How to Download Photos from iCloud

How to get your iCloud photos on any device

What to Know

  • Web browser: Log into iCloud > Photos > select the photo(s) > download icon > photo or zip file will download.
  • iPhone or iPad: Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Photos > move iCloud Photos slider to on/green. Photos will download.
  • PC: Open iCloud for Windows app > sign in with Apple ID > Photos > Options > check iCloud Photos > Done > Apply.

This article explains how to download photos from iCloud using a web browser, an iPhone or iPad, and how to access iCloud photos on a Mac or PC.

How Do I Download My Photos From iCloud?

You can download photos from iCloud using virtually any device with a web browser (one which supports file downloads). It won't let you do advanced things like syncing files, but for a quick, one-time download from iCloud, follow these steps:

  1. In your web browser, go to iCloud and sign in using your Apple ID and password.

  2. Select Photos.

    Photos in iCloud home screen
  3. Search or browse your photo library and albums, then select all of the photos you want to download.

    iCloud photos app with 2 photos selected
  4. In the upper-right corner, select the Download icon. The downloaded photos appear where your browser downloads by default. If you downloaded more than one photo, double-click the download to unzip the photos.

    Download icon in iCloud Photos

How Do I Download My Pictures From iCloud to My iPhone?

On an iPhone or iPad, downloading pictures from iCloud is more sophisticated. You can connect those devices to iCloud via your Apple ID and automatically sync photos. When you do that, any images added to a device signed into your iCloud automatically sync to all other signed-in devices. To set up automatic syncing and downloading of pictures from iCloud to iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap your name.

  3. Tap iCloud.

    Settings app, Apple ID, and iCloud highlighted on iPhone
  4. Tap Photos.

  5. Move the iCloud Photos slider to on/green.

    Photos and iCloud Photos slider in iPhone settings

    You can choose either Optimize iPhone Storage or Download and Keep Originals. The first conserves storage space on your iPhone by uploading hi-res files to iCloud and keeping lower-res versions on your device. The second keeps hi-res versions of your device.

  6. All pictures stored in your iCloud account that aren't already on your iPhone or iPad download to the pre-installed Photos app. Pictures on the device not stored in iCloud are also uploaded. Depending on how many pictures you have, this may take a while.

You can set up the same automatic syncing on the Mac, too. To do that, go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud > check Photos. Then go to Photos app > Photos menu > Preferences > check iCloud Photos.

How Do I Transfer Photos From iCloud to PC? 

Even Windows users can transfer photos from iCloud to their PC, just like on a Mac or iPhone. Here's what to do:

  1. Download and install iCloud for Windows on your PC.

  2. Open iCloud for Windows and sign in using your Apple ID and password.

  3. Next to Photos, select Options.

  4. Check the box next to iCloud Photos.

  5. Select Done, then Apply.

  6. This syncs photos from your iCloud account to the iCloud Photos folder on your PC. To download those photos, go to the iCloud Photos folder and then:

    • Using iCloud for Windows 11.1 and higher: Select all photos you want to download > right-click the images > select Always keep on this device.
    • Using iCloud for Windows on Windows 10: In the taskbar, select the notification area > Download Photos > choose the photos you want to download.
    • Using iCloud for Windows on Windows 7: Select Download photos and videos in the toolbar > select the photos you want to download > Download.
  • How do I delete photos from my iCloud?

    To delete photos from iCloud, sign in to iCloud, choose the photo(s) and select the Trash icon. To turn off automatic backup on your iPhone, go to Settings > your name > iCloud > Photos > turn off iCloud Photos.

  • How do I back up my photos to iCloud?

    To turn on automatic backup on your iPhone, go to Settings > your name > iCloud > Photos and turn on iCloud Photos. You can then access your iCloud photos on your Mac, PC, or Android device.

  • Why won't my photos download from iCloud?

    If you can't download your iCloud photos, check your internet connection, disable low power mode, then sign out and sign back in to iCloud. If you're still having trouble, toggle iCloud Photos on and off, then restart your device.

  • How do I download photos from iCloud to Android?

    Your best bet is to download your iCloud photos to your PC, then transfer the files to your Android device. You can also transfer your Google Photos to your iCloud.

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