iCloud syncing in Photos causing Wi-Fi hangups in OS X 10.10.3

PhotosIconXSome people who have updated their Macs to OS X 10.10.3 are noticing dropouts in Wi-Fi connectivity. While such problems have affected past OS X versions, in these cases often the problems only started after updating to version 10.10.3, and not before. Whenever Wi-Fi problems crop up in OS X, unfortunately there can be a myriad of reasons that might take meticulous troubleshooting to fix; however, one issue that seems common to many affected people is some interference with the iCloud syncing features in Photos.

When you updated your Mac to OS X 10.10.3, you will have installed Apple’s new Photos program that is a replacement to iPhoto and bridges the Photos experience with the Photos experience in iOS. As with the iOS version, this not only manages your photos in a local library, but also syncs them to iCloud, and the way Photos handles them appears to be causing some Wi-Fi connections to be lost.

Unfortunately, this type of issue will likely require a fix from Apple; however, in the mean time you can address it by disabling Photos’ various iCloud-related settings, especially if you keep your photos organized on your system and only use iCloud as a peripheral syncing and sharing service:

  1. Open Photos.
  2. Go to the Photos > Preferences menu.
  3. Go to the iCloud section.
  4. Uncheck iCloud Photo Library

After doing this, see if your Wi-Fi connection becomes more stable. If not, then try unchecking the other options in this preferences setting, including My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing.

Photos iCloud preferences

Uncheck these options in the Photos program’s preferences. Do so systematically and test your Wi-Fi connection to see if it helps your network stability.

4 thoughts on “iCloud syncing in Photos causing Wi-Fi hangups in OS X 10.10.3

  1. Eph Fithian

    I first noticed this while visiting my son in Boulder. His Mac Pro and my MacBook Pro were both uploading photos wildly. I checked his speed and it was 0.1 down and 0.1 up. Not good. You can just turn off the photo uploading for a day in prefs, or shut the Mac down. There is an app that can help control the situation. It is located in Developer/Applications/Utilities after installing Xcode. The app is Network Line Conditioner which is a prefPane, so it will show up in System Prefs once it is run. I am running it on the MacBook Pro, which still has a ways to go with Photos. I created a custom profile with name iCloud Photo, and settings are Downlink Bandwidth = 70 Mbps, Uplink Bandwidth = 2 Mbps, everything else 0. It can be started from an icon at the top of the screen or in System Prefs. It solves the problem until Apple gets around to it.

  2. Will Mayall

    I don’t think the issue is specific to WiFi. I wrote the following to work around the issue until Apple fixes it. It certainly works for me:


  3. tmaraccini

    This behavior got me too. I had to finally shut the function off as you suggest. Apple can sometimes be rather greedy with your bandwidth.

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