How to Fix OS X Photo Sync Issues

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

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

The new app is an improvement over iPhoto, but not just an updated version of iPhoto. It is completely new software that comes with a host of new features such as editing photos and even ordering photo prints directly from the app.

A big new feature is iCloud Photo Library, which allows users to sync their photos to Apple devices or even iCloud so that they can be accessed online in any web browser. This will automatically sync photos you take on your iPhone to your Mac; this is a useful feature that you should definitely have.

That said, it’s only great when it works properly, and me and other users have been having sync issues with the new Photos app recently, which isn’t too surprising as it’s a brand new app – there’s probably still a lot of twists to be worked out.

In any case, if you’re having sync issues with the OS X Photos app, here are some things you can do to try and fix it.

Fixing OS X Photo Sync Issues

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

Open the app on your iPhone and tap on it. At the top, make sure it’s on, which will be indicated by a green toggle switch. This means it’s on. If not, just tap the toggle switch on the right to turn on iCloud Photo Library.


You also need to make sure it’s turned on on your Mac. Open the Photos app, go to the menu bar in the upper left corner and click the icon. From there, click on the iCloud tab at the top and then make sure it’s checked.

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At this point, syncing between your iPhone and Mac should happen, and if you want other Apple devices to take action, simply enable iCloud Photo Library on those devices.


After doing that and the photos still aren’t syncing properly (i.e. the photos you took on your iPhone aren’t showing up in the Photos Mac app), there are a few things you can do.

First, closing and reopening the Photos app on your Mac might work. This is the most basic fix available, but if that still doesn’t work, I’ve noticed that restarting your Mac will fix it completely. You can also try disabling and re-enabling iCloud Photo Library on devices that are experiencing syncing issues, but even then I recommend restarting.

Most of the time, I’ve noticed that the problem is usually with the Photos Mac app, so it’s mostly the Mac that needs a reboot or fix for it to work. However, it never hurts to disable and re-enable iCloud Photo Library in Settings, in addition to closing and reopening the Photos app on your iPhone. You can also restart your iPhone if you are having sync issues on this end.

One thing to be aware of is that it may take some time for photos to sync with the Photos app on Mac even if you have a fast internet connection. It seems to be a bug in the app, which isn’t too surprising because I’ve come across a few of them while using the app. Most of the time, a simple reboot will fix problems temporarily, but hopefully Apple will fix the Photos app issues in the next OS X update.

Moyens Staff
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