My wife is a prolific picture-taker, both on her iPhone 6 and her Nikon. As a result, both her 64Gig iPhone and 240Gig Mac Air are completely filled to the brim (the later has all sorts of others stuff too). As her devices are often running out of storage room, she sometimes uses my iPhone to take shots.

iCloud Photo Sharing would seem to be a solution, but... Unless I am reading the instructions wrong, it seems you have a 5000 photo limit, and also have to individually upload images to a shared folder using the sharing buttons? I'm looking for something that's completely automatic, and can hold at least 10k photos.

An external drive is another solution, but again, this takes away the automation side of things. Or is there a way to get iPhoto to see a second source of images if it is present and simply not show them if it's not?

My monthly budget is zero. My one-off budget is $100.


3 Answers 3



You can use Apple iCloud's "My Photo Stream" to hold more than 10,000 photos.

You can easily continue to use iPhoto/Aperture/Photos.app so there's no need to learn any new app or to migrate data.

Upgrade Storage

The only limit is the total size of your photos and the storage you are paying for. 5 GB are free with every iCloud account.

See iCloud storage plans and pricing for more information on the pricing in your country.


My Photo Stream does not limit the number of photos that you can upload. Keep in mind that Apple has a soft limit on how many photos you may upload per day:

My Photo Stream upload limits

The My Photo Stream limits below are based on anticipated upload patterns. These are the My Photo Stream upload limits:

  • Uploads to My Photo Stream per hour: 1000 photos
  • Uploads to My Photo Stream per day: 10,000 photos
  • Uploads to My Photo Stream per month: 25,000 photos

If you exceed one of these limits, your uploads to My Photo Stream will pause temporarily, and you might see a notification on your device. Your uploads will resume automatically when you no longer exceed the limit, such as in the following hour or on the following day.

Source: Apple

  • Unfortunately 5 GB is simply not enough, and to get enough storage is $12.99/Mo CAD. That is FAR too much to consider. May 11, 2017 at 18:53
  • Thank you for your comment. I could not find a maximum amount you are willing to spend in your question.
    – oa-
    May 11, 2017 at 19:09

Google Photos might be an option for Photos however, it downscales quality. The Apps allow for syncing between all devices. Moreover, it is possible to move the existing photo library to an external drive, maintaining space, and an alias may be created in the original location with the same name to preserve the library files.

Google Photos

Limitations of Service:

  • Unlimited free storage.

  • Photos are compressed to save space. If a photo is larger than 16MP, it will be resized to 16MP.

  • You can print good quality 16MP photos in sizes up to 24 inches x 16 inches.

  • Videos higher than 1080p will be resized to high-definition 1080p. A video with 1080p or less will look close to the original.

Using Google Drive will also allow for the additional storage of 15 GB of data, assuming you used the unlimited high quality stills instead of the storage that counts against your drive.

Google Drive

File sizes

These are the documents, spreadsheets, and presentation sizes you can store in Google Drive.

  • Documents: Up to 1.02 million characters. If you convert a text document to Google Docs format, it can be up to 50 MB.
  • Spreadsheets: Up to 2 million cells for spreadsheets that are created in or converted to Google Sheets.
  • Presentations: Up to 100 MB for presentations converted to Google Slides.
  • All other files: Up to 5 TB.

Supported file types

These are the most common file types you can view in Google Drive:

General files

  • Archive files (.ZIP, .RAR, tar, gzip)

  • Audio formats (MP3, MPEG, WAV, .ogg)

  • Image files (.JPEG, .PNG, .GIF, .BMP)

  • Markup/Code (.CSS, .HTML, .PHP, .C, .CPP, .H, .HPP, .JS)

  • Text files (.TXT)

  • Video files (WebM, .MPEG4, .3GPP, .MOV, .AVI, .MPEGPS, .WMV, .FLV, .ogg)

  • Adobe files

  • Autodesk AutoCad (.DXF)

  • Illustrator (.AI)

  • Photoshop (.PSD)

  • Portable Document Format (.PDF)

  • PostScript (.EPS, .PS)

  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG)

  • Tagged Image File Format (.TIFF) - best with RGB .TIFF images

  • TrueType (.TTF)

  • Microsoft files

  • Excel (.XLS and .XLSX)

  • PowerPoint (.PPT and .PPTX)

  • Word (.DOC and .DOCX)

  • XML Paper Specification (.XPS)

A locally run Plex Media Server on an old computer may be another option. If a Plex Pass is bought for $159.99 CAD, it will organize faces, objects, and places based on geolocation, The Application also has extensive video support, Apple TV, iOS , Roku, and Android apps are included. Camera Roll upload can be enabled by device, and an external hard drive is recommended.

See This Page for more

  • "Moreover, it is possible to move the existing photo library to an external drive, ... and an alias may be created in the original location with the same name to preserve the library files." I am confused as to what this means - is this a Google photo library, or the iPhoto one? May 11, 2017 at 19:58
  • You can move over the existing iPhoto Library to an external drive, just create an alias when it is in the new location, move the alias back to the Pictures folder with the same name as the original photos library. It must be exactly the same, otherwise the indexes will not be valid.
    – bret7600
    May 11, 2017 at 20:01
  • Note: I just use the 16 MP Google Photos storage, it automatically categorizes it, and files the metadata correctly. The facial recognition is definitely a plus. Google Photos also supports RAW, and will automatically process it. All data is converted to JPG, and RAW support is only availible with the Desktop Uploader.
    – bret7600
    May 11, 2017 at 20:02

The mobile app PhotoSync https://www.photosync-app.com/ has a premium feature that will let you automatically send your photos to various local or remote destinations using various protocols. Take a look at the homepage or download the app https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/app/photosync-wireless-photo-video/id415850124?mt=8&uo=4&pt=381336&at=1000laVG&ct=hp to see if it supports the protocols/destinations you need, it offers a lot of options. The pictures can be exported in as close to the original format as possible–for example HEIC and an accompanying MOV Live Photo.

I use it myself to export to a NAS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network-attached_storage over SMB https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samba_(software) and share the photos using software like PiGallery 2 https://github.com/bpatrik/PiGallery2/

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