5 Ways To Download All Of Your iCloud Photos

If you need to backup your Photos library but are using the Optimize option, it may seem impossible. But there are at least 5 ways to get all the photos from iCloud safely backed up to an external drive or other location.

Comments: 6 Responses to “5 Ways To Download All Of Your iCloud Photos”

    10 months ago

    Don't you loose your “edits“ with most of these methods?

    10 months ago

    NickG: Yes, so choose carefully if you want to keep edits. But most of the time it is all about having a good backup in case of a disaster.

    Carl S.
    10 months ago

    If I choose option #3 will the Photo Library I create on the external drive be updated every time the drive is connected or will I need to open Photos and switch to the alternate library in order for the photos on the external drive to sync with iCloud? I (my wife) has 40K photos in iCloud!

    10 months ago

    Carl: No. You'd need to switch to that library. But I wouldn't do it that way. If you delete a photo from your library then re-syncing to the old library would bring it back. There would also be conflicts between edits. Only do that once to make a backup. If you need to make a duplicate as a backup. If you want to do it again, create a new library and do it again with a fresh new library.

    9 months ago

    Great video - and I wanted to put in a shameless plug for the more tech savvy users who are trying to achieve this: There are open source tools available to perform this tasks automatically without using a dedicated Mac app (so it could be run from a NAS) enabling a continuous backup.

    I'm currently building one solution that tries to achieve this: icloud-photos-sync (find it on Github) - it is still WIP but already working well enough for my personal library.

    7 months ago

    If I created a new library on an external disk, then said "use this library for iCloud", I would certainly be afraid that Apple would make my iCloud Photos library look like my new (empty) library! Thanks for clarifying Apple's behavior on this. (I would have been afraid to do this with my real Photos library!)

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