I have 2TB of iCloud storage, with Family Shared Storage turned on and several accounts in use by various family members. I would like to maintain a local copy of this 2TB, and I have a spare Mac to use for the job.

My issue is that, as far as I understand, macOS will only sync iCloud (files and Photo Library etc) for the currently logged-on user.

How do I set it up to automatically log into and sync files & photos from all of our iCloud accounts (e.g. every night)? I don’t want to have to manually rotate through changing users every time.

FYI I am comfortable with using Terminal, but not an expert Terminal user.

1 Answer 1


You could try enabling Fast User Switching, then logging in to all of your family’s accounts. Fast-switching between users keeps the previous user logged in, so processes running on that account should keep running in the background (albeit with a lower priority).

  1. Open System PreferencesUsers & GroupsLogin Options. Users & Groups
  2. Click the Padlock to unlock Administrator-only options.
  3. Finally enable Show fast user switching menu as (Icon or Name doesn’t matter). Login Options
  4. Now click the new option that should have appeared on the right side of your macOS menu bar, and login to another user account. enter image description here
  5. This should be sufficient since cloudd and photolibraryd will start automatically to sync your files and photos. However if you want to be safe, open up the Photos app.
  6. Repeat steps 4-5 for every family member.

You should only need to repeat this procedure if you reboot your Mac (eg. after a system update).

Screenshots courtesy of How-To Geek.

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