There is just no sane way to archive iCloud photos on your
Mac once you’ve gone past the baseline 5 GB. None whatsoever.
Photos, like iPhoto before it, remains stubbornly autistic where
it regards managing multiple photo libraries — it’s
possible, but fiddly, error-prone and utterly incomprehensible
to the average user.
And, more to the point, there is no way to move photos directly
from one library to another. This last bit, as far as I’m
concerned, is inexcusable.
Right now, the only sane way to cope seems to setup a smart folder
inside Photos for items older than a given threshold and manually
export (and then delete) originals from that — which renders all
of your nice metadata useless. […]
Apple ought to build in to Photos an archival feature that allowed
me to export items from my iCloud library to an archival one on my
Mac, prompting me to do so upon reaching, say, 75% of my iCloud
capacity (or another set threshold) to make things easier for the
That archival process would create, say, an archive bundle per
year, and copy across all the metadata and album associations
you’ve painstakingly defined in Photos.
You’d then be free to move those around to backup storage at
will, and clicking upon an archive would launch Photos with the
archive temporarily open in the sidebar so you could move things
back and forth.
Carmo makes some good points in this piece, but I think he’s conflating two different issues:
Carmo is focused on #2. I think #1 is the more pressing problem. I bet the number one reason people find they need multiple libraries in Photos is because they’re bumping up against their iCloud storage limit.