Keep your photos safely stored and up to date on all of your devices

iCloud Photos is the easiest way to keep your entire library safe — even if your device goes missing. If you prefer to sync your photos manually, you can use your computer to transfer photos and videos to your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

the Photos app on iPad, iPhone, and Mac

 

 

With iCloud Photos, you can access your photos and videos from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple TV, on iCloud.com, and even your Windows PC. When you're connected to the Internet, Wi-Fi, or a cellular network, your newest shots upload automatically and your edits update in real time. So you always see the latest version on your devices and online.

Before you begin

Turn on iCloud Photos

  • On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Photos, then turn on iCloud Photos.
  • On your Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud > Options next to Photos, then select iCloud Photos.
  • On your Apple TV, go to Settings > Accounts > iCloud > iCloud Photos.
  • On your Windows PC, download iCloud for Windows then set up iCloud Photos.

If you have photos synced to your iOS device from your computer and then you turn on iCloud Photos, an alert tells you that photos and videos synced from your computer will be removed. The original versions of the photos and videos stay on your computer, and the copies are removed from your iOS device. When you turn on iCloud Photos on your Mac or PC, your original versions upload to iCloud, allowing you to access them on all of your devices.

If you choose not to turn on iCloud Photos, you can sync your photos and videos manually in the Finder on your Mac.

Sync your photos manually using the Finder

You can set up the Finder on your Mac to sync photos to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch from the Photos app, or from a folder on your computer. Each time that you sync your iOS device with your computer, the photos and videos on your iOS device update to match the albums on your computer. If you have photos on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that aren't on your computer, follow these steps to import them.

  1. Open a Finder window and connect your device to your computer using a USB cable. 
  2. Your device appears in the sidebar of the Finder window. Click the device to select it.
  3. If prompted, trust your device.
  4. Click the Photos tab below your device's information.
  5. Select the checkbox next to Sync photos to your device from, then select Photos or a folder on your Mac.
  6. Choose between syncing all your photos and albums or only selected albums. You can also choose to sync only favorites, and whether to include videos.
  7. Click the Apply button in the lower-right corner of the window. If syncing doesn't start automatically, click the Sync button.

You must import Slo-Mo and Time-Lapse videos through the Photos app or Image Capture in OS X Yosemite or later for their effect to be synced via the Finder. When you use iCloud Photos, Slo-Mo and Time-Lapse videos keep their effects.

Live Photos keep their effect when you import them to Photos in OS X El Capitan and later, but they lose their effect if you sync them back to your device via your computer. Use iCloud Photos so that Live Photos keep their effect, no matter what device you use.

If you're syncing from Photos, only your System Photo Library is available in the Finder on your Mac.

Turn off Finder syncing

If you don't want the synced photos on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch anymore, turn off syncing in the Finder and they'll be removed from your device. You can turn off syncing for some of your photo albums or all of them at once.

Stop syncing some albums

  1. Open a Finder window and connect your device to your computer using a USB cable. 
  2. Your device appears in the sidebar of the Finder window. Click the device to select it.
  3. If prompted, trust your device.
  4. Click the Photos tab below your device's information.
  5. Choose "Selected albums" and deselect the albums or collections that you want to stop syncing.
  6. Click Apply.

Stop syncing all photos

  1. Open a Finder window and connect your device to your computer using a USB cable. 
  2. Your device appears in the sidebar of the Finder window. Click the device to select it.
  3. If prompted, trust your device.
  4. Click the Photos tab below your device's information.
  5. Deselect "Sync Photos" then click "Remove photos."
  6. Click Apply.

 

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