Best method of importing Apple Photos

I had been importing my Apple Photos from my iPhone and unfortunately also from my iPad so I have tons of duplicates. So I decided to stop importing from my IOS devices altogether and now import from my iMac’s Apple Photos.

I am finding that it takes a lot longer for my images to show up in Mylio this way. Does anyone else find this to be true? Is it better to just have Mylio import from your iPhone?

It sounds like you’re using both Mylio and iCloud photo library on your devices, which tends to creates the issues you’re referring to: either duplicates (because iCloud is syncing photos from your devices) or unpredictability (because your iMac Photos library might not actually have the files locally - Mylio can not retrieve originals from iCloud).

Few ways you can proceed:

1 - stop using iCloud Photo library and let Mylio be the only syncing mechanism
2 - Choose to only import into Mylio from your Phone, and add other photo sources (like cameras or scans) directly into Mylio (in other words, don’t use Apple Photos on your iMac with Mylio)
3 - What you did, which is only sync with your iMac Apple Photos library, but turn the Download originals to this Mac option on in your Apple Photos preferences (this will start putting originals in your Apple Photos library which is typically stored in your internal drive, so thread carefully there as you might start filling up your drive).

I personally use option 1 and don’t rely on iCloud for any of my photos, it works really well. Still use iCloud for document or other files.

Feel free to email if you’d like help setting up any of the above scenarios.

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How do you use option 1 and add your iPhone images to Mylio, if you don’t sync with iCloud or Apple Photos? I use my iPhone as my camera for most of my photos these days. Eventually, I plan on having all my old paper photos digitized and added once I get Mylio under control.

You simply install Mylio on your phone and sign in with the same account as Mylio on your computer. Anytime Mylio is running on both your computer and your phone it will synchronize the photos across both devices. WIth this setup is important that you have one ro more vaults (home for originals) set up in Mylio since you won’t be backing up to iCloud anymore. But if you’re planning on adding all your old paper photos anyway, iCloud would possibly run out of room anyway, so you’d need to store your images elsewhere.

Feel free to PM me if you need specific help. I’d be happy to do a 1:1 session over zoom and make sure you’re optimally set up for what you’re trying to accomplish.


Hi J.C.,

Wow, I didn’t realize I was emailing THE J.C. Figueroa! I have found your Webinars very helpful, thank you. I will take you up on that offer. However, I just had my second covid vaccine, so I am not running on full strength yet, but I will get back to you when I am a little more up to it.


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Just message anytime. Feel better soon.

I have recently started doing this with a OnePlus [Android] phone. It works well, as I use this as my most carried camera. It puts photos into an Inbox folder. Inbox appeared on one drive of originals but not the other. Do I need to categorize Inbox photos myself?


Hi Lee – that seems a bit odd. Photos from an Android phone’s cameral roll should be going into the Android Photos → [yourdevicename] folder. Inbox folder is for photos that you manually share to Mylio from an App (like your texting app or something like WhatsApp).

I’d suggest you email from the app (this will send in your system logs) so they can take a look and help you correct the setup if needed.

Do you have an ‘Android Photos’ folder on each of your drives?

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Thanks for the reply.

I thought it was odd, too, as it hadn’t happened before! I had to wipe/reinstall my phone [for other reasons] and…

I now see the directories ‘Android Photos/OnePlus7 Pro Library’ in the ‘Mylio_xxxx’ folder. Inbox is at the same directory level as Android Photos. I haven’t done this and don’t really want every phone photo to appear in Mylio! The source directories are not like this, as I edit/cull pictures before they go into Mylio.

I put Mylio on my phone for one main reason: to put recent photos directly into Mylio without a whole sync/backup copy operation. I do the backup maybe once a month to a NAS. Mylio takes historical images from an edited copy of this source. Hence my question about Inbox!


It looks like Inbox contains only photos that I share with Mylio but ‘Android Photos/OnePlus7 Pro Library’ contains everything. I did not add this as a source directory and I have removed it [as a source].

Hi JC,

If you are still up for the 1:1 session I’d like to finally take you up on it. I want to re-set syncing Apple Photos using your option 1, rather than from my iMac’s Apple Photos. Mylio sync does not appear to be working on my Mac anyway. Apple Photos and Mylio don’t appear to have synced in a while.

When I switched the sync from iPhone to iMac, it created a lot of duplicates. I am hoping not to create more duplicates when I switch to using your option 1. I already had a lot of duplicates. Out of the 185,477 media in my Mylio, a good 2/3 are duplicates. I have tried dealing with them with 3rd party Apps to mostly bad results. I can’t wait for Mylio Duplicates function to be available.

I am on East Coast Time and available pretty much anytime except this Wednesday.

Thanks again,

Hi Peter - happy to help. Send me an email to and we’ll get something scheduled.

Is there a support document that explains how to implement each of these scenarios - including the tradeoffs of each?

I’m mostly a Windows house but we do use iPhones to take pictures. I think option 1 sounds pretty great but are there reasons to consider the other options?

We travel quite a bit so like the idea of cloud back up of new photos until I can plug the phones into a vault for syncing. I’m not sure what my Mylio and iPhone settings should be - do I just turn off iCloud? I assume I need to turn on “download” originals and turn off “maximize storage” options in Photo settings on our iPhones . . . although, shouldn’t my original already be on my iPhone since I used it to take the pictures in the first place? And when I plug in my iPhone to my vaulted Windows machine and open Mylio (on both devices?), I assume I need to tell the software to delete after importing but that sounds really scary to an Apple newbie like myself. Sorry for all the questions. But it would be awesome to have a support document that generally lays out various scenarios: e.g. turn off iCloud but know that if you break your phone before you sync to Mylio, the photos will be lost; or what does it mean “don’t use Apple Photos on your iMac” when you are a Windows user.

Sorry for all the questions. I love Mylio for its platform independence. Just not a very sophisticated Apple user. Thanks!

This Support Article is the closest thing to what you’re asking for. However likely will not answer all your questions because of the many variables you’re considering.

I’ll try to break down the most important factors:
• You case is slightly simpler because you’re using Windows so there’s no duplicate Apple Photos libraries being created by iCloud (UNLESS you have multiple iphones/ipads on the same Apple account)
• iCloud Photos on your phone attempts to intelligently move your originals to the cloud and keep more local storage on your device free. It does this more aggressively as your available local storage diminishes.
• Mylio (nor any other third-party app) can access files directly on iCloud. So YES you have to turn on the “download originals” option on your iPhone so the photos remain locally available - otherwise Mylio can’t sync them.
• If you do have multiple devices sharing an iCloud account, they can all be on your Mylio account, but only one fo them need to import its camera roll to Mylio. For example, you have an iPhone and a iPad on the same iCloud account. You take photos with both, and both are synchronized by iCloud Photos - meaning photos you take on the iPad appear on the iPhone and vice-versa. In that scenario, Mylio can be installed on both devices, but only one of them (say the iPhone) should be automatically importing photos to Mylio (Settings → Import).
• In the scenario above, only the iPhone would need to “Download all Photos” from iCloud and it could also be set for Mylio to “Free up space” after a photo has been saved to a vault. So your sync would look like this:

— New photo on iPhone or iPad gets sync to iCloud.
— iPhone Downloads new photo locally
— Photo gets synced to Mylio from the iPhone
— Original version of the photo is now in Vault - Mylio removes the file from the iPhone camera roll. File gets deleted on both iCloud and iPad
— Optimized version of the file is still available in both devices inside Mylio app (and original is still protected in Vault)

Hope that make sense, do let me know if you need further info or help

It seems this could be a good subject for a Webinar where we discuss all the possible interactions between Apple Photos/iCloud Photos and their ramifications.


Thank you so much for the help! Yes, it all makes sense. And your email is sort of what I was hoping to find in a support document. I know the “correct” answer for every customer is going to depend on the myriad number of possible configurations of devices and software. But this is still helpful as a basic guide. You should put this answer on the public board for others with the same question AND do a webinar/support document. (Webinars have been fantastic by the way!)

A clarification then: the images from my iPhone that are currently “in” Mylio must NOT be “originals” correct? I’ve been uploading automatically to iCloud and NOT downloading originals to the iPhone. When I added my iPhone as a device to Mylio and files were copied over – Mylio must have imported “preview quality” files. When I change the settings on my iPhone, will Mylio re-import the larger files automatically? And if yes, I assume they’ll be duplicates and I’ll need to delete the smaller files.

And question: I’m paranoid about losing images between taking them and syncing them. Did I read that one Mylio user changes settings: while out in the field taking pictures, he/she backs up to iCloud. Then before plugging into a vaulted Mylio device, changes the setting to “download”, and lets Mylio “free up space” at the end of a sync. Unplugs iPhone, changes setting back to backing up to iCloud before taking more photos. Is this a clunky (but actually the only real way) to make sure every photo makes it to Mylio?

Thank you again for your help!


Hi Karen,

The “Device Quality” settings in Mylio do not affect how iCloud works. If you have iCloud set to “download photos” then the original photo will be locally in your phone camera roll regardless of what “device quality” setting you have in Mylio. The “Free space on this device setting” will however delete originals from your camera roll and thus from iCloud.

Your iPhone’s “Device Quality” setting is likely set to “Auto-Optimize” as such, what Mylio will do is copy any Original photo from the phone camera roll into your vault and place an optimize version (either a Preview or Thumbnail version) in Mylio on the phone.

If the original photo is only on iCloud and not on your Phone then Mylio simply will not import that photo until the Original is locally in the device.

Hope that clarifies your questions.

JC, I use my iMac and a laptop as a vault. I also synch to my iphone and ipad. I looked at the settings on my various devices, and found on the non-vault iphone and ipad, the Free up space on this device says Myllio is not currently authorized to access my media. Before I grant authorization, I want to understand what is going to happen.

Also, I do not see this menu choice on the two vault deivces. that makes sense, but where in the menu would it be found if these were not vaults?

If you haven’t already, please check out the two support articles below. Basically turning on that feature will enable Mylio to delete any media from your camera roll that has been saved to a vault. It also gives options for how often to delete and how long to wait (until media is 30 or 60 days old for example).

Only iOS or Android mobile devices get the setting for "Free up space . . . " since they’re the only devices that have a camera roll built-in. Computers and Vaults do not have that feature because is not needed. You can, however, clear the cache on any device that is not a vault if you’re trying to free up some space.