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In this guide, we explain how to download photos from iCloud – covering iCloud.com, the Photos app, iPhone, PC, Mac. Plus, we’ll also help with restoring photos using iCloud and troubleshooting errors.
In our ‘Using iCloud for your photos’ series, we’ll be explaining everything you need to know about the storage solution and how you can best use it.
So, if you’re looking to download photos using iCloud, this is the guide for you.
How to download photos from iCloud.com
If you want to download just a select few photos or videos, visit iCloud.com.
Just carry out these simple steps:
1. Go to iCloud.com
2. Sign in using your Apple ID
3. Open the Photos app
4. Select the photos and videos you want
5. Once you’ve chosen, just click the Download icon (a cloud with an arrow pointing down)
Simply go to iCloud.com, sign in, and open the Photos app. All you then need to do is select the photos and videos you want to download. Once you’ve chosen your files, just click the Download icon (it’s a cloud with an arrow pointing down).
How to download photos from the Photos app
How you download images from the Photos app depends on the device you’re using.
If you’re using an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 10.3 or later, you need to:
1. Tap Settings
2. Select [your name]
3. Select iCloud
4. Tap Photos
5. Select Download and Keep Originals
If you’re using a Mac with OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 or later, you need to:
1. Open the Photos app
2. Choose Photos
3. Select Preferences
4. Click on iCloud
5. Opt to Download originals to this Mac
Always remember that if you delete a photo from iCloud Photo, it will also be deleted from iCloud, making it no longer available to see on any device – even if you had selected Download and Keep Originals, or Download Originals to this Mac. So, make sure you keep the photos you want within your iCloud Photo storage too.
How to download photos from iCloud to iPhone
If you want to download photos from iCloud to iPhone, simply:
1. Opt to Download originals to this Mac
2. Select Photos & Camera
3. Enable Download and Keep Originals
You’ll now find these photos in your Photos app.
How to download photos from iCloud to Mac
To download photos onto your Mac, follow our step-by-step guide:
1. Open Photos
2. Click Photos
3. Click Preferences
4. Click iCloud
5. Sign in
You may be signed in automatically.
6. Select Download Originals to this Mac
It’s possible that this is already enabled.
7. Once the download completes, close preferences
8. Select Photos
9. Select the images you want
If you want to select them all, press Command + A on your keyboard. If you want to select individual images, click of those you want while holding Command.
10. Click File
11. Select Export
12. Select the Export type you want
Choose Export Unmodified Original to get the original photos you took, or select Export Items if you edit iCloud photos and want the current versions you have saved.
13. Click Export
Depending on whether you chose Unmodified Original or not, you’ll get different options here (such as Movie Quality and Photo Kind).
14. Navigate to a folder and press Export
Now, all of these images are saved to your Mac’s hard drive, rather than iCloud.
How to download photos from iCloud to PC
As iCloud is an Apple product, iCloud is not automatically available on Windows PCs. However, you can still get them to work together with an additional download.
2. Open icloudsetup.exe
Then select Run.
3. Accept the terms of the license agreement
Make sure you read these first.
4. Select Install
5. Click Yes on this
Do the same for any other User Account Control prompts that follow.
6. Select Finish
7. Restart your computer
You should be prompted for this – just click Yes.
8. Launch the iCloud for Windows program
Once your computer has restarted, the program will be fully installed. Simply launch the iCloud for Windows program.
9. Enter your Apple ID and password and select Sign In
10. Decide whether to share diagnostic and usage information with Apple
Whichever you choose will not make a difference to the steps ahead.
11. Click Options, next to Photos
12. Make sure that iCloud Photo Library is ticked and click Done
13. Click Apply
14. Click Apply Start button
15. Select iCloud Photos
This should be easy to find under ‘Recently added’.
16. Click Download photos and videos
If you receive a message saying downloads are not yet available, try again in an hour.
17. Select the groups of photos and videos you want to download
These will be organised by years taken. You can select ‘All’ if preferred.
18. Press Download
19. Click Downloads
Here you will see that your iCloud photos are now on your PC.
How to download all photos from iCloud
Want to download all your photos in one go? Simple.
Just follow our guide:
1. Go to iCloud.com and log in
2. Click on Photos
3. Select the photo you want to download and open it
If you want to select multiple, hold the SHIFT key as you select multiple.
4. Press the download button
This looks like a cloud with an arrow pointing downwards.
5. Repeat for any other images
You’ll find these images in your default download path – usually a folder called Downloads.
How to restore photos from iCloud
If you want to recover recently deleted photos to your iCloud Photo Library, this can be easily achieved by following these steps:
1. Go to iCloud.com and log in
2. Click on Photos
You’ll find this at the top
4. Open up the Recently Deleted album by clicking on this
5. Click on the photos you wish to restore
6. Click on Recover
If you’d like more information, you can visit our more detailed guide on how to restore photos from iCloud.
Error downloading from iCloud photo library
Followed our guide but still struggling to download your photos from iCloud? Don’t worry. We can help you get around errors too.
Some common causes of errors include:
- Low power mode
- Lack of storage
- Loss of network connection
- Corrupt databases
For help with these errors, please visit our guide on how to fix errors when downloading photos from iCloud photo library.
Make something more with your photos
Once you’ve downloaded your photos, you’re ready to create whatever you want with them. Download the Motif App and get started today.
Bring your photo memories to life with Motif.Experience the joy of creating personalized photo projects with Motif. Our photo book app seamlessly works with Apple Photos in macOS and iOS. It does all the complicated stuff leaving the fun creative freedom to you.
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