Can I share this?
April 17, 2019 11:04 PM   Subscribe

Our household runs macOS Mojave. My wife uses her own AppleID and I want to give her access to my entire Photos Library containing ~40,000 files. If I put the library into our shared Dropbox folder, turn on iCloud and make it the System Library on both computers, what issues will I have? E.g., will simultaneous access cause corruption? Does a better solution exist?
posted by Johnny Wallflower to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Are you just trying to share photos? I’d try adding everything to a Shared Album and give her Apple ID access. I believe iCloud Photo Library will have to be turned on.

Putting the library on a shared drive and keeping it synced is a recipe for disaster. Eventually the indexing files will get corrupted, and/or you’ll end up with multiple conflicting versions of everything.
posted by sideshow at 11:43 PM on April 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Even if iCloud was taken out of the formula (which would cause problems if two computers with different Apple IDs were using iCloud Photos syncing on the same Library), a shared Photos Library would likely cause problems with Apple’s built-in to the OS file versioning system when editing photos. The database that tracks editing changes (and allows reversion) resides on the boot volume of the computer and is part of the file system, thus would not be the same on each computer for each photo, eventually causing problems.
posted by D.C. at 1:45 AM on April 18, 2019

I've experimented with using a shared photo library across multiple machines (though both on the same apple ID and with iCloud disabled.) It works, but only if both machines use the same exact version of the OS and Photos itself (otherwise every launch of the program involves a ~30 minute wait for "rebuilding photo library".) The program also occasionally loses track of where the photo library is, if you move it to a nonstandard location.

Simultaneous access isn't possible; the second machine just complains that the library is in use and refuses to open.

No idea whether different apple IDs would be a problem, but I would certainly take the time to test it using a smaller library before committing 40,000 photos to the idea...
posted by ook at 5:21 AM on April 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

The problem with a Shared Album approach is that Shared Albums are limited to 5000 photos.
posted by FungusCassetteBicker at 7:09 AM on April 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

Dropbox . . . turn on iCloud and make it the System Library on both computers
Definitely don't do that.

Does a better solution exist?
Assuming by simultaneous access you just mean both of you viewing a photo at once, any number of NAS options will work - basically what you want here is a simple fileserver. I built one out of a BeagleBone Black because I wanted to share across various OS's (and had one sitting around), but premade solutions abound.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:32 AM on April 18, 2019

Response by poster: Re. NAS: If I connect her computer via file sharing and leave my computer on, can she safely view my System Library?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:45 AM on April 18, 2019

I am looking to get away from Dropbox (which syncs computers) and go to just storage. My friend who stores RAW pics suggested I look at Google Photos or Amazon Photos. I haven't had time to take a look, but I know that both offer unlimited storage. My plan is to upload files to the cloud weekly and then save to an external hard drive 3-4X per year as another backup.
posted by jraz at 6:50 AM on April 19, 2019

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