iCloud Photos & Photos for macOS Are Dumb

Apple would very much like its users to stay in its ecosystem. “It just works”, they claim, except of course it doesn’t!

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the Photos app on my MacBook Pro (MBP) was no longer syncing properly with iCloud Photos. Some of my more recent pictures were missing. I tried a few solutions suggested by the ever-helpful Google, but none of them worked. All I can see is a message saying it is updating my pictures, but none of the said pictures have actually appeared on my MBP.

To make matters worse, recently I tried to edit some pictures on my MBP. After marking about 40 or so pictures as favourites, I AirDropped them onto my MBP and imported them into Photos. Why go through all the trouble of AirDropping and importing, you may ask? Well, because Photos refuses to update my library properly and has been stuck in limbo for the last few weeks (see above paragraph).

Anyway, after making some edits on the photos, I tried to export them to the Desktop. That was when my troubles really started. For some inexplicable reason, a few of the photos could not be exported, no matter what I tried. Other photos taken with the same camera (my iPhone) at the same time and setting were OK, so I have no idea why these photos generated errors.

Breathe in…breathe out…

I still wanted to keep the edited photos though so I AirDropped them back to my iPhone. To my horror, iCloud Photos decided that these were the same pictures as the original ones (despite the edits I’ve made) and ‘helpfully’ replaced the original versions with the edited ones. Excellent, my photo library is now a mess. Gee, ‘thanks’ iCloud Photos!

To say that I’m annoyed at this would be an understatement. I’ve decided not to put up with the stupidity that is iCloud Photos any further. Nor am I going to torture myself any longer with Photos for macOS, possibly the dumbest app in existence!

And so, the search begins for a better photo management workflow…

P/S: You can probably tell that this article is a bit of an incoherent rant. But seriously, Apple needs to fix their cloud offering. It’s a big effing mess!


Someone shared with me this story yesterday that moved me deeply; I wish to record it here for posterity. It was originally told to me within an Islamic context but the gist of it, I think, applies to a wider audience. The story goes like this:

A renowned, well-respected, religious scholar died one day and was making his way towards Heaven. Just as he was about to enter Heaven, he was stopped by one of the Guardians, who said:

Guardian: Where are you going?
Scholar: Into Heaven of course!

Guardian: What makes you think you will enter Heaven?
Scholar: I’ve performed many acts of worship throughout my life.
Guardian: Those were performed so that your superiors would notice your piety and elevate you within their ranks. God has no use for them.

Scholar: I’ve written numerous books on religion.
Guardian: Those were done to show how intelligent you were to the public. God has no use for them.

Scholar: I’ve taught countless students in the ways of the religion!
Guardian: Yes, but you only did so because you wanted them to look up to you. These acts won’t be counted amongst your good deeds.

At that point, the scholar had become absolutely terrified, having realised that he was in real danger of being thrown into Hell.

Guardian: But wait, there’s one thing here that may be of use to you.
Scholar: What is it?
Guardian: One day you were walking in the market. You saw a beggar, a little girl dressed in dirty rags, crying out of hunger. You felt some pity in your heart so you gave her an apple. For this act alone, God has forgiven you all your sins because it was done purely out of good intentions, for the sake of God.

The importance of good intentions

One of the most famous hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him) is the first hadith in Imam Nawawi’s collection:

It is narrated on the authority of Amir al-Mu’minin (Leader of the Believers), Abu Hafs ‘Umar bin al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), say

“Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.”

Related by Bukhari & Muslim

For me, this is a timely reminder to reflect upon my intentions as I go through life. Today’s world has elevated narcissism and made it seem normal, acceptable, even desirable.

Watch how every good, pleasurable, act is recorded and shared on social media, in order to show the world what you have done. Gone are the large cheques and ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Those are so quaint! Instead, we have moment-by-moment commentary as the donor is about to hand some money to the recipient, together with a shot of the recipient’s grateful look, all done for the sake of garnering likes and comments on social media.

Today also marks the start of a new year in the Islamic, or Hijri, calendar. As we leave the past year behind and venture forth into the 1st of Muharram 1443, I pray that Allah will keep our hearts pure and sincere. May He forgive us all our sins, increase our faith, and accept all our good deeds.


Months to live

One of the most profound articles I’ve read lately is this one by Jack Thomas at the Boston Globe, sharing his thoughts after receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis.

As the saying goes, fate has dealt me one from the bottom of the deck, and I am now condemned to confront the question that has plagued me for years: How does a person spend what he knows are his final months of life?

Whenever I find myself in yet another social media rabbit hole, chasing endless details about the latest political development, I try to pause, take a breath, and remind myself that many of these things don’t even matter in the long run. I suspect I’m not the only person feeling like this these days.

For me, the most poignant line in the article is this one:

All of us who, like me, are blessed with a pause before death, spend some time reliving the better moments.

I feel like we don’t do enough of this. We, as in, myself included. Too often we rage at our screens, or spends hours absorbed with the details of other people’s lives, while around us our loved ones hover expectantly, waiting for us to tear our gaze from our shiny screens and look instead at the beautiful world around us.

So if you’re reading this, I hope you will join me in setting aside a bit of time to reflect on the better moments in our lives.

Take care.