Every Day Photo Library Housekeeping and Downsizing in 2020


I take a lot of photos. Currently in my iCloud Photo Library, there are 236,167 images, 6,429 videos and 8 items. And I’m running out of cloud storage.

While Apple has made major improvements in Photos and the iCloud Photo Library in recent years, such a large photo library is difficult to manage. It takes what seems like months to have the library scanned for faces and items.

For years, I’ve tried to bring the size down. There are apps that scan for duplicates and similar images, but they haven’t really worked well with a library of my size in the cloud.

Over Thanksgiving, I set up a new MacBook Air for my Dad. In Photos, I saw how beautiful the app is when there’s a more curated library there.

Photos has become the dumping ground for all of my images in the past decade. I want it more like a curated photo album that is more enjoyable to browse and use.

So in 2020, I’m embarking on a goal to downsize my library one day at a time, and you can too.

Each day, I’m going to look at all of my images that were taken on the day, delete duplicates, export similar photos, and make my library more manageable and enjoyable.

Every Day Photo Housekeeping

Find today’s photos

  • Tap the search icon in the lower right corner of Photos on iOS or the upper right corner on MacOS.
  • Type in the day’s date.
  • Select the date in the drop down menu. You will see a box surround it.
  • Below that, you will see how many photos were taken on that day. Tap See All” to the right of it.
  • There’s all the photos from the specific day over the years.

Select the ones you want to delete or export

After having all the photos, I scroll through looking first for duplicates and selecting them. I delete those.

Then, I’ll look for similar shots, selecting all but the ones I want to keep. Blurry and rapid shots are selected. I add those to an album called January Export and Delete.”

At the end of the month, on my Mac, I’ll export the originals to a folder in Dropbox and delete the images from Photos.

Reflect, share, make albums

When looking through these photos, I’ve found it’s a good time to reflect, edit and share memories from the past. I’m planning on adding older images to my Day One journal and also share some with friends and family.

While the automatic album and Memories feature is great on Photos, I’m planning to use this audit as a time to make my own, curated galleries of events, trips and people. There’s something about handcrafted galleries that I really like and want to have more of in my digital life.

Going forward

It’s one thing to clean house, but another one to keep it clean. I’m planning on doing weekly reviews of my Photo Library going forward and do the same things I’ve done each day.

I’ve done this on and off over the past couple years, but am going to do it for the whole of 2020. If I miss a day, I’ll make sure to come back and knock it out. I’m going to make a mega project in Things to keep track of each day of the year.

December 13, 2019