My iCloud Photo Library was working great, but I ran out of space and it stopped syncing. Now I’ve bought more space and restarted my devices, but it is still not syncing.

How can I get it to start syncing again? I vaguely remember this happening before and having to do something like deleting all photos from my iPad and doing something on my Mac.

Update: I have tried rebooting into safe mode and it still doesn’t sync.

iCloud Photos Preferences

I am running OS X Yosemite.

  • 1
    Have you tried adding a photo to your library, from either your Mac or your iPad (or both)? That may be enough to kick off a sync. – user11633 Jul 5 '18 at 4:24
  • Yes, I have added a few photos on my Mac and it doesn’t sync to iCloud.com or my iPad, But changes are synced between my iPad and iCloud.com – Matt Jul 5 '18 at 13:50
  • Similar: apple.stackexchange.com/q/181979 – Matt Jul 5 '18 at 16:05
  • 1
    Just let it run its course. It most likely isn’t reuploadig everything, but rather reconciling your local and iCloud libraries. You should be able to verify this by keeping an eye on the photo and video counters at the bottom of your collection. I have this happen to me on occasion when my photo library encounters an issue. – user11633 Jul 5 '18 at 17:33
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    If this fixes your problem be sure to post it as an answer to help others who may be having the same problem 😊 – user11633 Jul 5 '18 at 17:35

The surest way to resolve this is to create a fresh Photos Library by following these steps:

  1. ⌘ cmd-Q out of Photos.
  2. Go into  → System Preferences → iCloud → Photos Options… and uncheck iCloud Photo Library. iCloud Photos Options
  3. Reboot if you want to be safe, though it shouldn’t be necessary.
  4. Launch Photos with ⌥ opt-click.
  5. Click Create New… and name your new Photos Library. Create New Photos Library
  6. Go into Photos → Preferences → General and click Use as System Photo Library. Use as System Photo Library
  7. Go into Photos → Preferences → iCloud and check iCloud Photo Library.
  8. Wait for your photos to be redownloaded from iCloud.

If you’d rather try to keep your existing Photos Library, follow these steps instead:

  1. ⌘ cmd-Q out of Photos.
  2. Create a backup of your Photos Library.photoslibrary file.
  3. Launch Photos with ⌘ cmd-⌥ opt-click.
  4. Click Repair. Repair Photos Library  dialogue box
  5. Wait for macOS to repair your Photos Library. A full sync should take place once the repair has completed.

Some screenshots courtesy of OS X Daily.

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  • 2
    +1 Good answer. And to get you over that 9k. – JBis Jul 5 '18 at 22:01
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    Whenever I "repair" my macOS Photos library, I lose all manually tagged People/Faces. – 2540625 Dec 14 '18 at 0:12

The Photos app appears to automatically pause syncs to iCloud when your computer is running on battery power. Try plugging in your computer, or alternatively, go to Library > Photos > scroll to page bottom and there is an option to resume sync on battery power.

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