1 Year Later: I still like Mylio after 1 year, and it’s kept on improving little bit by little bit. I gave photostructure another try after a year of more development, but decided to stick with Mylio due to it’s larger feature set and the fact that they have good mobile clients. Photostruture doesn’t really have a mobile client and you always have to have a computer on with photostructure if you want to access your photos remotely. In todays mobile majority world, that doesn’t cut it :(

I have a collection of 83'000 photos and videos, taking up about 700GB of space. This collection was outgrowing my laptop and I was getting frustrated with having “generations” of non-mergeable apple photo libraries on external drives. Most people at this point would signup for a cloud service like iCloud, Google Photos or Adobe’s Lightroom Cloud, but I didn’t want to put my personal photos unencrypted on a cloud service either. Also at the rate I was taking RAW photos, I would quickly start outgrowing most cloud services, since iCloud has a 2TB maximum and others go at a $10/TB/month rate.

So I started a big evaluation spree of various photo digital asset managers (DAMs). One thing I found is that most of them can’t deal with large collections of photos in one catalog, or they are slow to browse the raw photos themselves. I found in general ‘catalogless’ DAMs like luminar are slow to browse or cataloged DAMs like lightroom classic or capture one or start running into performance issues as the catalogs get large. These were my results:

  1. Apple Photos: Fast to browse, you can’t merge or separate libraries together, you can’t spread the masters on multiple drives and have the previews living on your laptop. The cloud service has a max 2TB limit. This could actually be the winner if they had more power user features with catalog management and not using iCloud.  But knowing apple, they do not focus on pro edge cases unless the app is specifically made as a pro app.
  2. New Lightroom: Cloud only, not private, won’t scale with a lot of raw photos due to expanding costs. Has a monthly fee.
  3. Lightroom Classic: Fairly fast to browse once previews are generated, but has no mobile app sync and has a bunch of other performance issues that pop up when importing or using it in general. UI becomes buggy when it’s clogged up with some task. No mobile app sync. It was slow 10 years ago in various ways and it’s probably going to stay the same. Also has a monthly fee.
  4. Capture One: Similar to Lightroom Classic, but not as many performance issues and nicer raw rendering. Had an issue with rendering previews / thumbnails when the external hard drive holding the masters was disconnected, and support / forums was not helpful in fixing that bug
  5. Luminar 3: Being catalog-less makes is very slow to browse a large collection of raw photos. Nice UI design although.
  6. On1: I didn’t use it much, but I remember it having similar issues to Luminar
  7. Photo Mechanic: Does not organize your photos, just browses them in a folder. Uses the built in JPEG preview that most raws have to make it fast. I don’t understand why other DAMs don’t use that technique to making things fast while previews are not available, or use it as a basis for generating their previews. There is a hint of an option for it in Lightroom Classic, but it doesn’t seem to be as fast as Photo Mechanic with it. Useful tool, not useful as a DAM although.
  8. Fast Raw Viewer: Similar-ish tool to Photo Mechanic, not a DAM.
  9. Mylio: Still fast with a large 83k library. I’ve also seen videos of people with ~830'000 item libraries. Cloud free, private, syncs with a mobile app, manages previews & thumbnails smartly. Mobile app is a scaled version of their desktop app, so some text and UI is reallllllly small. Scrolling through photos doesn’t use native scroll curves. Doesn’t handle live photos too well. Has a monthly fee.

Upcoming DAMs

  1. PhotoStructure: Currently in private beta, seems to have many of the same design goals as Mylio.  I got access to the private beta, but I’m going to wait for few bug fixes before I make a judgement about it.
  2. Affinity DAM: Affinity, the people who make the fast performing Adobe software competitor suite, have been mentioning offhand that a DAM project is something they have on the back burner since 2016. Maybe they’ll make something good and performant that will impress us all.

In the end, with my requirements of:

  1. Large Library Speed
  2. Library scalability
  3. Remote Master Repositories
  4. Mobile app syncing
  5. Cloudless or Client-Side Encrypted Cloud
  6. (soft) No monthly fee

Pretty much the only one left standing was Mylio.

Nobody Knows About Mylio

It’s really strange that nobody talks about them that much. It’s a fairly impressive package. I bet if they put more into marketing, they would start to pick up steam.

If I were them, I would sponsor people on photography youtube, like squarespace does with in video sponsorships. I think people will start noticing it more then, especially with photo channels like fstoppersthe northrupskai w and so on. I would even do sponsored reviews like some companies do with channels like linus tech tips.

I would start reselling cloud services directly with wasabi or the majors (google, amazon, etc) as a package so nerds like me can casually recommend Mylio to their friends. A real life example of such bundle partnering is Hulu & Spotify.

I didn’t recommend mylio to my friend because it was pretty much a power user only package for now.

6 months later

Mylio works great!  I really like it, performance still hasn’t been an issue still and having ALL of the photos on my iPhone has been really awesome.  It has some quirks and things they need to fix, but they are a responsive, yet small team and it hasn’t really gotten in the way of the core flow.