iCloud is not as widely used as Google Drive or Dropbox but if you’re an Apple user, there’s no escaping it. Not because Apple doesn’t give you the choice but because how nicely iCloud integrates with Apple products like the iMac, iPhone, iPad, Macbooks, etc. As long as you’re in the “ecosystem” you may not even have to download photos from iCloud.
That’s because your iCloud photos are all synced between all your devices if the option is turned on in the device’s settings. iCloud is not available for Android, Chrome OS, or Linux though. If you plan on leaving the Apple ecosystem, you’ll want to get rid of iCloud as well because it doesn’t play as nice with other platforms. That means you’ll want to download all your photos from iCloud to another device.
Let’s see how to download iCloud Photos to Windows, Mac or Linux from your iCloud account with few clicks.
Download Single Photos from iCloud
Downloading photos from iCloud is not all that difficult but it is also not as easy as it should’ve been. As long as you have an account in iCloud, you can log in with iCloud through a web browser and start to download the images.
- Open a web browser and go to iCloud.com.
- Log in with your Apple ID.
- When logged in, click on the Photos icon.
- Click on any photo you want to download to select it.
- You can also select multiple photos from iCloud by pressing and holding the Ctrl key while clicking photos.
- Once selected, click on the download icon in the top-right and your downloads should start.
- It looks like a cloud with a downward arrow coming out from the bottom of it.
After that, it’s all about the browser you use and the default way it handles downloads. Typically the downloaded files are stored in the user Downloads folder. The process above works the same with every browser on any platform so it doesn’t matter whether you use a Mac, Windows, Linux or even Chrome OS machine or whether you use Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Edge, Opera, or something else.
Some web browsers might be incompatible with iCloud altogether though none of the popular browsers are.
Also read: iCloud Storage Full: Transfer Photos from iCloud to Google Photos
How to Download All iCloud Photos At Once with Browser
Now you know you can download photos from iCloud but what if you want to download all photos from iCloud? Certainly, pressing and holding Ctrl while clicking each and every photo to select all of them is not very practical. iCloud does not offer any easy bulk downloading options to download all the photos but there is a little trick you can use.
Let’s open the iCloud page as usual with your PC browser. Now follow the steps below to continue.
- Open a web browser and go to iCloud.com and Log in with your Apple ID.
- Click on the Photos icon.
- From the left column, select Photos (or All photos) and select the first photo from the top or the bottom.
- Scroll down and select the last photo while holding the Shift key
- This should select every photo from the very top to bottom or vice versa depending on your first and second selection.
- On the top-right corner, you can see the number of selected items.
- Click on the download button as before.
- All your photos will be zipped together in a single file that you can download.
Your browser or any other download manager that you use will then download photos from iCloud.
Related: How to Manage iOS Storage Setting to Solve iCloud Backup Error.
How to Download All iCloud Photos At Once Using Desktop App (Windows)
Downloading all of your photos from iCloud using a browser is convenient but not feasible for everyone. Some users may not have reliable internet connections or the connection might just not be fast enough. Not everyone will have just 166MB of photos either. It’s possible that you have used up all the 2 gigabytes of free space and maybe even more if you’re a paid user. Downloading such a large file with a browser can be troublesome.
For Linux, and Chrome OS users, that is the only way but Windows users can install the iCloud sync app to make things a little easier.
- Download and install the iCloud sync app for Windows from Apple’s website.
- Once installed, it will ask you to reboot your computer, so do that.
- When your computer comes back on, Sign into iCloud using your Apple ID.
- Upon signing in, iCloud lets you choose the data that you want to sync.
- Unselect all of it and keep Photos as the only selected option.
- Unless you want to download all your other data as well.
- Configure how Photos are synced by clicking on the Options… button next to it.
- When you’re done setting things up, click Apply and then click Close.
- Click on the iCloud icon on the system tray, located in the bottom right of your screen.
- Select Download Photos.
- Check the box next to All photos and click Download.
Related: How to Directly Import iCloud Contacts to Google?
How to Choose Download Location for iCloud Photos on Windows
Once you click on the Download button, the download will automatically start. You won’t see a progress bar anywhere. The time it takes for all your photos to download will be determined by your internet speed and the number of photos you have on iCloud. The default download directory is \Pictures\iCloud Pictures\Downloads\ unless you changed it during the setup.
In any case, you can easily find the downloaded photos from iCloud. Just open the Windows File Explorer and click on iCloud in the left column.
You can also find iCloud listed as a drive in This PC. From here, double-click on Downloads and all your photos should be waiting there already.
Also read: Synchronize Apple iCloud Email to Windows 8 Mail
Don’t Need the iCloud Desktop App?
The iCloud app for Windows offers Windows users an alternative way to download their photos from iCloud. Whether it’s a better way than downloading from the browser depends on how many photos you have or your internet connection.
On Windows, the iCloud experience isn’t as good and the app can run into problems with new Windows updates. Besides, Windows already has a OneDrive integration. Therefore, adding another background service might not be ideal for everyone. Therefore, if you prefer you can copy your downloaded photos somewhere else and completely uninstall iCloud once the job is done.
Thank you for posting these instructions. One note, I could only download 1000 at a times. So it still took a while but your instructions were invaluable
Thanks very clear, there is a 1000 limit, almost as if they dont want you too