Manage Photos in iCloud Family Storage?
December 28, 2020 5:42 PM   Subscribe

Short version: is it possible to manage family members’ photos in iCloud family storage so that a specific user’s photos go into a specific folder instead of just into the main stream?

Long version: Our son is autistic. He takes literally hundreds of photos every day between his iPad and his iPhone (as well as with three different digital cameras). Because he would fill up all the space on his iOS devices, and because it is a pain in the arse to bulk delete images on iOS devices, I turned on family sharing so that his pictures would sync to iCloud and free up space (thus sparing me from screaming meltdowns when his devices couldn’t take any more pictures.)

Autism. It’s a whole thing.

The problem is, it has made the photo album on my wife’s and my devices completely useless. If we want to pull up a cute photo of the dog we took, we have to wade through quite literally thousands of photos that only make sense to our son.

I need his devices grouped with the family, for logistical reasons. I need him to be able to take as many photos as he wants without filling up local storage, for sanity reasons. If all of his photos were automatically segregated into a separate folder, it would make our lives SO MUCH BETTER.
posted by Lokheed to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do not have a direct solution but just ran onto a python utility for downloading photos from icloud, and it has a delete option: icloudpd. I used it on a unix box but it should run anywhere. (thought I'd pass this on as I had not known of any icloud automation tools)
posted by sammyo at 6:32 PM on December 28, 2020

Best answer: Do you have a single appleId in use by all the devices? If so, I highly suggest getting everyone on their own.

If you do have separate ids, no one should see the other members’ photos unless your son is sharing the photos to a Shared Album that you and your wife are subscribed to.
posted by sideshow at 6:34 PM on December 28, 2020 [3 favorites]

Is iCloud the only family grouping you can use? Perhaps setup a new shared group in Google Photos or Amazon photos or Dropbox, and channel his there?

I hope you find a solution that improves things. Hang in there.
posted by conscious matter at 6:36 PM on December 28, 2020

Best answer: To add to what sideshow said, it sounds like you don’t actually have iCloud family set up but instead just have everyone using the same AppleID (otherwise photos wouldn’t be all mixed together in iCloud storage). If you set up an iCloud family you can have shared libraries where you all upload selected photos but otherwise everyone’s stuff is separate. You can also set up parental controls, screen time limits, etc for your child if you’d like.
posted by jshort at 5:34 AM on December 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Following up for posterity: It was absolutely correct that my son's iPad was logged in with my own AppleID. I was able to log that out, log in with his (which conveniently already existed) and happily no new photos taken with that device show up in my photo stream. All of the photos still exist on his device, which makes him happy. I am working through deleting them from mine, which will take some time. So far I have removed more than 12,000 photos and I still have more than 40,000 photos to go through. Fortunately I have learned how to bulk select with a swipe and scroll, so I can mass select in batches until I hit particular ones I want to save. I will just keep plugging away at it in my downtime for a week or two until I have cleaned up my entire stream.

Thank you so much!
posted by Lokheed at 4:57 PM on January 2, 2021

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