Here’s how it works
iCloud Photo Library automatically keeps every photo and video you take in iCloud, so you can access your library from any device, anytime you want. Any changes you make to your collection on one device, change on your other devices too. Your photos and videos stay organized into Moments, Collections, and Years. And all of your Memories are updated everywhere. That way you can quickly find the moment you’re looking for anywhere you go
Before you begin
- Update your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to the latest iOS, your Mac to the latest macOS, and your Apple TV (4th generation) to the latest tvOS.
- Set up iCloud on all of your devices.
- Make sure that you’re signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID on all of your devices that you want to use with iCloud Photo Library.
- If you have a Windows PC, update to Windows 7 or later and download iCloud for Windows.
Turn on iCloud Photo Library
- On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 8.3 or later, go to Settings > iCloud > Photos, then turn on iCloud Photo Library.
- On your Mac with OS X 10.10.3 or later, go to System Preferences > iCloud. Click Options next to Photos, then select iCloud Photo Library.
- On Apple TV (4th generation) with tvOS 9.2 or later, go to Settings > Accounts > iCloud > iCloud Photo Library.
- On your Windows PC, follow these steps.
See your edits on all of your devices
When you make edits in the Photos app on your iOS device or your Mac, the photo automatically updates across all of your devices. So when you crop or enhance a photo from your iPhone, you see the changes when you access your library from your Mac. If you change your mind and want to revert to the original view, it’s no problem. The original photos and videos are stored in iCloud and you can go back to them at any time.
Even the photos and videos you delete on one device, delete everywhere that you use iCloud Photo Library. And if you want to get a photo back, you can restore it from the Recently Deleted album for 30 days.
You can make edits on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, and you’ll see them on your AppleTV automatically. Your entire collection is available on Apple TV, including your Memories and shared albums.
File types that you can use with iCloud Photo Library
Your photos and videos are stored in iCloud exactly as you took them. All of your images are held in their original formats at full resolution — JPEG, RAW, PNG, GIF, TIFF, and MP4, as well as special formats you capture with your iPhone, like slo-mo, time-lapse, 4K videos, and Live Photos.
Make sure that you have enough storage
The photos and videos that you keep in iCloud Photo Library use your iCloud storage and your device storage. And as long as you have enough space in iCloud and on your device, you can store as many photos and videos as you like. When you sign up for iCloud, you automatically get 5GB of free storage. If you use all of your iCloud storage, you can buy more starting at just $0.99 a month.
Save space on your device
iCloud Photo Library keeps all of your photos and videos in their original, high-resolution version. You can save space on your device when you turn on Optimize Storage.
On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap iCloud > Photos.
- Choose Optimize [device] Storage.
On your Mac:
- Open the Photos app and click Photos in the menu bar.
- Click Preferences.
- Go to the iCloud tab and choose a storage setting.
If you turn on Optimize Storage, iCloud Photo Library automatically manages the size of your library on your device. Your original photos and videos are stored in iCloud and space-saving versions are kept on your device. Your library is optimized only when you need space, starting with the photos and videos you access least. You can download the original photos and videos over Wi-Fi or cellular when you need them. You can use Optimize Storage on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.