iCloud Photos (formerly called iCloud Photo Library) is part of Apple’s iCloud suite of services that stores your entire photo library in iCloud. This allows you to access them on any iCloud-supported device that uses the same Apple ID.
It automatically manages your photo collection so you can spend more time concentrating on taking good photos. There is a lot of information about how ICloud photos work. We’ll show you tips to get the most out of your iCloud photos.
1. Manage local storage with iCloud photos
When you enable iCloud photos, it uploads your entire photo collection to iCloud and makes it available on other devices. Photos saves a version of each of these photos, depending on the settings you choose:
Download originals to this Mac or Download and keep the originals saves the full-resolution version of your photos and videos to both your device and iCloud. Select this option if your device has enough storage space for your entire photo collection. On an iOS device, this option is disabled by default.
Optimize Mac storage or Optimize iPhone storage save a compressed version of your photos and videos to your device. The full-size copy remains in iCloud. Images discard the original versions and replace them with thumbnails, and then load the originals when needed.
To edit a photo, Photos downloads it from iCloud. To make sure you have a copy of your original images, make sure at least one computer keeps everything in its original quality. You can then take a Time Machine backup or a third-party backup application,. You can also download your original photos from iCloud.com.
2. Use Photo Stream instead of iCloud photos
Photo Stream lets your Mac or iOS / iPadOS device automatically upload recently taken or imported photos to the cloud for sharing My photo stream album on all your devices. But if iCloud Photos also does all of these things, then what is the purpose of Photo Stream?
The minimum system requirements for ICloud photos are iOS 8.3, OS X Yosemite 10.10.3, or iCloud 5 for Windows. If you don’t meet these conditions and don’t want to pay for extra storage, Photo Stream is still a great replacement for iCloud photos.
Image stream limitations
My Photo Stream photos remain in iCloud for 30 days. It should be enough time to back up your photos manually. They are then removed from iCloud.
No matter how many photos My Photo Stream uploads to the cloud, the local Photo Stream album on any iOS or iPadOS device will only store 1,000 photos.
My Photo Stream does not support videos, live photos, and formats such as HEIF or HEVC.
My Photo Stream only works when your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network, not mobile data.
Photos are stored in full resolution on a Mac, but are optimized for iOS or iPadOS devices.
Despite these limitations, you may want to keep Photo Stream turned on if you want to stream the latest photos to an Apple TV, for example. Select one device, such as a Mac, and activate it there.
3. Share using shared albums
Shared albums are a private way to share digital memories with friends and family. You first create an album and then invite others to subscribe by email. Subscribers can like what you post, add comments, and add their photos if you allow them.
Once you’ve created a shared album, it syncs your photos across all devices for free. But Apple has imposed certain restrictions. You can have up to 5,000 photos or videos up to five minutes long. See Apple My photo stream and shared album restrictions Learn more.
Enable shared albums
Mac: Open the Images app. Select from the menu bar Pictures> Settings. Click iCloud tab and then check Shared albums.
iOS / iPadOS: Start settings application. Scroll down and tap Pictures. Then turn on the power Shared albums.
Using shared albums
iOS / iPadOS: Select photos to share and tap Ice icon and select Add to shared album. If you have not yet created any albums, you will be prompted to create a new album.
Mac: Select your photo, then drag it to a shared album in the sidebar, or select an album and click Add photos and videos.
iOS / iPadOS: To change album settings, tap the shared album and then tap People. You can invite more people, let subscribers add their photos, create a public website (for anyone with a shared URL), show notifications if they add a comment.
4. Understand the system photo library
When you launch Images for the first time, it allows you to create a new library or select an existing library. Apple names it by name System photo library. It’s the only library iCloud uses, and iCloud-compatible apps have access to it. By default, it resides Pictures folder.
You can create more photo libraries at reduce the space for iCloud photos and backups. However, you can only work in one photo library at a time. If you switch to another library and re-enable iCloud photos, the newly selected system photo library will merge with iCloud already synced.
5. Back up your iCloud photos to cloud storage
One drive failure can erase all your photos in an instant. The solution is to make sure you have a reliable backup system. We recommend that you have an online backup, a backup on an external hard drive, and an external backup.
The first choice is Google Photos. There are some excellent reasons to use Google Images through iCloud images. Installation is easy.
Tap the Google Photos icon on your iOS / iPadOS device Profile icon and select Photo settings. Replace Backup and sync switch and let Google Photos access your entire photo library. Then select Shipment size the desired setting.
Microsoft OneDrive is another good option. In the OneDrive mobile app, tap Profile icon and select settings. Replace the switch Camera charging. All photos and videos on your device and all new ones are uploaded to OneDrive.
6. Will photos stay in iCloud forever?
What happens to your photos if you stop paying for your iCloud storage subscription? Your device retains images that have already been saved, but synchronization between them stops. Your photos will also eventually be deleted from the cloud, but Apple won’t say when that will happen.
If you select Download originals to this Mac, Your Mac becomes the only device with a full-resolution version of your photos. But if you chose Optimize storage space, it can only leave you low resolution copies of your photos.
7. Using iCloud photos on Windows and online
You can access all the photos and videos stored in iCloud photos iCloud.com. Click Pictures icon, and in a few minutes you’ll see an interface similar to the Photos app on iPad, albeit a little weaker. You can upload, upload, view and delete photos.
In the left panel, you can see all the albums and photos you created, sorted by them Media types. You can add items to new albums, but it won’t let you see shared albums, create projects, or play slideshows.
Upload your photos to access them from your computer iCloud application from the Microsoft Store. Sign in with your Apple ID and check Pictures. Click Options button next to Pictures and check iCloud photos Enable automatic photo and video uploads.
Check Shared albums share your photos, and you can also customize the location of the Shared Albums folder if there is not enough space on the C: drive. Unfortunately, My photo stream is no longer available in Windows 10.
Click Made when you’re ready.
Keep your photos under control
iCloud has several photo-handling components that can be difficult to track. iCloud Photos can back up your entire photo library and sync it between your devices. My Photo Stream is for those who don’t use iCloud photos and want to sync the latest files. With shared albums, you can organize and share photos with others.
The tips discussed here show how each component works and ways to use them effectively. Although iCloud photos automatically adds some order to your photo library, you can still do more to better organize your photos.
In these happy times, you need all the help you can get to manage your photos.
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