iPhotoSync: a review

| Monday, November 29th, 2010

What’s a key feature missing from iPhoto that is used in a multi-Mac house?  The ability to sync your iPhoto library with other Macs in your house.  Sure, you can share out your library, but you can’t sync it.  Or, you can take the time to copy your uploaded photos from your Mac to everyone else’s iPhoto Library.  With the release of iPhoto ’11, I was hoping that Apple would have instituted a Home Sharing feature like in iTunes.  Alas, Apple did not, and I was still left moving photos from one iPhoto library to another.

Enter Haystack Software

Haystack Software makes an application called iPhotoSync.  It does pretty much what the title implies: it syncs up your iPhoto libraries.  The developer basically had the same dilemma that I have, as well as many others.  So, he wrote iPhotoSync.  With iPhotoSync you have many ways to sync your libraries.  You can sync your entire library from one Mac to another, and this way all of your libraries are identical.  Another method is to only sync new content.  The final method is to chose the previous month, or two, three, six, and twelve months.  For my setup, I chose to sync my wife’s entire library to mine since I run a daily backup of my photos.  As for my wife’s, I chose to only backup new photos and videos from my library.

What’s Macgasmic

The way iPhotoSync works is by cataloging your existing iPhoto library, and it uses Growl which runs in the background alerting you when your library has been cataloged.  When you’re ready to sync new photos, a Growl message appears informing you that you can proceed with your import.  What is also great about iPhotoSync is that your don’t need to have the window open for all this to work.  iPhotoSync simply runs in the background along with Growl.

I would also like to take a moment and talk about Haystack Software’s tech support.  The only means of tech support is via email.  For some, this might not be their cup of tea.  Some people prefer phone support for that instant response to their issue.  Well, Haystack Software’s email support is pretty fast.  I emailed them with an issue I was having at 10:30 in the evening, and at 7:30 the next morning I had a response.  Now you might be thinking that is not as fast as calling someone, but most email tech support services take between twenty-four and forty-eight hours before you get a response back.  In any event, after a few emails back and forth, Haystack Software released an update for iPhotoSync that fixed the exact issue I was having.  I emailed them back after the update, and they said due to my email they found a bug that they were unaware of and fixed it.

Room For Improvement

After all the great things you have read, you might be wondering why iPhotoSync would need improving.  Well, I wouldn’t be giving the software a fair review if I didn’t show both sides.  To be fair in this case, I would say the software needs tweaking more than improving.  One thing I found to be an issue with iPhotoSync is that when I am syncing my new photos and videos to my wife’s iPhoto library, I would like to see some sort of order in the library list.  As it stands, there seems to be no semblance of order, be it alphabetical or by date.  I have to scroll through the entire list to find the one or two albums I want to transfer.  The other thing I would like to see improved upon is the way the albums are imported.  When I import the album, the album title doesn’t carry over.  It simply titles it with the date.  Also, if you import more than one album at a time, it imports it as one album, instead of the two or three albums that it is in the other library.  I am not sure if these are limitations of the software, or simply something that the developer never thought of implementing.

Compatibility and Pricing

iPhotoSync is compatible with iPhoto ’08, ’09, and ’11, and will work with PowerPC and Intel Macs.  I have used iPhotoSync in both iPhoto ’09 and ’11.  In both versions the application worked well.  After I upgraded from iPhoto ’09 to ’11, I didn’t have to do any configuring of iPhotoSync.  It simply continued to work and catalog my library.  iPhotoSync comes in two different licensing schemes — the first is a two license pack, and the second is a five license pack.  The pricing is as follows – iPhotoSync 2-pack is $15.00, and iPhotoSync 5-pack is $25.00.  Both licensing packs are very well priced.  Haystack Software also offers a seven day free trial.  You can download iPhotoSync by clicking here.

Overall iPhotoSync is an exceptional compliment to iPhoto.  I would highly recommend that you download the trial if you have more than one Mac, and you want to sync your iPhoto libraries.  After you try it, you will definitely want to continue to use iPhotoSync.

Photo Credit: iPhotoSync

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