How do you Mylio? - Family photo library

Shortly after Grace and I got together 10+ years ago, I wanted to sort the myriad of photos we were taking at the time on compact cameras and early phones (wow the quality was bad comparatively to today!) Over the years the quality and the volume of photos has increased, and now videos are common place, so the problem has only got bigger.

I have tried Apple Photos, Google Photos, Lightroom and probably others over the years, they all have pros and cons. Very simply (I can give more detail if interested) I am not a super photo editor which was Lightroom’s USP, and Google/Apple Photos are good but proprietary which locks up your photos in their systems in a way that does concern me with regards risk and future portability perspective. Apple Photos has been off and on my main library over the years, as I have a couple of Macs, iPhones and iPads in the household so the ease is hard to resist, from a personal perspective. However the big draw back of Apple Photos (a pro of Mylio, among many) is the ease of sharing (the whole library) between family members.

So in summary, a single library which takes photos/videos from both my phone and my partners, including Face Tagging (including manual tagging of the backs of heads and pets, which doesn’t work in Google Photos), Albums, and GPS. That is easily accessible from multiple people’s devices with the same user experience for either person.

Main Vault and external USB hard drive which is a backup vault

This is also backed up using Backblaze for additional protection, and TimeMachine for belt/braces. I lost photos from within Apple Photos a few years ago without knowing, and I only noticed after the 30d recovery time of Backblaze, so thought multiple options would help protect me (hopefully) from this happening again

iPhone (mine and Grace’s)
Main creator’s of content

Viewers, taggers and editors of the library

Photo Curation
The element I miss from having my photos in Apple Photos is the curation facility, where it randomly surfaces videos of photos a year ago today, or just randomly. So I use Google Backup and Sync to copy all my photos from my iMac (continuously in the background) and uploads them to the free tier of Google Photos which gives me the above facility with no additional effort.

Digital Photo frame
I also have a Nixplay Digital Photo frame which I received for Christmas a few years ago. Its a great device with loads of capacity, however it always requires manual choosing and uploading of photos so often becomes stale as I run out of time. However in the last few days, I have started the above Google sync and you can connect this frame to Google Photos and ask it to surface specific events or albums, but also (which I have selected) the last 1000 photos. This is brilliant!

Therefore I get photos from our phones, into Mylio, I organise it and it also then automatically appears on my digital photo frame without any additional effort apart from getting it into Mylio! Superb in my mind

Obviously the photos are 99% of the time created on our iPhones, occasionally on someone else’s if we are on holiday with them and if we are away with the parents in law then they use an SLR so memory card imports are sometimes required.

From Grace’s iPhone I select the photos/videos that I want to add to the family album, and using the sharing menu, share to Mylio and after a little “preparing” from Apple, a banner comes up and its partially on its way to Mylio. Open Mylio app, and the photos/videos are synchronised to the vault on my iMac. I check progress in the dashboard on my iPhone, and then close Mylio once done. I leave the photos in her camera roll, as she keeps whatever she wants in her camera roll, I leave that up to her as its her phone. Then open Mylio on my phone, or my Mac to add those photos to albums, check GPS and face tagging on all the items.

From my iPhone, I do a similar process to the above. Except I immediately do the face/gps/album work, and also delete them from my iPhone camera roll so that is empty except for items that I haven’t put into Mylio yet.

From other people’s phones I try to get them to AirDrop them to me, so it preserves the date/time/gps elements, if they share via Apple Photos shared album or any other facility it often loses all of that which is painful to recreate

New workflow (experimental)
With the latest release of Mylio, I have connected my Apple Photos on my iPhone direct to Mylio so it directly imports. Then I add them to an album, face tag and the move them from the Apple Photos directly into my main Mylio directory, and delete them from my iPhone’s camera roll. This has mainly been done to preserve the Live Photo’s, I’m not sure it is a faster process yet.

I have not changed to this method on Grace’s phone to date, as I’m concerned that the thousands of photos she has in her camera roll / iCloud which largely would already be in Mylio, would then get re-imported which would just be a waste of resources. I might attempt but I’m nervous that this might give me Live Photos and might help with some of the process, but think it might also hinder so I’m on the fence.

UPDATE 29/4/20: So far so good with Apple Photos integration on my phone, so I have setup Grace’s phone using that as well. As there is an integration between Photos and Mylio but what I would call a soft link I have now setup quite a nice workflow with her phone. I did the above process to catch up on her photos then setup the Apple Photos integration and deleted everything in Mylio that it imported from her phone (as already in the family album) and now I have just said to her to launch Mylio and do the update sync then she can close it. I can then go through at my leisure and file/tag etc the pictures on one of my computers. Works really well, and I’m really really please so far! Thank you


@matherton Hi love this workflow I love the way you have explained all the points you have and the pains. I was particularly interested in you usage of a digital frame and wondered if you see a future for this. I am planning to build a digital wall for my dining room. This would be 12 screens with two main displays 24” all others are 7” - 15”. I picture having a feed to all these from an album chosen on the main screens. Playing with Raspberry Pi or third party displays like Momentto. Budget and functionality is the primary issue.

Also you’re nervous adding your wife’s phone as to not break or have duplicates in Mylio is similar to myself and how I have years and 1.9 TB of photos. So much so I have imported the raw files from all my Aperture library’s to re sort and re edit. If I had a library that helped sort the duplicates I would have loved that.

9 months in and the sync’s from Apple photos, both my own and my wife’s are superb and flawless.

When I have synced mine and her photos into Mylio itself, it goes into a separate folder in Mylio called Apple Photos and under there are 2 folders, one for each of our devices. I go into each folder, ensure there is GPS and date/time on them all. Then I face tag them, add them to specific Mylio photos albums and then move them from the Apple Photos folder, into the main Mylio Pictures folder.

I always do my photos first, and then do my wife’s and then I can delete any photos from her folder in Mylio before adding to the main Mylio Pictures folder (which is the only location Google Backup and Sync looks up). Therefore preventing duplicates in my Mylio album, and also my Google Photos album for the photo frames.

I’m incredibly happy, and as above, 9 months in, no issues at all with the syncing process from Mylio. Its exceptionally robust in my experience.

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