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Hacky node.js scripts to download photos from iCloud. Because iCloud sucks.
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README.md

iCloud Fuckery

UPDATE: I no longer use these scripts and do not have time to maintain them. This repo is now considered archived and unmaintained.

This repo contains a couple hacky node.js scripts I use whenever I need to download a large number of my photos (but not all!) from iCloud:

  • list-all-photos.js: Downloads the metadata for all of your photos, including name, creation date, download URL, etc into all-photos.json.
  • download-photos-after-date.js: Downloads all the photos in all-photos.json that were created after the date specified in DOWNLOAD_PHOTOS_AFTER_DATE. Launches one process per CPU core so the downloads can happen in parallel.

Note: These are very hacky scripts. They shouldn't have to exist, but iCloud is crap, and I used a spare afternoon to cobble this stuff together so I could download my own photos. Do not expect much in terms of maintenance, tests, or code quality.

Motivation

I often want to download a large number of my photos from my iPhone, but find it impossible due to iCloud. This is because iCloud automatically backs up the photos on your i-devices and then, after ~30 days, it removes the originals. After that, there are only two ways to download those photos, and both have severe limitations:

  1. Use the Photos app on your Mac to enable iCloud sync. This downloads all your photos to your hard drive, which if you have a lot of photos, takes a very long time and eats up a lot of disk space.
  2. Use the iCloud website to download photos. This UI is fine for one or two photos, but since it pops up the "save file as..." dialog for each one photo you want to download, it's unusuable if you want to download several dozen or several hundred.

Usage

  1. Make sure Node.js is installed.
  2. npm install.
  3. node list-all-photos.js.
  4. Enter your iCloud username and password at the prompt.
  5. Wait a few minutes and the program will output a JSON blob with the info for all the photos in your account into all-photos.json.
  6. Open download-photos-after-date.js and set the DOWNLOAD_PHOTOS_AFTER_DATE and DEST_FOLDER variables to appropriate values.
  7. node download-photos-after-date.js.

Note that the URLs in all-photos.json use some sort of auth token system that expires after 30 minutes or an hour, so if you wait too long between running list-all-photos.js and download-photos-after-date.js, the downloads URLs may no longer work and the latter script will exit with an error.

License

This code is released under the MIT License. See LICENSE.txt.

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