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Using iCloud for Your Photos: How to Download Photos using iCloud

iCloud

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

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

2. Sign in using your Apple ID

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

3. Open the Photos app

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

4. Select the photos and videos you want

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

5. Once you’ve chosen, just click the Download icon (a cloud with an arrow pointing down)

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

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

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

2. Select [your name]

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

3. Select iCloud

4. Tap Photos

5. Select Download and Keep Originals

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

If you’re using a Mac with OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 or later, you need to:

1. Open the Photos app

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

2. Choose Photos

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

3. Select Preferences

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

4. Click on iCloud

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

5. Opt to Download originals to this Mac

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

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

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

2. Select Photos & Camera

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

3. Enable Download and Keep Originals

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

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

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

2. Click Photos

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

3. Click Preferences

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

4. Click iCloud

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

5. Sign in 
You may be signed in automatically. 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

6. Select Download Originals to this Mac 
It’s possible that this is already enabled. 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

7. Once the download completes, close preferences 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

8. Select Photos

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

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. 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

10. Click File

11. Select Export

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

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. 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

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

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

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.

1. Download iCloud for Windows from Apple here.

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

2. Open icloudsetup.exe 
Then select Run. 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

3. Accept the terms of the license agreement 
Make sure you read these first. 

4. Select Install

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

5. Click Yes on this 
Do the same for any other User Account Control prompts that follow. 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

6. Select Finish

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

7. Restart your computer 
You should be prompted for this – just click Yes. 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

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. 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

9. Enter your Apple ID and password and select Sign In

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

10. Decide whether to share diagnostic and usage information with Apple 
Whichever you choose will not make a difference to the steps ahead. 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

11. Click Options, next to Photos

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

12. Make sure that iCloud Photo Library is ticked and click Done

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

13. Click Apply

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

14. Click Apply Start button

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

15. Select iCloud Photos 
This should be easy to find under ‘Recently added’. 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

16. Click Download photos and videos 
If you receive a message saying downloads are not yet available, try again in an hour. 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

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. 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

18. Press Download

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

19. Click Downloads 
Here you will see that your iCloud photos are now on your PC. 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

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

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

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. 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

4. Press the download button 
This looks like a cloud with an arrow pointing downwards. 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

5. Repeat for any other images 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

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

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

2. Click on Photos 
You’ll find this at the top 

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

4. Open up the Recently Deleted album by clicking on this

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

5. Click on the photos you wish to restore

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

6. Click on Recover

Using iCloud for Your Photos:  How to download photos using iCloud

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, doing the heavy-lifting while leaving the creative freedom to you.