Photos is an out of control bandwidth hog. When is Apple going to add a tool to let users throttle Photos uploads to iCloud?
Eye on Apple
By Jim Lynch, CIO
I had occasion recently to reupload my photos and videos to iCloud. I had all of them stored on my iMac, so I started the upload knowing it would take a long while to upload about 80 GB worth of stuff. I had forgotten, however, how truly awful Photos is when it comes to Internet connection bandwidth.
In short, Apple’s Photos app is a freaking bandwidth hog!
As soon as I started the upload, Photos basically took over my Internet connection and slowed everything else down to a total crawl. It took forever to load even a simple web page with Photos chugging along, uploading my photos and videos to iCloud.
Frankly, I had forgotten just how annoying Photos is when it comes to this. And to make matters worse, Apple still has not included a way to throttle the upload speed. All you can do is click a ridiculous and useless “Pause for one day” button that makes your upload start from scratch!
It’s just amazing to me that Apple remains blithely clueless or simply doesn’t care about how annoying it is to lose your Internet connection to the bandwidth gluttony of Photos while it uploads to iCloud. This problem should have been fixed a long time ago, but Apple has done nothing to resolve it.
How to stop Photos from clogging up your Mac’s Internet connection
I got so irritated, I started searching for something…anything!….that would give me back the use of my Internet connection while my Photos upload to iCloud completed. Thankfully, some wonderful folks had shared how to regain control of your Internet connection from the Photos app on the Mac.
Here’s how you can do it, but bear in mind you will need an Apple Developer ID to do this since it involves downloading a tool from that site:
1. Download the NLC system preference from the Apple Developer’s site. It is part of the Hardware IO Tools.
2. Install the NLC system preference.
3. Open the NLC system preference and create a new profile.
4. Limit the Uplink speed. I tried both 60% and 80% of my available uplink bandwidth and they seemed to work OK.
5. Set the Downlink limit to something at least close to your ISP’s bandwidth or above.
As an example, let’s say your ISP gives you 30Mbps download and 5Mbps upload. The upload speed is what we are trying to control. I’ve found that 70% works: 5Mbps X 7% = 3.5Mbps. Note that you cannot enter fractional speeds so you’ll need to enter 3500Kbps. The download speed may not be important but you might want to throttle as well. Leave the Packets Dropped and Delays as 0 since those settings simulate errors.
It’s way past time for Apple to let users throttle Photos uploads to iCloud
Once I had the Network Link Conditioner running I was able to use my Internet connection normally while my photos and videos were uploaded to iCloud. But it’s more than a little pathetic that I had to use the NLC in the first place. It should not have been necessary at this point to use it to regain control of my Internet connection.
And what’s worse is that my ability to use NLC was dependent on having an Apple Developer ID. Oh sure, I have one so it wasn’t a problem for me. But what about all the people who don’t have one? What are they supposed to do while Photos brings their Internet connection to a crawl while uploading stuff to iCloud?
Apple is one of the biggest companies in the world, and it ought to be ashamed of itself for not building a tool into Photos to give users the ability to control upload speeds to iCloud. Such a tool should have been included the day Photos was first released for the Mac, but it’s an even more egregious situation since so much time has passed since then.
Come on Apple, get your act together and add a bandwidth control tool to Photos.
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