My photos app says it's "Updating". It has left my machine almost unresponsive for several hours now with iStats reporting 50-70% CPU usage and SSD usage at about 50 MB/s. I installed Photos several weeks ago and haven't added more than a couple photos recently. Although when I installed it originally (by upgrading Mac OS), it did spend an incredible amount of resources as well. My photo library consists of 7600 photos and 325 videos that I loaded in from an iPhoto library. There is no significant network traffic going on.

Is there any way for me to find out what exactly the Photos app is doing? Maybe if I could get some insight into it or perhaps control how and when it does its thing I might be able to understand it better.


Hmm... I have a theory now. Maybe this text from preferences is a hint:

Optimize Mac Storage

Store full-resolution photos and videos in the iCloud. Originals will also be stored on this Mac if you have enough space.

Maybe the app has decided that I have "enough space" (I now have 7 GB free out of 256 GB). Certainly the Photos Library folder/file has been growing during the process. The question remains though. Are there any way to gain insight into the workings of the Photos app?

  • Not sure why it's doing it weeks later, but either it's converting the iPhoto library… or it's decided to upload everything to iCloud. [I'd prefer the first explanation, with nothing more than guesswork to back it up] – Tetsujin May 13 '15 at 18:44
  • The conversion process doesn't do anything other than create hard links to the original files from the iPhoto library, so it shouldn't be doing anything weeks later. And to the OP's point, if it was re-downloading originals, you'd be seeing network activity. – tubedogg May 14 '15 at 2:20

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