I have a large-ish photo library on my home network server of over 20,000 pics. I am considering syncing it to my iPad 2nd generation 64 GB, but I am not sure whether the built-in Photos app would be capable of managing that many photos. I know they woudn't fit in the memory, but I am willing to make some kind of selection. My question is not about the raw size (that's easy to compute), but about the following:

  • Can the built-in Photos app handle several thousands of photos?

  • Is it still usable and responsive?

Any experiences are welcome. Suggestions on alternative apps, in case the built-in one is not good, are also welcome. Thanks.

  • 1
    Don't know if it handles that many photos so I don't post this as answer. I'm using it on iPad 3 with around 8000 images, before that on iPad 1. No lag in scrolling whatsoever. Also: when synced with iTunes, 8000 images takes about 8GB on iPad 1 and 9.6GB on iPad 3. Photos get scaled down during sync so they aren't going to take up as much space as the original images. If you don't use iPhoto or Aperture you could scale them down manually before sync to device Jul 3, 2012 at 8:44
  • @kremalicious: Thank you, that's good news indeed.
    – CesarGon
    Jul 3, 2012 at 13:17
  • Note that the size of a single image depends on the camera. Oct 7, 2012 at 17:44
  • The image size also depends on the display type. Retina devices get higher resolution images which are still scaled down from the original if it is larger than the display resolution of the iDevice. My personal Photo library is around 200k images of which I sync around 10k to my iPad 2 and that works just fine.
    – MacLemon
    Dec 12, 2012 at 14:40
  • @MacLemon: Do you mean that your photo library contains two hundred thousand images? That's huge. Can the iPad cope with it?
    – CesarGon
    Dec 12, 2012 at 18:27

2 Answers 2


Assuming that each picture you shoot is 1 MB, 20000 pictures will take up 20000 MB which is approximately 20 GB. Now if you put these on your iPad 2, you have around 40 GB to work with keeping the reserved space in mind, which is okay. Looking at that information, you can upload 40000 more if you need. An alternative is to upload them all on a photo-hosting website to save all the 20 GB if you don't look at them often.

Responding to your second query, yes: it is quite responsive. My uncle has 8436 pictures and 129 videos on his iPad 2 and it is working perfectly.


Large amounts of photos shouldn't be any problem on your iPad. Properly built apps don't load all the images (in this case) available when you are in a table view image app. Instead, only the photos that are visible to you are loaded. This is a very efficient process, and they load very quickly (with the help of a little pre-loading). The memory of the iPad 2 should be enough for this: so, you shouldn't need worry about that.

  • Thank you. Are you talking from personal experience?
    – CesarGon
    Jul 3, 2012 at 17:56
  • From personal experience as an iOS App Developer, yes. But I haven't really tested it practically.
    – CGee
    Jul 3, 2012 at 18:01
  • I mean I haven't tested practically with thousands of photos – I of course tested the efficient loading many times and am using it daily.
    – CGee
    Jul 3, 2012 at 18:18
  • Could you perhaps provide any specific data then? I am a developer too and I am familiar with caching, preloading and all that stuff. But who knows how the Photos app has been developed! I'd like to know about its specific performance.
    – CesarGon
    Jul 3, 2012 at 18:19
  • Why don't you just try it out yourself? Just put a bunch of photos into your iPad over iTunes and see yourself. Shouldn't take longer than an hour for 64 GB.
    – CGee
    Jul 3, 2012 at 18:28

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