From the first instalment of the promising new “Bad Apple” column at TidBITS, “iCloud Photo Library Re-uploading”:
It turns out that there are quite a few actions that can cause your entire Photos library to be re-uploaded to iCloud…
Which is really a problem if you have a big-ass photo library. Which I do (about 130GB). And so this is a major reason I still won’t use iCloud Photo Library, despite many attractive features.
It’s also an excellent example of why Apple is still justly perceived as being a bit amateurish with cloud services. This is not a problem because it’s a “hard problem.” It’s not the mind-boggling scale of Apple’s cloud services. This is just a straightforward lack of user experience polish, a failure to sweat the details… for three years and counting.
One more thing…
Closely related in spirit, iCloud Photo Library is supposed to save space on space-constrained devices by uploading full resolution photos to iCloud, but it does not do this proactively as you are filling up the last of your space, and doesn’t even do it reactively when you are entirely out. It also perversely assumes that you want to use every byte of space you have and there’s no way to limit that without ridiculous hacks. Great John Siracusa rant about this: Accidental Tech Podcast #251, “John’s phone is full.”
As with so many of these problems, these limitations were forgivable at first, but IPL has been out in the wild for ages now, and it’s still just as dumb about this as the day it was launched. It makes a very clear promise to solve a problem, and then simply just breaks it. Bad apple!