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 and updated across your devices, automatically. Or you can use your computer to sync photos and videos manually to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Keep your photos updated automatically with iCloud

With iCloud Photos, you can keep all your photos and videos stored in iCloud and synced seamlessly across all of your devices so you can access your library from your Mac, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, and even your 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.

When you turn on iCloud Photos, any photos or videos that you've synced manually to your iOS device are overwritten. If these photos and videos are still on your Mac or PC, they'll appear on your iOS device when iCloud Photos updates your photo library.

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 use 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.

You can sync your device only with the System Photo Library. If you have more than one photo library on your Mac, be sure that the correct one is designated as the System Photo Library.

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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