Apple has a reputation for being late to the game when it comes to cloud services, and this is painfully evident in their approach to handling photos and videos you take on your iPhone and iPad.
Currently, if you want to store your device’s photos or videos on your Mac, you need to connect your device to your computer and sync them with iPhoto. If you have more than one device or Mac, it quickly becomes a challenge to keep everything in sync.
This will finally change when Apple releases the next round of software updates to its iOS and OS X software, which introduce a new feature called iCloud Photo Library and an iPhoto replacement app called Photos.
With iOS 8.3 and OS X 10.10.3, both due for release within the next month or so, Apple has added the ability to use iCloud Photo Library as the “master” repository for every photo and video you take, regardless of which device or computer you add them to. Snap some photos on your iPhone, and they’ll automatically be sent to iCloud. Take out your iPad and scroll through your photos, and those snapshots will be there. Ditto your Mac.
It works in both directions from all of your computers and devices. With iCloud Photo Library enabled, there’s no longer the concept of having photos on one device or another– everything is always everywhere.
While this feature has been a long time coming, the wait has been worth it. I’ve been using beta versions of this functionality for the past couple of months, and it works seamlessly, as expected. The whole process is transparent and fast, and Apple has some intelligent options that let you specify things like whether or not you want to store high-resolution versions of your images on all of your devices, or just low-res files that will update themselves to high-res when viewed, to save space. The cloud always stores the master file.
For more information about iCloud Photo Library and the new Mac Photos app that provides this functionality on computers, check this out.