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How to download iCloud photos to iPhone [Comprehensive guide]

In your daily life, you might need to download photos from iCloud to your iPhone. Here we'll break down how to get your iCloud pictures to iPhone with ease.

Emma Levine Updated on Apr 8, 2024 8:27 PM

Learn how to download your pictures from iCloud to iPhone effortlessly in different ways.

Apple's iCloud stands out as a reliable option for iPhone users to securely store and access their photos from anywhere, but there are instances where you want to download your iCloud photos to your iPhone.

Whether it's to create a local backup, free up storage space, or simply enjoy a seamless offline viewing experience, knowing how to get photos from iCloud to your iPhone could be an essential skill. Now let's dive into the process of downloading iCloud photos to iPhone in detail.

Tip: Rather than using iCloud, you can transfer photos from your iPhone to a PC or Mac by iPhone Data Transfer without the limit of the cloud storage space. It helps efficiently import photos between iDevices and computers in both directions with just a few steps.

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If you'd like to download photos in the opposite direction, see how to move photos from iPhone to iCloud [Full Guide].

Use iCloud Photos to download pictures from iCloud to iPhone

When it comes to downloading photos from iCloud to your iPhone, it's important to understand the role of iCloud Photos. It is an Apple service that automatically syncs and stores your photos across your iOS devices, ensuring easy access and seamless backup. To get pictures from iCloud to iPhone, it could be a great choice to complete the task.

While iCloud Photos offers convenience, it lacks the option to select specific images for download, which can be restrictive in certain scenarios.

  • Unlock your iPhone, and go to Settings > Your name > iCloud > Photos.
  • Switch on iCloud Photos (or iCloud Photo Library).
  • Select Download and Keep Originals to get the iCloud photos in full resolution. Or you can choose Optimize iPhone Storage for compressed pictures if your iPhone has limited space.

To know more about retrieving deleted pictures from iCloud, here's a guide on how to restore photos from iCloud backup.

Get your photos from iCloud to your iPhone by iCloud Backup

Aside from iCloud Photos, another method to get photos from iCloud to your iPhone is through iCloud Backup. It is particularly useful in situations where you want to restore your iPhone to its previous state, such as after getting a new iPhone or performing a factory reset. However, improper iCloud backup can pose a significant risk, potentially leading to irreversible data loss, so it's not suggested to take this approach when your iPhone holds substantial data.

1. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings, then follow the onscreen instructions to factory reset your iPhone.

2. Use your iCloud backup to download the photos from iCloud to your iPhone. Once your iPhone restarts, take the set-up steps. Select Restore from iCloud Backup when you get to the Apps & Data screen, then log in with your Apple ID and password. Soon your iPhone will finish the setup, and you can check your iCloud photos on the Photos app.


  • You should have your Apple ID account details to use the iCloud backup.
  • Make sure you've made a backup recently on iCloud before you factory reset your iPhone. If not, go to Settings > iCloud > iCloud Backup > Back Up Now to back up at once. Or your iPhone will be backed up automatically if you've enabled Back Up This iPhone previously.
  • Like using iCloud, you'll have to get all the photos once at a time without the option to select the ones you like.

Transfer photos easily across different platforms with an iCloud alternative

Don't be confined by iCloud's requirement to download all photos at once and its restricted 5 GB free storage. Instead, you can opt for iPhone Data Transfer to selectively transfer your iPhone photos to a larger platform like your Mac or PC for backup purpose.

Download Now!

for macOS | for Windows

With its user-friendly interface, this program enables seamless photo transfer from iOS devices to Mac/PC, or vice versa. Even if you're moving a large number of pictures, it gets the job done swiftly. Additionally, it provides an intuitive interface for organizing photos, including album creation, deletion, and rearrangement.

  • On-the-fly conversion for photos format that are not supported by the transferred device
  • Transfer photos/videos/music in high speed
  • Available for photos transfer between iPhone/iPad and Mac/Windows PC/USB drive
  • Easy management for photos and albums

Here we'll show you how to use this program to transfer photos from an iPhone to a PC.

1. Launch the software and connect your iPhone with your computer. Tap "Trust" on your iPhone if you get a prompt to let the computer access your iPhone.

2. Navigate to the "Photos" option in the left-hand blue column, and select particular photos for transfer by marking the checkbox positioned in the upper-left corner of each individual photo.

3. After the photo selection, click the "Export to PC" option at the top of the program and select a folder, then click "Select folder" to start the transfer.

With iPhone Data Transfer, you can effortlessly transfer photos from iPhone to PC without iTunes, or transfer photos from Mac to iPhone. This iCloud alternative will make it easier to back up and manage your pictures and other media files like videos and songs.

Download iCloud photos selectively to iPhone on the iCloud website

Visiting the iCloud website offers another option to download pictures from iCloud to your iPhone. In this way, you can even select specific photos and add them to the Photos app on your iPhone. Let's find out how to transfer iCloud photos to your iPhone on the iCloud website.

Access icloud.com in Safari on your iPhone, sign in with your Apple ID, and tap the "Photos" icon. Use the "Select" option at the top right to choose specific photos. To save the chosen photos, tap the 3-dot icon at the bottom right, choose "Add to Album," and select an album. Now you can check the pictures in your Photos app.

Tip: This method is also applicable if you want to get photos from someone else's iCloud account to your iPhone.


1. Will downloading photos from iCloud to my iPhone overwrite my existing photos?

No, downloading photos from iCloud to your iPhone will not overwrite your existing photos. They will be added to your device's photo library instead.

2. How much free storage space does iCloud offer for storing photos?

By default, iCloud provides 5 GB of free storage space for photos and other data. If you require more storage, you can upgrade your iCloud storage plan for a monthly fee.

To finish the upgrade, you can go to Settings > Your name > iCloud > Manage Storage > Change Storage Plan, then select a plan and pay for it.

3. Can I download Live photos and videos from iCloud to my iPhone?

Yes, you can download Live photos and videos from iCloud to your iPhone through iCloud Photos or the iCloud website. Ensure that you have sufficient storage space on your iPhone to accommodate these media files.

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