How to Access iCloud Photos From Any Device

You can even get your photos when using an Android device

What To Know

  • iOS: Turn on iCloud > tap Photos > Library. Android: Go to iCloud website > tap Photos.
  • Mac: System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud. Under Apps on this Mac using iCloud, select Photos.
  • Windows: Install iCloud for Windows and set up iCloud Photos. Open File Explorer > select iCloud Photos.

This article explains how to access your iCloud photo library on various devices, including iPhones and iPads, Macs, Windows PCs, and Android devices. Instructions apply to iOS 13 and up, iPadOS 13 and up, macOS Big Sur (10.16) and Catalina (10.15), Windows 10 or 11, and Android 10.

Access iCloud Photos From iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad

​Photos is an excellent app for viewing images or making video memories. It's also a directory from which you can share photos in an email, text message, or on social media. Use the Photos app to send images to a nearby Apple device using AirDrop or save images to other cloud-based services such as Dropbox and Google Drive.

In the Photos app, tap a photo, tap the Share icon, and then tap Save to Files. You can save the image to any service you set up in Files, such as iCloud Drive or Google Drive, or on your device.

Before using iCloud Photos on your iOS or iPadOS device, you must turn on the iCloud Photo Library: Select Settings > tap your name > iCloud > Photos. Then, complete the following steps to access your photos:

  1. On your iOS device, tap Photos.

  2. Select Library.

  3. In the options bar, tap Years, Months, or Days to view images by that period, or select All Photos.

    iPhone showing the Photos app and options

In iPadOS, you can simultaneously view the Files and Photos apps in Split View and drag images from one app to the other.

Access iCloud Photos on Mac

As with iOS and iPadOS, the Photos application in macOS is the quickest way to view photos in iCloud Photos. The images are in collections, and you can watch the Memories created from the images and videos there.

You can drag images from the Photos app to any folder on your Mac. You can also drop photos into other applications, such as Microsoft Word or Apple Pages.

If you don't see your iCloud Photos images in the Photos application on your Mac, you may need to turn on the feature. To do so, complete the following steps:

  1. Select the Apple icon, then select System Preferences.

    The Apple Menu on a Mac with the System Preferences command highlighted
  2. Select Apple ID.

    System Preferences in macOS with Apple ID highlighted
  3. In the left pane, select iCloud. Then, under Apps on this Mac using iCloud, select Photos.

    Apple ID settings in macOS with the iCloud heading and Photos option highlighted
  4. You may be prompted to sign in to your iCloud account. You may also be prompted to verify your iCloud settings.

  5. Select the Photos app and choose Library or a specific album in the left pane to access your images.

Access iCloud Photos From Windows

If you want to access iCloud Photos from a Windows-based device, you must first download and install iCloud for Windows on the PC. Next, you'll set up iCloud Photos on your Windows 10 or 11 device:

  1. Open iCloud for Windows.

  2. Beside Photos, select Options.

  3. Select iCloud Photo Library and then choose Done.

  4. Select Apply.

To access your photos in iCloud Photos for Windows 10 and 11, open File Explorer and select iCloud Photos. In the details pane, Windows divides iCloud Photos into three categories:

  • Downloads: These are the photos you took on your iPhone or iPad. These files should download automatically to your PC.
  • Uploads: From here, you can upload photos to your Apple devices.
  • Shared: This folder gives you access to any shared photo albums available in iCloud.
Windows 10 file manager

Access iCloud Photos From Android

Apple offers a browser-based version of certain iCloud apps for Android. It works similar to iOS or iPadOS, with fewer options. For example, you can share photos only by email or by copying a link.

The Photos, Notes, Find My iPhone, and Reminders apps are available from the Android mobile browser.

To access iCloud Photos on an Android device, open a browser, and go to icloud.com. Sign in to iCloud when prompted and then tap Photos.

Access iCloud Photos From a Web Browser

If you don't want to set up iCloud on your device or are using someone else's device (including a Chromebook device), your iCloud Photos library is accessible from a web browser. To access your photos from a browser, complete the following steps:

  1. In a web browser, go to www.icloud.com.

  2. Sign in to your iCloud account.

  3. Select Photos.

    The iCloud website with Photos highlighted

From here, you can view your iCloud Photos and videos online. You can also upload photos by selecting the Upload icon, which looks like an up arrow pointing into the cloud.

FAQ
  • If I make a change to one iCloud photo on my device, does that same change appear on my other devices?

    When you change any photo in iCloud, such as cropping or using any other editing tools, the change automatically syncs to all of your iCloud-connected devices. Likewise, if you take a new photo or delete an old one, that action applies to all your iCloud-connected devices.

  • How do I access iCloud Photos on my Apple TV?

    To view iCloud Photos on the Apple TV, go to Settings > Users and Accounts > enter account name > turn on iCloud Photos. Then, on the Apple TV, open the Photos app and select Library.

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