I'm migrating my photo library from Google Photos, and have a weird problem when importing decompressed Google Takeout downloads into my Apple Photos library.

The Photos library was 26 GB when I started the process, and my iCloud Photos included some photos from 2019-2022.

After importing over 100 GB of photos spanning 10 years, the size of my Photos library is still 26 GB, and none of the imported photos are showing up in iCloud Photos.

My Photos settings include the following:

  • Importing: Copy items to the Photos library (Enabled)
  • iCloud Photos: Enabled
  • iCloud Photos: Optimize Mac Storage: Enabled
  • Shared Albums: Enabled

It seems like it is not copying photos to the library, and also not uploading them to iCloud photos.

UPDATE: Photos might actually be copied into the library, and now I have more questions. 'Get Info' on the Photos Library shows a size of 26 GB, but if I open the Photos Library container and 'Get Info' on the "originals" folder within the library container, it shows a size of 198 GB!

Q1: What causes the difference in reported size? Is this normal?
Q2: What might be preventing photos from being uploaded to iCloud Photos?


  • 1
    How are you determining the photo album size?
    – Ezekiel
    Dec 5, 2022 at 15:05
  • Good question. What I've been doing is: Open finder, browse to the Pictures folder, Ctrl+Click on the Photo library, and select Get Info. I just tried using "Show Package Contents" and then Get Info on the 'originals' folder, which now shows a size of 198 GB. NOTE: Between the first and second of these steps, I did try turning off the "Copy items" setting for photo imports, and then turning it back on.
    – Sam Erde
    Dec 5, 2022 at 15:12
  • 1
    Due to the number of files, the system sometimes doesn't recalculate these sizes consistently.
    – Ezekiel
    Dec 5, 2022 at 15:32
  • My computer has been on for almost a week straight, with no change in reported size of the Photo Library itself, and no photos uploaded to iCloud.
    – Sam Erde
    Dec 5, 2022 at 15:42
  • 1
    I see iCloud Photos is enabled, what does it show at the bottom of the Library All Photos view? For example, on my computer it shows the item count and then "Synced with iCloud Just Now"
    – Ezekiel
    Dec 5, 2022 at 16:28

2 Answers 2


To see whether files are references, change View > Metadata > Referenced to be enabled. This will show an icon on images that haven't been copied to your library, and still reference the original.

Your library size may not update immediately or at all due to how folder sizes are calculated in most file systems, so this approach is more reliable.

  • Thanks for the metadata tip. My computer has been on for almost a week straight, with no change in reported size of the Photo Library itself, and no photos uploaded to iCloud.
    – Sam Erde
    Dec 5, 2022 at 15:42
  • 1
    I updated my answer - the folder size thing is normal - I see it all the time on my computer, esp. with Photos. Folders don't have sizes so they have to be manually calculated, and in the case of photos that process doesn't always get triggered.
    – Ezekiel
    Dec 5, 2022 at 16:26
  • What you described regarding the References metadata icon is helpful to know when iCloud Photos exist in one place, either the cloud or on the Mac, but really doesn't answer why none of the photos on my Mac are syncing to iCloud.
    – Sam Erde
    Dec 5, 2022 at 16:52
  • Upvoting because you still gave me some helpful information. Thank you!
    – Sam Erde
    Dec 9, 2022 at 16:30

This isn't the answer that I wanted to post, but sometimes the answer is simple.

  • Turned off iCloud Photos
  • Quit the Photos app
  • Restarted my Mac
  • Opened Photos
  • Turned iCloud Photos back on

...and it started syncing photos right away. I didn't try this earlier because iCloud Photos was off and I only turned it on before I started this whole import process. Also, after syncing for two days, the size of the photo library itself now reflects what I would expect.

Ultimately, looking at the size of the Photo library (Get Info) itself created a red herring for me, and was a non-issue. Now I just have to wait for it to very slowly upload my photos at a rate of approximately 1,000-2,000 per day. The upside is that when uploading is done, iCloud will now show me all of the duplicates.

  • Glad you figured it out, sorry I didn't follow up but I'd kinda reached the end of my knowledge there 😛
    – Ezekiel
    Dec 9, 2022 at 19:07
  • You can accept your own answer as correct so the question shows as solved
    – Ezekiel
    Dec 9, 2022 at 19:08

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