iCloud Photos slow downloads?



  • Hey guys. I recently decided to do an offline backup of my iCloud photos. The problem is I don't have any local copy yet. So I set the Photos app to Download all photos and using an external hard drive as my target (since my library is apparently 300GB so would not fit on my Mac's internal storage).

    The problem is after running all day (10 hours) it downloaded about 2GB (when I right click and look at the info of the Photos gallery). My internet is 25 mbps, which isn't fast by any means but I thought it can do better than this.

    The external hard drive is an HDD, not an SSD. Speed tests show it can do about 30MB/second.

    Has anyone encountered something like this? And is there a better way to download from iCloud than the Photos app? Browser based download is probably not a good option for this amount of data.

    I am thinking about:

    • Finding some place with a faster internet connection if that's the bottleneck (though I think it's not as my connection can stream movies and seems to be capable of downloading faster than this from other sources) free ringtones

    • Getting an external SSD (if the hard drive is the bottleneck, but 30MB/second should still be fairly good I would think)

    • Installing Windows via Parrallels or something and using the iCloud app on Windows which supports synching. I am on an M1 Mac though and this seems like a very intensive option.
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      Any advice appreciated!


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