How to download photos from iCloud and save copies of them to any device

JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images
  • You can download photos from your iCloud library, but the method you use will vary depending on your device and where you’re downloading them from.
  • For example, you may go through the Photos app, iCloud.com, or from shared albums.
  • Regardless of the method, here’s what you need to know to get your photos downloaded.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Having things saved to iCloud is useful for cutting down on used storage space. But there are times when you need to get your photos and videos back onto your mobile device or computer. Doing so can be a little confusing, especially since there are so many different methods based on things like where you’re accessing the data from, and what device you’re using at the moment.

No matter what your circumstances are, here’s how to get it done quickly and easily.

How to download photos from iCloud via the Apple Photos app

Follow these directions to save copies of your photos and videos from your Apple Photos app to your Apple device.

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch:

1. Go into your device’s Settings app.

2. Tap your name at the top of the Settings menu.

Devon Delfino/Business InsiderTap your name at the top of the Settings menu on your device.

3. Select “iCloud.”

Devon Delfino/Business InsiderTap ‘iCloud’ on your Apple ID page.

4. Tap “Photos.”

Devon Delfino/Business InsiderSelect ‘Photos’ on the iCloud page.

5. Select “Download and Keep Originals.”

Devon Delfino/Business InsiderTap ‘Download and Keep Originals.’

On your Mac:

1. Open the Photos app on your Mac computer.

2. In the menu at the top of your screen, click “Photos” and then “Preferences.”

Devon Delfino/Business InsiderClick on ‘Preferences…’

3. In the pop-up menu, select the “iCloud” tab located at the top of the window.

Devon Delfino/Business InsiderClick ‘iCloud’ at the top of the window.

4. Click the selection next to “Download originals to this Mac.”

Devon Delfino/Business InsiderCheck off ‘Download Originals to this Mac.’

For those on a PC, you’ll have to set up iCloud for Windows, and then you’ll be able to download your photos from iCloud Photos.

How to download photos from iCloud via iCloud.com

Follow these directions to save copies of your photos and videos from iCloud.com to your Apple device.

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch:

1. Open the Apple Photos app on your device.

2. Tap “Select” in the upper right corner of your Photos app to select the desired photo or video. You can also select multiple photos and videos by tapping multiple thumbnails, or you can opt to “Select all.”

3. Tap the three-dot icon in the lower right corner to open additional options.

4. Select “Download” and tap it again to confirm your decision.

On your Mac or PC:

1. Go to iCloud.com and log in using your Apple ID.

2. Select “Photos.”

Devon Delfino/Business InsiderClick ‘Photos’ on the homepage of the iCloud website.

3. Click to choose your desired photo and video (hold the “Command” button to select more than one).

4. Click and hold on the “Download” button (it looks like the cloud symbol combined with a down arrow), located on the right side of the top toolbar.

Devon Delfino/Business InsiderOnce you’ve selected your photo(s), click the ‘Download’ icon at the top right corner.

5. Choose whether you want to download the “Unmodified Original” or “Most Compatible” versions and click “Download.”

The download will then appear at the bottom of your screen, and you can click to open it, rename it, and move it.

How to download photos from iCloud via Shared Albums

Follow these directions to save copies of your photos and videos from Shared Albums to your own device.

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch:

1. Open the Apple Photos app on your device and select the “Albums” tab.

2. Scroll down and select your desired album.

Devon Delfino/Business InsiderSelect a desired album from the ‘Albums’ tab of your Photos app.

3. Tap “Select” in the upper right corner of the album.

4. Tap each photo you want to download. Or, hit “Select All” in the upper left corner.

5. Select the upload icon (it looks like a square with an up arrow) at the bottom left corner.

6. Tap “Save Image” (or “Save Video”).

On your Mac:

1. Open the Photos app on your Mac computer.

2. Select a Shared Album from the left sidebar.

3. Control-click on the desired photo or video, or select multiple.

4. Select “Import.”

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