this morning after speaking with apple i tried again. in an hour i think 244 of the 2000 photos and videos i put into photos on my mac had shown up on my iphone. there are an additional 6000 photos and videos i would want access to on my device.
i don't think icloud and photos is the approach for me. i want to be able to control what i keep on my phone vs what i keep on my macbook. syncing across all devices really does not appeal to me. i don't want or need all my phone pics on my laptop. i just want to dump all of my previous phones' photos onto my new phone...
i was not expecting it to be so difficult. i thought i had figured it out days ago when i added photos using the finder. but then i couldn't delete them from my phone. the garbage can was greyed out. for a lifelong mac user this system is baffling to me.
I think you are making it more difficult than it is and not realizing how much the platforms and products are the same.
Sorry to sound harsh, but I know this stuff from our having near 1000 employees, having to know and use different platforms, and we have a lot of support to staff personal use. We have around 200 Apple device users and many in those 1000 who get personal support.
I've been through Adobe, Google, Microsoft and Apple migrations. Common cognitive bias issues get to people but the reality is it's not much different than ours and the fleet cars just have buttons in different places. If you are using a system that keeps originals or let's you revert to originals and offers the files on demand you will always have times of sync, processing and delay.
A few giants won here - photos and cloud. They are Adobe, Microsoft, Google and Alphabet. They're more alike than people and those firms would like to admit. I get the impression you might be like many tilting windmills here.
If you value those 6000 photos sync them to cloud, to multiple devices, and to another form of media. If you're not going to use photo management system features just use file sync but that will be its own mess with thousands of files.