to send those images to iCloud – and then takes a while longer to download them to your other Apple device.
With this in mind, the following are logical approaches to force a sync operation to take place in Photos:
- Ensure you have a good Wi-Fi signal (best) or an adequate mobile signal – good 4G.
- Disable Low Power Mode on the iPhone or other device you captured a photo/video on if it is enabled. Images do not sync to iCloud while the device is in that mode.
- Connect your devices to power.
- Ensure the device you want to sync too is also on a good network and has power.
Look inside the Photos library on the device you wish to sync from and you should see a note at the bottom of the page that tells you the status of sync on that device, and how many images/videos still remain to be synced.
Get the sync moving
Once you follow those four steps above you should find the sync process begins.
Once it has completed, move to the device you want to access those assets from. You may find that the sync process has not yet taken place. If it has not, try quitting Photos, connecting the device to power, letting it sleep, and then waking it up again and opening Photos.
Assuming you have a decent connection, you should now begin downloading the images you crave. (On a Mac, just quit Photos and relaunch it, once you know the upload is done).
These are the steps I use. Perhaps there are others, but I’ve not had need to find them. Hope this helps!