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How to move photos from iPhone to iCloud [Full Guide]

In this article, we will guide you through the steps of unloading iPhone photos to iCloud, and explore an alternative option for efficient photo transfer and backup.

Kylee Jones Updated on Aug 1, 2023 2:08 PM

It's crucial to back up your photos to iCloud, ensuring your precious memories are safely stored and easily accessible from any other Apple device connected to your iCloud account. Fortunately, moving your iPhone photos to iCloud is a simple process that can be done directly from your mobile phone.

Create an iCloud account and transfer photos seamlessly between devices for easy access and backup.

However, iCloud's limited storage space (5GB for free) may not be able to store all your photos. In such cases, using a reliable third-party tool like iPhone Data Transfer to move photos from iPhone to another device (Mac, Windows, iPad, or another iPhone) can be an alternative solution. You can also use it to copy photos back to your iPhone as needed.

Here we'll take you through a step-by-step process on how to move iPhone photos to iCloud, as well as the various things you can do after moving pictures to iCloud.

Table of Contents

How to back up photos from iPhone to iCloud

1. Connect to Wi-Fi

iCloud backups can consume a significant amount of data, so it's recommended to use a Wi-Fi connection to avoid any additional charges and to ensure a smooth backup process.

2. Enable iCloud Photos

On your iPhone, go to "Settings" and tap on your name at the top of the screen.

Then, select "iCloud" and choose "Photos."

Toggle on the "Sync this iPhone" option.


  • When you delete a photo from the Photos app on one device, the photo will also be removed from iCloud and all other devices connected to the same iCloud account. The photo will be moved to the "Recently Deleted" album in the Photos app on all devices.

3. Choose "Optimize iPhone Storage" or "Download and Keep Originals"

For Optimize iPhone Storage: This feature keeps your full-resolution photos in iCloud while replacing them on your iPhone with optimized versions that take up less space.

For Download and Keep Originals: It allows you to download and store the original, full-resolution versions of your photos on your iPhone. If you have limited storage available on your device, enabling this option may lead to storage constraints and potential performance issues.

In addition to moving photos, iCloud also allows you to transfer videos from PC to iPhone.

4. Wait for upload to complete

Once iCloud Photos is enabled, your iPhone will start uploading your iPhone photos to iCloud. The time it takes depends on the number of photos and your Internet connection speed.

How to upload selected iPhone photos to iCloud

If you haven't enabled the iCloud Photos feature on your iPhone and want to share selected photos from iPhone to your iCloud account, you can follow these steps:


  • Photos taken on an iPhone can be put directly into iCloud. However, screenshots or downloaded images may need to be converted to a compatible file format (such as JPEG) before using this way to add to iCloud.

You may also want to know: How to transfer photos from iPhone to MacBook Air

1. Open a web browser on your iPhone and visit iCloud.com

2. Sign in to iCloud using your Apple ID and password.

3. Once you are logged in, you will see a list of iCloud services. Tap on the "Photos" icon.

4. Next, hit "Upload" located at the bottom center of the screen, and select "Photo Library."

5. Then simply tap on the photos you wish to upload, and a blue checkmark will appear on each selected photo.

6. Later, tap on the "Add" icon in the upper right corner. The selected photos will now begin uploading to iCloud.

Once the upload is complete, the selected photos will be moved in your iCloud photo library and accessible on all your iCloud-connected devices.

Use an iCloud alternative to sync iPhone photos to Windows & Mac & iOS devices

Tired of iCloud's limitations for syncing iPhone photos? Meet iPhone Data Transfer, your perfect alternative. With this third-party tool, you can effortlessly copy your photos between your iPhone and Windows, Mac computer, or even between iOS devices, without worrying about storage limits, Internet dependencies, or format compatibility issues.

The software also allows you to selectively move and organize your photos with a few clicks. You can choose specific albums, individual photos, or even a specific time range to export, customizing the transfer process according to your preferences and needs.

Download Now!

for macOS | for Windows

  • No data overwriting
  • Offline operation
  • Easy to navigate and use even for non-technical users
  • Transfer high-resolution photos without any size limitations
  • The ability to handle various photo formats, including HEIC, JPG, PNG, GIF, and more

Here are the steps to use iPhone Data Transfer on Windows:

Step 1. Launch the software:

Download and install the software on your Windows computer.

Step 2. Connect your iPhone:

Use a USB cable to connect your iPhone to the computer. Make sure to unlock your iPhone and trust the computer if prompted.

Step 3. Choose photos to transfer:

In the software, click on the "Photos" tab in the left menu bar. Then, select the certain photos you want to transfer, or choose the "Check All" option to export a specific album.

Step 4: Start the moving process:

Once you've selected the photos, click on the "Export to PC" button at the top. Later, specify the destination folder on your Windows computer where you want to transfer the photos from iPhone to PC, and wait for the process to finish.


  • If the selected photo is taken by an Apple mobile phone, the software may prompt you to choose whether you want to automatically convert the photo to a more suitable JPEG format during the transfer process.

Things you can do after saving photos from iPhone to iCloud

View photos on other devices

With your moved photos stored in iCloud, you can access them from any device with an internet connection. Whether you're using another iPhone, an iPad, a Mac, or even a Windows computer, you can log in to iCloud and view or manage your photos easily.

Download iCloud photos

The method of getting photos from iCloud to iPhone is similar to moving photos from iPhone to iCloud. If you have iCloud Photos enabled on your iPhone and it is set to automatically sync and upload photos to iCloud, the process of downloading photos from iCloud to your iPhone can happen automatically as well.

Learn more: How to transfer photos from PC to iPhone

Share iCloud photos

iCloud enables you to easily share your photos with others. You can create shared albums and invite family or friends to view and add photos.

iCloud photo library integration

If you use iCloud photo library, any changes you make to your photos, such as edits, additions, or deletions, will be synced across all your devices. This ensures that your photo library remains consistent and up to date, regardless of which device you're using.

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