Connect with us


How to Fix OS X Photo Syncing Problems



If you’re having issues getting your photos to sync across your multiple Apple devices, especially on your Mac, here’s how to fix photo syncing problems with the OS X Photos app.

OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 was released back in April, and with it came the new Photos app for Mac, which replaces iPhoto and Aperture in favor of a photo-management app that’s fairly similar to the Photos app on iOS.

The new app is an improvement over iPhoto, but it isn’t just an updated version of iPhoto either. It’s an all-new piece of software that comes with a handful of new features, such as the ability to edit photos and even order photo prints right from the app.

One big new feature is iCloud Photo Library, which allows users to sync their photos across their Apple devices and even with iCloud so that they can access their photos online in any web browser. This allows photos that you capture on your iPhone to be automatically synced to your Mac, which is a handy feature to have for sure.


However, it’s only great when it works properly, and myself and other users have been experiencing syncing problems with the new Photos app as of lately, which isn’t too surprising since it’s a brand-new app — many of the kinks most likely still need to be worked out.

In any case, if you’ve been experiencing syncing problems with the OS X Photos app, here are some things you can do to try and fix it.

Fixing OS X Photo Syncing Problems

The first thing you’ll want to do when diagnosing syncing problems with the Photos app on your Mac is to make sure that the syncing features are turned on in the first place.

On your iPhone, open up the Settings app and tap on Photos & Camera. At the very top, make sure that iCloud Photo Library is turned on, which will be indicated by a green toggle switch. This means it’s turned on. If not, simply tap on the toggle switch to the right to turn iCloud Photo Library on.


You’ll also need to make sure that it’s turned on on your Mac. Open up the Photos app, go up to the menu bar in the upper-left corner and click on Photos > Preferences. From there, click on the iCloud tab at the top and then make sure iCloud Photo Library is checkmarked.

At that point, syncing should occur between your iPhone and Mac, and if you want any other Apple devices to get in on the action, just enable iCloud Photo Library on those devices.


If after you have done this and photos still aren’t syncing properly (i.e., photos that you took on your iPhone aren’t popping up in the Photos Mac app) then there are a couple of things you can do.

First off, closing the Photos app on your Mac and re-opening may do the trick. That’s the most basic fix there is, but if that still doesn’t work, I’ve noticed that restarting your Mac will fix it for good. You can also even try disabling and re-enabling iCloud Photo Library on the devices that are having issues syncing, but even then I would recommend doing a restart.

Most of the time, I’ve noticed that the issue is usually with the Photos Mac app, so it’s mostly the Mac that needs rebooted or tinkered with to get it to work. However, it never hurts to close out the Photos app on your iPhone and opening it back up, as well as disabling and re-enabling iCloud Photo Library in the Settings. You can also reboot your iPhone if you’re having syncing issues on that end.

One thing to be aware of is that photos can take awhile to sync to the Photos app on Mac, even if you have a fast internet connection. It looks to be a bug in the app, which isn’t too surprising since I’ve come across several already while using the app. Most of the time, a simple reboot will temporarily fix any issues, but hopefully Apple addresses any problems with the Photos app in the next OS X update.



  1. Dave

    07/20/2015 at 1:00 pm

    MuSt have worked at Microsoft… Reboot!

  2. Lassard Mahoney (nuppeppopotamus)

    01/22/2016 at 1:03 pm

    This article will lead those otherwise ignorant of the subject to believe that activating iCloud Photo Library is the way to sync photos across Apple devices. For people who don’t want to have to pay to increase their iCloud storage space or otherwise don’t want all of the photos they take to go to the cloud, the way to sync Apple devices’ photo libraries is to check the My Photo Stream box in the iCloud settings area. (The author’s box is notably not checked in the image above, suggesting that he may be unaware of this option.) With My Photo Stream active on one’s devices, all photos from all devices are synced to all other devices associated with the same Apple ID.

  3. David D

    12/18/2017 at 10:33 am

    I sync via USB or WiFi between my Macbook (2016) and iOS (iPad Pro and iPhone 8+) and it is a disaster of epic proportions. Many albums sync only partially and other albums sync pictures that are no longer in the albums. Every time you sync, a different number of pictures move over (most of my interest is to copy selected albums from my Mac to my mobile devices. Completely unreliable and unpredictable. No one at Apple has been able to explain or fix. Looking to move my whole environment to Google. Any recent experience? Any watch outs?

    • David D

      12/18/2017 at 10:33 am

      p.s. I have done the usual stuff like “repair library” and restarts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.