If you have two or more Macs that you use regularly, it might be tempting to share your photo library between them. iCloud Photos is the preferred method for syncing pictures and videos, and it also offers optimized storage so you don’t fill up your Mac’s drives with media if you want to keep it in the cloud.
However, iCloud Photos requires a paid subscription to iCloud+ if you use more than the truly inadequate and completely ridiculous 5GB that Apple includes for free with every iCloud account. Some people don’t want cloud storage and don’t want to pay for it—they just want to sync between Macs or use a single library file that they can open on one device at a time.
If you don’t want to spend extra iCloud storage, then there is no great way to make iClouds Photos work. The best option I can suggest is to use an external drive to store your photo library:
- Leave photos.
- Copy the photos library from the startup volume to your external volume.
- Once done, press the Option key and launch Photos.
- Select in photos Photos > Preferencesand in general tab, click Use as a system photo library.
When you want to switch Macs for the first time:
- Leave photos.
- Remove the drive from your first Mac and install it on the second.
- Press the Option key and launch Photos.
- As above, select Photos > Preferencesand in general tab, click Use as a system photo library.
From now on, when you want to switch Macs:
- Leave the photos on your current Mac.
- Remove the disc and install it on another Mac.
- Launch Photos on the newly connected Mac.
Make sure both Macs stay up-to-date with the same release of macOS to avoid problems installing the latest version of Photos while updating the system.
This Mac 911 article answers a question posed by Macworld reader Jennifer.
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