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How to Use Online Photo Storage With iCloud

If you like to take photos on your different iDevices then you know the problem of trying to put them all in one convenient place. It just gets worse if you add a digital SLR to the mix. Apple has a great system for removing this problem. They call it the iCloud Photo Library.

When you have the iCloud Photo Library feature turned any picture you take with an Apple device, or import to the photos app on your Mac, is stored online in your iCloud. It also keeps its full size and original quality. It can then be accessed on any device that is hooked up to that particular iCloud account.

You can view and arrange your photos no matter what device you took them on or are viewing tem with. It’s a little different from the old My Photo Stream, in that the images do take up space on your iCloud account and you only have 5GB of that for free.

Getting extra space in your iCloud account is pretty cheap nowadays though. 50GB of storage now costs just 79 pence a month, or 99 cents American. Though if you take a lot of photos and videos you can still burn through that pretty quick. Not to mention what do you do if your device doesn’t have that much storage? It puts each picture on each device after all. Don’t worry there. Apple has you covered.


The images on each device are optimised to that device, with the original picture still stored on iCloud. If you prefer Photo Stream you can still use it. You can also use it alongside iCloud without problems.

Sticking with Photo Stream is the best idea if you have an old device that is incompatible with iOS 8 or OS X Yosemite, or if you just don’t want to pay extra for Cloud Storage and don’t mind the more manual method Photo Stream uses. But let’s now take a look at the modernised way to store photos.

  1. Switch iCloud Photo Storage On

The first step is of course turning it on. When you turn iCloud Photo Library on you will be warned that photos you’ve synced from iTunes will be removed. Unfortunately syncing photos via iTunes isn’t possible when iCloud is turned on. So back up your photos and click “Remove Photos”.

  1. Turn Off iTunes Syncing

When you turn iCloud on your phone will notify you that it’s turned on and then take you back to the iCloud settings page. Any pictures taken with the camera on your device will automatically be uploaded and you’ll be shown the uploading progress. When it’s finished backing up your current pictures, or if there were no pictures to upload, then it just tells you the last time it synced with the Cloud. Now it’s turned on photos are automatically backed up over WiFi.

  1. Optimise your Storage

One of the biggest perks of using iCloud is that it saves space on your iPhone. Even though you store the full size pictures on the Cloud the photos on your device are smaller and optimised for the screen. You can also select the option to download and keep the originals which keeps the full size files on your phone rather than optimise them.

  1. Viewing Your Photos

When the iCloud Photo Library is running you can use your iPhone how you sually do. The Photos app will show all the photos in your iCloud library and this is true across all of your different devices using the same iCloud account.

The only time you’ll know for sure the photo is from another device is if you try to edit it. The device asks you if you would like to download a separate copy to edit. Creating and sharing albums works just how it used to.

  1. How to Remove Photos

You can delete photos in the same manner as before too. Just select the image and then tap the trash can to remove it. You will need to confirm the deletion too. If you’d like to restore the photo then you can find it in your recently deleted photos.

Photos that you delete are kept in the recently deleted folder for 40 days in case you change your mind. If you want to delete them permanently you can delete them from this folder.

  1. How to Turn off iCloud Storage

When you turn iCloud Photo storage you are presented with two choices; you can delete the photos from the iPhone altogether. They won’t be deleted from other devices. Or you can also just download them to your phone if there’s room.

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