Apple Photos on Mac OS - iCloud download stuck on "Updating"

Issue

Macbook Air (MacOS 10.11 - El Capitan) with empty Photos library cannot download photos from iCloud (previously uploaded by another Macbook). iCloud Photo Library status in Photos > Preferences > iCloud stuck on "Updating" for over 24 hours.

Restarting computer, pausing iCloud upload, re-creating or repairing Photos database doesn't make any difference.

Resolution

The fix was a bit a bit random... Open System Preferences > iCloud, click Options next to Photos, then without changing anything (providing iCloud Photo Library is already selected) click Done.... 

As soon as I clicked Done, Photos app immediately started downloading photos from iCloud...

 

Macbook Air 13 (Mid 2011)
OS X El Capitan (10.11)
Apple Photos 1.1



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