One of the biggest features planned for iOS 8 was iCloud Photo Library. When Apple first introduced iOS and the new Photos app in June, they unveiled a new solution to managing multiple photo libraries—this time moving the master library from iPhoto on your Mac into iCloud. Cult of Mac has a great overview of iCloud Photo Library and it's features.
It was an amazing idea. Edits you make on your iPhone appear immediately on your iPad. Deleting blurry or underexposed photos on one device deletes them on all devices. And this includes videos too! And if your device is almost full, Apple showed an option that would keep originals in iCloud and only download a lower resolution reference—customized for each device—dramatically improving storage space for your photos.
Then came Friday, September 12, 2014. Apple completely removed all references to iCloud Photo Library from their website.
Why did Apple decide to pull these details? This left users with many unanswered questions. Was iCloud Photo Library still coming with iOS 8 down the road? Were there features that needed Yosemite in October? Historically, Apple would add a label with a general timeframe: "Coming This Fall." They could have easily done this here.
The only explanations so far are from rumor sites conjecturing their own explanations. Apple has yet to provide any details except for a very subtle line buried deep within in the press release for iOS 8:
In October, SMS Continuity will be available as a free update to iOS 8 and iCloud Photo Library will be available as a beta.
What's even more confusing is that a Google search for "iCloud Photo Library" will return Apple's own page detailing new Photo features in iOS 8—without any mention of the feature. I found that somehow Apple forgot to remove the meta description of the page:
<meta name="Description" content="Every photo, every edit, every album now lives in your iCloud Photo Library, easily viewable and consistent on all your iOS devices. Automatically.
I know when Apple finally releases iCloud Photo Library (hopefully bug free) that it will change how we work with our photos forever—in a good way. I'm not worried that my photos will be leaked or hacked. I just want my photos safe from a backup failure and easier to manage. To me, this is it. I'm definitely looking forward to it's final release—which could be any day now.
PS: As of iOS 8.0.2, iCloud Photo Library shows up in the settings menu, but doesn't activate. It appears that the feature is still waiting for Apple to activate it on their servers.
Posted on Wed, October 1, 2014
by David Chapman filed under