Forum Question: Shouldn’t iCloud Photo Library Mean Same Number Of Photos Across Devices?

I notice that there are 3405 photos on my mac Photos app, but only 3119 photos on my iPhone All Photos, despite turning on ICloud Photo Library. Shouldn’t it be the same across devices? And if I delete a photo in one device, will it instantly disappear on the other?

Comments: 9 Responses to “Shouldn’t iCloud Photo Library Mean Same Number Of Photos Across Devices?”

    4/30/17 @ 11:34 am

    Hard to say. The first thing to do is to log in to, click on the web-based Photos app, and see how many photos are actually in your iCloud library. You can also check this in System Preferences, iCloud, then click the Manage button and look in Photo Library for a number.
    My number varies by only 1 out of 25,000. But when I look on my iPhone, it shows “1 item” in addition to photos and videos, so this one “item” is probably that extra photo. Perhaps it is an image in a special format that I dragged in there, or some other special file that found its way into my library over the last 10 years.
    You can also create a Smart Album in Photos for Mac that is set to “Photo” and “is” and “unable to upload to iCloud Photo Library” to see whether that sheds some light on it.
    I would also suspect things like Photo Stream if you are still using that, or maybe some old photos or videos taken with cameras that used older formats that iCloud doesn’t support. Though I don’t see those in my library, but I don’t store any videos in it.
    It is also possible that some photos or videos are in a format that works fine on a Mac, but not in iOS. So they just don’t get transferred there. But whether or not they are in iCloud is what you should be worried about most.
    With only 3,000 or so photos and nearly a 300 difference, you are probably in a better position to really figure out what may be missing than me with a 25,000 and 1.

    Gary Ward
    5/4/17 @ 11:01 am

    I have iCloud Photo Library and photo stream on, does it make a difference if I close photo stream, does it help with usage if turned off?

    5/4/17 @ 11:02 am

    Gary: Not sure what you are asking. Photo Stream is separate from iCloud Photo Library. You really don’t need Photo Stream if you are using iCloud Photo Library as your photos are already being synced across devices.

    Gary Ward
    5/4/17 @ 11:13 am

    Thanks, Gary, that is what I am wondering do I need or want both on, I’ve read elsewhere to have them both on but do not see the point, also wondering if it helps on raising some storage space if I close photo stream, probably not.

    5/4/17 @ 11:21 am

    Gary: I can’t imagine the use of having Photo Stream on if iCloud Photo Library is on. Perhaps if you aren’t using iCloud Photo Library on your iPhone, but are doing so on your Mac? That may be the case if a pro photographer is using multiple libraries or some such, but then they would most likely be using a dedicated camera, and not their iPhone.

    5/5/17 @ 8:49 pm

    Last week my phone showed 5000 photos when using messenger and Facebook accounts ( importing photos) this week I’m back to the correct number 50,000, when I’m looking to import a pic. Also, because I gave many albums is there a way to arrange albums In My iOS devices… alpha, chrono….?

    5/5/17 @ 11:32 pm

    Pete: There’s no way to arrange your albums. I have a lot too. I simply use the search at the top to find the album I want.

    Gary Ward
    5/9/17 @ 7:56 am

    When I try to turn off photo stream, it comes up with a message that alll your photo stream photos will be deleted, it makes me worried that I may lose some photos that were photo streamed before there was iCloud Photo Library? What should I check to be sure all photos are in the iCloud Photo Library before turning off photo stream? Thanks, Gary

    5/9/17 @ 9:19 am

    Gary: Photo Stream should only store photos for 30 days. So you only have to look and compare the last 30 days. Or, just copy all of those to your iCloud Photo Library and it should not let you copy duplicates. See for details.

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