14 Ways to Fix iCloud Photos Not Syncing on Mac

Xiaobai Software  2023-09-25 18: 07  read 90 views

Do all of your Apple devices except Mac sync photos via iCloud?This is really annoying.There are many reasons for this, such as incorrect settings configuration, errors or glitches, corrupted photo library, etc.


So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how to solve the problem of iCloud photos not syncing on Mac.

1. Check synchronization status

If photos and videos on your Mac can't sync to iCloud Photos, don't turn it off yet.The best way to troubleshoot is to check the status information in the Photos app.


To check, open the Photos app and select "Library" from the sidebar.Select the "All Photos" tab from the top.Scroll to the bottom to view iCloud sync status.You might see "Waiting for sync" here, which indicates you don't have an active internet connection, or "Upload to iCloud paused" if you lose your connection midway.

2. Activate iCloud Photos

If you've just finished setting up your Mac, your photos won't sync unless you activate iCloud Photos.Here's how to activate:

1. Open the Photos app.

2. Select Photos > Settings from the menu bar.

3. Switch to the iCloud tab and select the checkbox next to iCloud Photos.


You can then toggle between the sub-options "Download original files to this Mac" and "Optimize Mac storage."The former option downloads all original copies of your photo library to your Mac, while the latter option uses low-resolution placeholders to save disk space.Syncing your iCloud Photo Library to your Mac for the first time may take some time, so don't expect your pictures to appear right away.

You can also disable and re-enable iCloud Photos to force Photos to sync pictures to iCloud.The process is the same as above.

3. Check your Apple ID

Do you use multiple Apple accounts?It's a good idea to make sure you're logged into your Mac with the same account you use on the other devices you want to sync photos with.

To do this, go to Apple Menu > System Settings from the menu bar.Click the Apple ID name at the top to see if the email address matches the one on the other device.You can also scroll down to the bottom of this menu to see a list of devices using that account.

On your iOS or iPadOS device, open the "Settings" app, click "Profile" and display your Apple ID.

If you're already signed in with another Apple ID on your Mac, scroll to the bottom and click Sign Out.Then, sign in again with the same Apple ID you use on other devices.

4. Force quit the Photos app

Sometimes the Photos app on macOS stops syncing for no apparent reason.Force quitting the app and reopening it often helps resolve this issue.The specific method is as follows:

1. Click the Apple menu and select Force Quit.

2. Select the photo and click Force Quit.

3. Relaunch the Photos app from the Dock or Launchpad and see if it starts syncing photos again.


You can also press Command + Option + Esc to enter this window.

5. Check network connection

You need an Internet connection to sync photos and videos to Apple's cloud servers and download iCloud files to your device.Therefore, if you see a "Waiting for sync" status message in the Photos app, make sure your device has a stable Internet connection before resuming iCloud sync.

To check if you're still connected to the Internet, open Safari or another browser and try to load a web page, as it's possible that your Mac is connected to a WLAN but doesn't have an Internet connection.

6. Turn off low power mode

Low power mode could be another potential reason why your Mac cannot sync iCloud photos.Low Power Mode reduces your Mac's energy consumption and minimizes background activity, including iCloud syncing.If you see a "Low Power Mode" status message in your photos, click "Sync Now" next to it to resume syncing within an hour.


Alternatively, you can turn off Low Power Mode by going into System Settings and selecting Battery from the sidebar.Select the appropriate option in the drop-down menu next to Low Power Mode.

7. Charge your device

In addition to Low Power Mode, Mac will also shut down background activities, such as iCloud sync, if the device is low on power.

You might see a "Saving battery power" sync status message in Photos, or see it stuck on a "Syncing [amount] items to or with iCloud" status message.If so, plug your Mac into a power source before resuming sync.

8. Check iCloud system status


It's also a good idea to confirm that there aren't any issues with iCloud Photos on the server side.To do this, open Apple system statuspage to check the status next to the photo.If you see any issues listed, you'll need to wait until Apple fixes them.

9. Restart your Mac


Restarting your Mac can resolve random application and network-related issues.If you haven't restarted yet, open the Apple menu and select "Restart."Before clicking "Restart" again, uncheck the "Open window on relogin" checkbox.

10. Free up some storage space

If your Mac is running out of storage space, freeing up some space in macOS may allow photos stored on iCloud to sync properly again.

The "Storage" section in System Settings is a good place to start.Go to System Settings > General > Storage and review the items listed under Recommendations before delving into the storage categories on the sidebar.


However, if photos stored on your Mac are not syncing to iCloud, you may also want to check your iCloud storage by going to System Settings > [your name] > iCloud and clicking Manage at the top.You can delete old backups and other app data from here, or upgrade your iCloud storage plan if needed.

11. Clear DNS cache


A corrupt or outdated DNS (Domain Name Service) cache can prevent your Mac from connecting to Apple's iCloud servers.Thankfully, deleting the DNS cache will force your Mac to resolve every URL from scratch.Here's how to delete it:

1. Use Spotlight Search (Command + Spacebar) to launch the Terminal application on your Mac.

2. Type this command: sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

3. Press the return key.

12. Repair photo library


If none of the above solutions help, then it’s time to fix the underlying error in your photo library.Apple's Photos app can detect and correct these errors on its own.However, you can also fix it manually by following these steps:

1. Exit the Photos application.If the application freezes, force quit.

2. Press the Option key and the Command key simultaneously, and then double-click the photo icon on the Dock or Launchpad.

3. Select "Repair" in the screen that appears.

Depending on the size of your library, the Photos app may take a while to repair.Please check to see if photos sync starts later.

13. Delete synchronization index


You can also try deleting the index file that saves the synchronized data of the Photos app.This will cause your Mac to sync your entire photo library from scratch.If you want to do this, here's how:

1. Exit the Photos application.

2. Click Go > Go to Folder in the menu bar.Enter a picture and click on the result to go to the pictures folder.

3. Control-click the photo library file and select Show Package Contents.

4. Go to the folder labeled resources > cpl > CloudSync.noindex.

5. Delete all files in the CloudSync.noindex folder.

Now, just restart the Photos app and your entire library will be synced again.

14. Update macOS


Updating your Mac's operating system can help reduce problems caused by bad instances of photo application software.If iCloud photos are still not synced, please try to update by entering "System Settings" > "General" > "Software Update".If a new macOS version is available, click Update Now.

Let the Photos app on Mac start syncing again

The fixes above should help you get the Photos app to sync pictures on your Mac as usual.If you encounter the same problem again, make sure to use some of the quick fixes above again.

For example, force quitting Photos, restarting your Mac, or repairing your Photos Library will get things moving in the right direction in most cases.

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