Photos no longer updating: How iCloud Photo Library took hostage of my iPhone photos

I activated iCloud Photo Library, only to realize a few months later that I shouldn’t have. iCloud Photo Library is easily the most seamless way to access photos on all your iOS devices but there is a catch – you must pay. Monthly.

Apple offers 5 GB of free iCloud storage. But try storing iPhone backup files, app documents – and now – photos and still fall within the 5 GB limit. Gotcha!

Click here to learn how I got my photos back from iCloud
and downgraded my iCloud storage plan


What is iCloud Photo Library?

iCloud Photo Library is designed to push photos you take on the iPhone directly to iCloud so that photos are accessible from any iOS device (or Mac) connected with your account. It first came out as a beta feature in iOS 8.1 and has since been around for about a year.

You can enable or disable iCloud Photo Library from the iCloud settings on the iPhone. In iOS 9, I found that it comes automatically enabled. icloud photo library settings on ios 9

To me it just looks like a carrot apple-and-a-stick approach to make some extra cash at the expense of unsuspecting iOS users. icloud storage is full and photos are no longer uploading prompt

iCloud Photo Library is not Photo Stream. While Photo Stream keeps a number of your latest photos in sync between multiple iOS devices, iCloud Photo Library syncs all photos you take or have ever taken. In addition, unlike Photo Stream, iCloud Photo Library counts against the 5 GB limit.

Ready to bring back your photos from iCloud?
Scroll down to see how I did it

Why I don’t like it?

I bring my iPhone with me wherever I go. And I take photos; lots of photos. I bet I’m not the only one and I refuse to believe that this is a problem. Yet, taking photos is exactly what’s at stake. Here’s what’s wrong?

  • First of all, you can’t possibly fit all within the free 5 GB limit. iOS backups, app documents & data, and now photos coming from multiple devices? popup for not enough storage available for iphone backup Mind you, even the 16 GB of my own iPhone 5 is barely enough for a fraction of my photos. That’s why, I regularly copy iPhone photos to my PC and then delete them from the phone to free up space for the next bunch.
  • Related:
    Learn how to back up iPhone photos and albums to PC

  • Second, you don’t really free up iPhone space by activating iCloud Photo Library. Even if you enable “Optimize iPhone Storage”, low-resolution versions of your photos are still saved to the iPhone while originals are uploaded to iCloud. The drop in both iCloud and iPhone available storage is inevitable. As a result, when I tried to bring my photos from iCloud back to my iPhone by tapping “Download and Keep Originals”, a notification appeared “Not Enough Device Storage”. icloud prompt download and keep originals Alas, all I ended up having on my iPhone were the low-res versions of my photos while iCloud got hold of the originals.
  • Third, it is extremely difficult to bring back your photos on a PC once they are in iCloud. For example, I fired up iCloud Control Panel for Windows and it only displayed 75 photos out of some 3,000+ saved in iCloud! icloud control panel for windows I then tried to download the photos via iCloud.com… To put it mildly, this felt like a prelude to a nightmare. (Hint: I was asked to select and download each of my 3,000+ photos one by one at which point Firefox gave up on me and crashed. I’m sure Chrome would have not stood up to the challenge either.) attempt to download icloud photos to pc

Now I had thousands of photos in iCloud without a viable way of bringing them back to my iPhone or PC.

After a number of dead-ends and a punishing army of notifications for “Not Enough Storage Available” and “Photos no longer updating”, I had no other choice. I paid the ransom. I unlocked a cornucopia of extra iCloud storage (50 GB) for an unimportant monthly charge (of $1). icloud storage upgrade plans Albeit, my photos remained in iCloud, but at least the notifications stopped. This brought me to a question whose answer is the crux of what’s wrong with iCloud Photo Library:

  • Did I just start paying monthly for the right to take photos with my iPhone?

A dollar a month is nothing; for most of us anyways. Does that mean that we are bound to start giving away a dollar a month for something else as basic as taking photos on our very own mobile devices?

For the time being, at least until Apple does something about it, I’ve decided to get off the hook.

Getting off the hook

Quitting iCloud Photo Library after having started paying for extra iCloud storage is as hard as giving up on your credit card after a long vacation. Yet for me it was worth coming back to where I was before. I wanted to be in control of my photos and to continue keeping a backup on my PC.

How I got my photos back from iCloud

The first method involves CopyTrans Cloudly (freeware). It worked for me to download all my photos from icloud.com to PC and delete them all at once from. After this I managed to roll back to 5 Gb of free iCloud storage. The following steps are valid only for folks who already have iCloud Photo Library enabled on their iPhones.

  1. Visit CopyTrans Cloudly page to download the app onto your PC.

  2. Log into your iCloud account. Enter Apple ID and password

  3. Back up all iCloud photos and videos to a folder or external drive of your choice. CopyTrans Cloudly will carefully save all the albums that you created. Click download

  4. With CopyTrans Cloudly you can rescue photos that you thought were permanently deleted from icloud.com. You might be surprised but some of these photos and videos are still pending on iCloud servers.
    Retrieve permanently deleted photos from iCloud Photo Library

  5. Mass delete all your photos and videos from iCloud in one click
    Delete photos from iCloud Photo Library

The second method also requires iCloud Photo Library enabled on your iPhone. I tried it long before CopyTrans Cloudly and managed to download and delete all my photos from iCloud despite the really messy situation I was in!

  1. First, free as much space on the iPhone as you can. This will help you download as many of your original photos as possible from iCloud. To start freeing up iPhone space, navigate to “Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Mange storage” and under “Storage”, tap “Manage Storage”. manage iphone storage

  2. At this point, I’d suggest that you start deleting apps that you don’t use regularly. Don’t worry, you can re-download the apps from the AppStore later. Of course, keep the Photos app intact. manage app storage on iphone ios 9 If you want to delete multiple apps at once, click here.

  3. Delete some or all music from the iPhone if you have all songs saved on your PC. If you don’t have them saved already, back up the iPhone songs. delete music from iphone You can always transfer the music and videos back to the iPhone at a later time.

  4. When you are happy with the amount of freed-up iPhone space, make sure you are connected to a WiFi network and navigate to “Settings > iCloud > Photos”. icloud photos settings

  5. Tap “Download and Keep Originals”, then open the Photos app. iCloud will start downloading the original versions of your photos to the iPhone memory. It may take some time. icloud photo library download and keep originals option For most of you, the bad trip may end here and you can continue directly to step 10 below.

  6. However, in my case, iCloud didn’t give up the fight that easily. My iPhone simply didn’t have enough storage to download all original photos, so iCloud refused to change the setting. not enough device storage this device does not have enough storage space to store all your full-resolution photos In this case, tap “Ignore”, go back to “Manage Storage” under “Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Mange storage” and free up some more iPhone space (steps 1. to 3. above). Then repeat steps 4. and 5.

  7. If freeing up any more iPhone space is not possible, go back to “Settings > iCloud > Photos” and disable iCloud Photo Library disable icloud photo library on iphone

  8. iCloud now informs you that that all low-res photos previously stored on the iPhone will be removed. Tap “Remove from iPhone”. Don’t worry, should anything happen, you still have access to the original photos in your iCloud account. remove from iphone this iphone was not able to download full-resolution photos

  9. Notice the “All Photos” folder in the Photos app becoming “Camera Roll” after disabling iCloud Photo Library. camera roll vs all photos

  10. Download CopyTrans Photo on your PC Click here to download CopyTrans Photo

  11. Run the program and connect the iPhone. CopyTrans Photo lists all iPhone photos and albums that are saved locally on the device. main copytrans photo window

  • Click the “Full Backup” button on top. full backup button in copytrans photo

  • Select the folder where to copy the iPhone photos and hit OK. select photo backup folder prompt

  • The iPhone photos and albums are now backed up to the PC folder of your choice. iphone photos in windows explorer window

  • You may still have lots of iCloud photos that are still not on the iPhone and that CopyTrans Photo could hence not back up. In this case, use CopyTrans Photo to delete form the iPhone the photos you just backed up. This way, you can free up more space on the device. delete iphone photos with copytrans photo

  • Next, on the iPhone, go back to “Settings > iCloud > Photos” and temporarily enable iCloud Photo Library. Make sure that the “Download and Keep Originals” option is checked. enable icloud photo library keep originals option

  • Now go back to the Photos app on the iPhone and watch as more iCloud photos are being downloaded to the iPhone memory in the “All Photos” album. If you have thousands of photos, this may take time. full resolution photos downloading to iphone from icloud

  • Once you have the original versions of your photos loaded on the iPhone, back them up to the PC by repeating steps 11. to 14.

  • When you finally have all photos copied to the PC, don’t forget to disable iCloud Photo Library on the iPhone. disable icloud photo library on ios 9

  • This is how slowly but surely, I regained full access to my photos and copied them from iCloud to my PC.

    Manage and organize iPad photos without iCloud

    Your take

    You updated iOS on your iPhone and enabled iCloud Photo Library without grasping the full extent of what this means? Or iCloud Photo Library was enabled by default and you even didn’t realize that all your images were pushed to iCloud? Did you get off the hook in time? How do you usually manage iPhone photos? What’s your story? Leave a comment in the section below and I’d be happy to respond.

    • Jmg

      I realized the iCloud Photo trap early (probably with iOS7). I’m currently an Amazon Prime member and using their photo storage as a backup to saving them on my PC. MS also has OneDrive which is free, but I’m with you on Apple’s racket to nickel and dime you. It’s insurance in case I’m out and taking lots of pictures and find myself needing to free room before I can dump pictures on my PC, though I will admit to not always deleting the photos after copying them, but I can easily check when I’m out and about which ones I have backed up. And I love that Apple finally lets you select more than one picture at a time, though still peeved at the new deleted folder that doesn’t have a quick empty option.

      • Right, I remember it was not possible to select multiple photos for deletion even on the device Photos app. What a disaster! A behavior that Apple realized was far from optimal and have changed.

    • Lois D

      I thought it was just me not understanding how to use iCloud, and I had planned a trip to the Apple Store for help. Thanks for the explanation. I love my iPhone, but there are definitely idiosyncrasies with Apple products. I found your site/blog looking for ways to back up texts and photos. Thanks for the pertinent information.

      • Hi Louis, it is made complicated enough so you think “it’s just me not understanding how to use iCloud” I agree with that. 🙂

    • Jeri Cornell Feaster

      Thanks for the great explanation of what is going on. I realized this too, some time ago, but the iCloud Photo Library turned itself on again automatically during one of my recent upgrades, so I had to get rid of it once again.

      I use the import photos function native to Windows to upload all photos from my phone about once a month. I plug my iPhone into my PC, then from Windows File Manager, I right click on my iPhone and choose, Import photos and videos. It gives me a chance to label and organize the photos as I upload. I put them in a folder called UNFILED, and later I sort them out from my PC into my permanent organization folders.

      I use a program called CrashPlan to automatically backup my documents, photos, and videos in the background to both an attached external drive, and to CrashPlan’s cloud storage that I pay for. I like having a comprehensive solution that works the same way for all of my important data.

      I do use the My Photo Steam function in iCloud though. It keeps photos from the last 30 days synced on my iPhone, iPad, and PC, and makes it easy to quickly access any current pictures. It is also a good backup in case my phone dies in between uploads to the PC. It does not count against your 5GB iCloud storage total. Say, I want to sell something on ebay. I take a picture with my phone, and a few minutes later I can retrieve it from My Photo Stream folder on the PC to put into my listing without having to find that dang cable and manually upload photos from my iPhone.

      • stephen714

        You say you use the cable and Windows import feature to get your pictures to your PC. I found that this no longer worked after going to iOS 9. One Apple senior tech tells me that’s the way it’s supposed to be with iOS 9 and the next tells me the opposite. The first tech insisted iCloud for Windows was the only way to get my photos to my PC. Against my better judgment, I installed it. And, as expected, it’s behaving more like a virus than a legitimate app. Within a few days it had downloaded 3 copies of every photo. With over 28,000 photos, this was so much data that there was not enough free drive space to run Windows 7. The computer started freezing and even after getting the multiple copies off the computer, I am still getting a BSOD that only started after the iCloud installation. No one at Apple seems to have the slightest idea what to do. The story gets worse and is still in limbo. I’m willing to try this software here and anything out there as long as it’s not made by Apple. iCloud and iTunes are the two weakest links in the closed Apple environment and neither works very well. Just so I know which direction to take, have you had any trouble doing the cable Windows import after iOS 9?

        • Stephen, thanks for sharing your experience. I didn’t even bother trying the Windows import procedure since most of my photos were all located in iCloud as in your case and not on the iPhone. Also, I doubt that Windows import will ever detect your iPhone photo albums. It will simply bulk-import any photos you have left on your iPhone. CopyTrans Photo, on the other hand sees both the iPhone albums and their photo contents.

    • IT Outsourcing China

      Hi Louis,

      I recall that it was impractical to choose numerous photographs for erasure even on the gadget Photos application.I concur with that. Thanks for the Post.

    • Great write-up. I never activated iCloud Photo Library when the update came, because PhotoStream was working just fine for me – getting my photos onto my computer periodically and automatically. However I just noticed that isn’t working either. Now I have to figure out why My Photo Stream isn’t sending photos to my computer!

      • Thanks hikingmike! Regarding Photostream, are you using a Mac computer? Is that where the photos are not sent?

        • No, it is a Windows 7 computer. I wish I knew when it stopped working, it may have been quite a while ago. I would look at the most recent photos there, but I know I have moved some out as well. Thanks for your reply.

    • Rachel Leis

      I’ve just recently realized the error in using the iCloud Photo Library, too. It adjusted to ON after my last upgrade and I couldn’t remember if I was using it before the update or not…I know now that I definitely wasn’t because this is a total headache.

      I’ve purchased the “4-pack deal” of CopyTrans products and have been trying to follow this tutorial for getting my iCloud photos back, but have not been successful. I have almost 3,000 photos on the cloud and I’ve only managed to get back 27 of them using the above method. Going back and forth with the above steps like you mention has not brought back any other photos to back up and then delete. Actually there’s about 5 .png files that I cannot delete in the CopyTrans program, so that’s probably not helping make space.

      Any thoughts or suggestions would be vastly appreciated! Thank you!
      Rachel L.

      • Hi Rachel, the process of taking back what’s yours from iCloud Photo Library could be painful indeed. I’m ready to offer you assistance in recovering all photos. Please contact me directly at copytrans@copytrans.net Thanks!

    • Mikhail CopyTrans

      Hi João, you have several options, but to save full size photos from iCloud into your iPhone, you need to enable ‘Download and Keep Originals’ option. More details about it here: http://www.copytrans.net/support/why-doesnt-copytrans-photo-see-all-the-camera-roll-photos-on-my-iphone/#icloud-photo-options

    • Sam Borg

      I’m about to do the same. Biggest mistake trusting iCloud Photo Library. Now I can’t even download all the full res files even after making 16 GB space on my iPad and telling it to keep copies on iPad. This crap hasn’t worked from the start. I don’t even know how I’m going to get all the hi res photos off iCloud in the first place.

    • Tess

      Help! I took my photos from my IPhone and copied to the ICloud. I got rid of my IPhone because I received credit for it when I bought a new phone. I am now trying to get the photos off the cloud and onto my IPad

      • CopyTrans

        Hi Tess, the article should help you solve the problem. If you have unanswered questions, please write to copytrans@copytrans.net

    • Rubén Cohen Pellico (rucope)

      Thanks for the article. Unfortunately I did not realize that the photos from my iPhone had not actually been imported to the computer. It appeared that all of them were already in my computer. I decided to delete them all – even permanently delete them – to allow for more space on my phone. I did not even know iCloud was turned on.

      I have now lost the pictures of the first weeks of my vacations. A total loss…

      • CopyTrans

        Wow! That’s bad, maybe you have a backup of some sort by any chance?

        • Nath

          Oh of course. A backup. And he thought he’d lost them all. But a backup!

          He didn’t think of that.

          Sadly, it’s not surprising he failed to think of the backup he’s got.

          Strangely, many people, like him, seem to lack the basic common sense to understand the self-evident distinctions between Apple’s intuitive and streamlined system for organising photos – and that’s where the problem lies.

          They somehow manage to confuse such vastly different categories as:

          1) Photos in ‘Photos’ on iCloud
          2) Photos on iCloud Drive on iCloud
          3) Photos on Camera Roll
          4) Photos in Photo-stream
          5) Photos referred to as Photo Library
          6) Photos in the Photos app
          7) Photos in the Photos folder in the Photos app
          8) All Photos, the folder found in the Photos app but not in the Photos folder, which appears when Photo Library – which is all your photos – is turned off

          What bit of that are people not getting? Especially considering Apple are patiently explaining the difference day after day, with nineteen new pages of answers to people’s inane queries about photos on Apple just today.

          For instance – let’s take an example. All Photos.

          What is it?

          Er… the clue is in the name. ALL PHOTOS.

          It’s an album which automatically and intuitively combines two collections from the photos on your phone – Camera Roll and PhotoStream – when you simply tap ‘iCloud Photo Library’ on your phone to the off position. Note – there is no collection or album on your phone or iCloud actually called Photo Library – this term is only used on the switch that turns it off, to avoid confusion. This switch lets you stop synching the content of Camera Roll and PhotoStream by making them disappear, and replacing them with a new, simplified, single album containing all the photos that have stopped synching – like PhotoStream photos – combined with other photos that haven’t stopped synching – such as any PhotoStream photos you shared with PhotoStream, which need to be unsynched individually.

          And where is All Photos?

          Er… again. The clue is in the name. ALL PHOTOS.

          It’s in the Photos app. But not in the Photos folder in Photos, obviously, because – do I really need to spell this out? – All Photos isn’t all your photos, or even a collection of photos – it’s an ALBUM. So it’s a folder in the Album folder in Photos, not in the Photos folder.

          To put it simply, it’s basically a handy half-filled album of most of the photos and videos on your phone combined seamlessly with little photos of all the photos and videos you don’t have on your phone. Unless you take and store all your photos on your phone, not iCloud, in which case you won’t have All Photos on your phone – you will have Camera Roll instead, which is all the photos on your phone.

          Think of it as like a library containing a complete set of imitation bookshelves. Or a book of chapter headings. It smoothly and seamlessly integrates the random selection of actual photos downloaded on your phone with tiny little photos of your other photos – so you can’t tell they aren’t there. Unless you click on them – in which case it will automatically download them to your phone if you have room. But you don’t – or they would already have downloaded. So you simply delete some of the photos that iCloud has downloaded to make room for the ones you want. But this will delete the photos from all your devices and iCloud too – so just make sure you don’t want the photos you moved from your phone to iCloud so it can download them to your phone – because they will be removed from everywhere, forever.

          The confusion over All Photos arises because people crazily assume it is all your photos. It’s not. Technically, it’s not even all the photos on your phone. It’s a selection of some of the photos on iCloud, chosen by iCloud, mixed seamlessly with very small photos of the rest of the photos you used to have on your phone, to show you what it would look like if you had all of them on your phone. And you can download any of them by clicking on them if you have space on your phone – although you don’t because they would have already automatically downloaded if you did – so to download any photo you own simply delete one of the photos chosen by iCloud to download.

          But don’t forget that this will delete the photo from all your devices, not just your phone. So first make sure you switch off iCloud on your phone. The only drawback is that this will, of course, also prevent you from downloading the other photo you were freeing up room for – but that is not what iCloud is designed to do, so I fail to understand why people complain about it.

          So, ok… basics.

          What is ilLoud?

          Put simply, iCloud is a helpful tool designed to seamlessly synch losing data from one device across all your devices, and to prevent the common problem that arises when you buy multiple similar devices from one company – the risk of inadvertently backing something up on one of them. And it also prevents human error creeping in too – because it’s all automatic and uncontrolled. You can’t ever forget to lose all your stuff again – because it will remind you by filling all your devices to capacity at all times and sending you warnings to delete it.

          …So why use iCloud?

          Er… not to sound patronizing, but to simplify iCloud synching, obviously. Your Photos app on your phone will no longer have to actually store your photos in the outmoded, inefficient way it used to before you simply switched iCloud on.

          iCloud is essentially a simple way to free up space on your iCloud – which it does by enabling you to use any device to delete data you can’t store on your devices. Before – you first had to laboriously store data somewhere to be able to delete it. And if any of your devices had spare space – you ran the risk of inadvertently creating a backup.

          So instead – Apple turns all your Apple devices into one device. All as powerful as the least powerful one. It’s like having one TV – but with as many remote controls as you like. Only these remote controls allow you to seamlessly switch from one to another – at the touch of the button.

          And it works so often it’s almost scary.

          To critics of Apple, I can only ask in bemusement: what’s the point of buying multiple devices – if they all work independently and do different, discretely organised tasks? That would be like having one bed to sleep in, and then a completely separate toilet to defecate in. Wouldn’t you rather be enabled to sleep and defecate everywhere – your bed, your toilet, or even your oven? Apple has finally freed us up from the tyranny of the old independent, individualised approach.

          So let’s say… I have a MacBook air, an iPad, and an iPhone. They all do the same thing – but each one is for different purposes.

          The laptop is designed to be light and portable. The iPad is similar but designed to be used on the go. And my iPhone? I can carry it anywhere. It’s literally so small, it can almost fit in the palm of one hand. It’s barely any bigger than the iPhone 5. But with a screen so big it covers the whole screen. It’s arguably more like a small iPad than a big iphone.

          But all this convenience and freedom comes at a cost. Because if you can use one device anywhere – why do you need three? So I’m faced with lugging around three portable devices that all do the same thing – but only using one of them. Not exactly practical.

          But Apple rethought this problem by flipping it on its head and asking: what if you could work on one thing with three devices at once, or nearly all at once, by switching very quickly between them?

          What if this document I’m writing right now, on the device right in front of me – was instantly available on a device I don’t have open in front of me? Like the iPhone stuffed in the bottom of my bag, or the iPad at home? Then I could just stop working on this one – and later on, instantly start working on that one instead. Same document. Same software. Different device. And charger.

          The old technology just couldn’t accommodate that thinking. The ‘solution’ in those days was laughably impractical. It involved me laboriously transferring the data, literally by hand – first unplugging a memory stick or SD from the device I was using, then having to laboriously plug it in to the other device.

          But iCloud solved all that. Now, when I want to switch from using the device I’m using to another device I’m not using, but still to do the same exact thig, I simply move myself physically from one to the other – and instead of lugging the data by hand like a caveman, unplugging it, plugging it etc etc etc – I just find a wifi hotspot, log on… and let iCloud do the carrying!

          Simple – but genius.

          No need to just take one device and its charger everywhere –Now, I can take three. And they all do the same thing.

          OK. OK. I do understand people’s cynicism.

          Genuinely.

          I personally lost photos and videos of such value that I screamed into a pillow when I realized.

          And I still sometimes freeze for a moment in a wave of paralyzing sadness at the thought.

          But now… I understand.

          I’ve seen the light.

          All my precious memories. All gone. From everywhere.

          So streamlined.

          So beautifully simple.

          Thanks to Apple, I finally see.

          One plus one equals zero.

    • Hi, Daisy, please, contact us directly at copytrans@copytrans.net with your log files as recommended here http://www.copytrans.net/support/preparing-log-files-to-contact-support/ and describe what you have already undertaken and what you were trying to do. We’ll see what we can do for you!

    • Khiggins42

      I’m not sure I can agree with the sentiments of this article. Let me contribute a contrasting opinion.

      I find iCloud Photo Library incredibly helpful. It’s the next logical step after Photostream (which was limited to the last 1000 photos on your phone). iCloud Photo Library now gives you the ability to have your entire photo library at your fingertips on your mobile. This is similar to the older iTunes Match feature (not to be confused with the newer iCloud Music Library)–iTunes Match lets me have access to my entire musical library from my mobile (or laptops, of course).

      Speaking of laptops (or desktops)… A best practice is to configure Photos on your main computer to download ALL originals. (And, hand in hand with this, configure your mobile to “optimize space.”) This way you have a local copy of each of your photos (in addition to the copy in iCloud). This means you now have two copies, a pretty good backup plan. You DO have a backup plan, right?

      For those of you struggling with how to get your photos ‘back from the cloud,’ just tell your computer to “Download Originals to this Mac (or PC as the case may be).” This is in the first page of Photos’ settings. I’m not sure I understand the claims of being held hostage.

      As for the gripes against starting to pay a dollar or three per month for the privilege of taking photos… have we forgotten the cost (and inconvenience) of getting photos actually developed in the past? I think a dollar (or three, if you need more space) is a steal given the benefits. You get an automatic backup of your pics, plus auto synching to all your other devices that use your AppleID.

      I’m not shilling for Apple, I just feel that paying a couple bucks to make my photo-taking life easier is a small concession to make. Just my humble opinion.

      • Hi, thank you for sharing your opinion here. We appreciate it a lot.

      • Nath

        I have to disagree with Rina, who thanks you for sharing your opinion.

        Don’t just patronise people going through this hell, or insinuate we are cheap.

        Who said anything about that? When? Where? Address your comments to them, not this article.

        It’s very unpleasant to suggest we are just cheap – when I for instance lost photos and videos of such unspeakable importance I screamed into a pillow for five minutes when I realised.

        And your ‘solution’ is the entire substance of the article.

        Read the article, then provide a rebuttal or counter-evidence.

        Otherwise – don’t call your opinion humble.

        A genuinely humble opinion means you recognise it as ignorant and of little importance – so if you are genuinely humble, don’t share it.

        Shameful behaviour. I hope the sense of inclusion or whatever lame incentive it earns you is worth it.

        But go google the phrase ‘useful idiot’ if you want to learn something.

    • Sunshine Bints

      Please help, what will happen if I turn off the iCloud Photo Library?

    • Kelsi

      Hi there. I have read your article but still need some help. I was previously using iCloud with the optimise storage functionality turned on as I had a 16gig iPhone. I have upgraded to a 128gig iPhone but have run out of iCloud storage so want to download my high res images back from the cloud to the device. I have tried toggling to the ‘download and keep orginals’ function however it keeps saying when I go to turn iCloud Photo Library off, ‘this iPhone was not able to download 1,944 full resolution photos and videos…’. There’s plenty of storage to allow it?

      Any ideas?? So frustrating!

    • Jeanette Priest

      I have 2000+ photos in iCloud and like everyone else is trying to free up space. No one here is talking about flash drives. I have tried HooToo and now Scandisk flash drives. Neither will download more than 3-5 photos from my iphone. I sent Hootoo back and am working with scandisk now. I don’t have a Mac to transfer these too. Can anyone address downloading to a flash drive specifically. Does iCloud some how prevent the download. After several hours of copying the photos most of them (but 3) “failed”. I do not want these photos transferred to my PC either. Thanks

      • Nath

        Hi,

        Yes – iCloud prevents the download. And in fact, even if you have a mac like me it prevents you.

        But there IS a solution I worked out – skip to the bottom, anyone who is trapped like I was in this hellish nightmare….

        But first… anyone who dismissively replies like Khiggins42 did below – by claiming you can just ‘Download Originals to this Mac’ – is wrong (and just another of those very many posters who only sign up to Disqus to make 3-5 comments, one of which is defending Apple – or to follow 3-5 people who only write 3-5 posts, one of which is defending Apple… it’s getting embarassing, guys)

        If you try to download originals you will experience exactly what the article clearly and correctly states and documents – it simply doesn’t work, and in fact holds you to ransom.

        Since Jobs died, Apple now operates as a non-violent mafia – does you favours, gets you indebted, then gets nasty if you try to leave. They have a problem: everyone’s bought an iPhone already. So they can only make money by a) making them stop working so you have to buy a newer one; and even more nastily b) holding your property (data, photos etc) hostage so you can’t leave.

        iCloud is NOT backup – or it would have the option to delete from one device, and keep a BACKUP.

        Why no option? And why no multiple highlighting on the website? And in fact, why just a functionally disabled website – and no app? Actually, there is no department at Apple responsible for iCloud – despite them hard-selling it constantly. It’s a fake product – like mafia lottery tickets or Junk Bonds. It’s all just links to ONE copy stored in a place you have limited access to and they hold the keys to. They offer protection – protection from them. That’s classic mafia.

        All you Apple shills and ‘friends of Tony Yue’, please feel free to film a successful download of 10,000 Original Photos to a mac. I went into the flagship mac store in London and asked them to do it. They tried. But no. After four hours they said they didn’t have a powerful enough computer. If you can’t download 10,000 photos on their own machines – why do they sell that storage? And if you don’t have that many photos – why do you need storage? I got 73 of my 20,000 – they may as well have sent me a finger in the post.

        I have documented all this – so let’s swap evidence, Apple goons. Try me. I double dare you.

        Luckily I found a solution.

        SOLUTION:

        Google.

        It works on phone or computer, but different ways.

        Online:
        iCloud has no app or any other usable interface. Just a website they are gradually removing functions from. Note how people who post a workaround then post again saying its suddenly stopped working. That’s why all the solutions you’ve trawled through don’t work. They disable them. I’ve documented this.
        BUT IT’S A WEBSITE. And Apple can’t control the protocol of the web – so if you log in on Chrome – GOOGLE is in charge. And Apple can’t control it.
        1) Download Chrome if you don’t have it.
        2) Open a chrome window – go in settings (three dots top right, then settings, then ‘advanced settings’ at the bottom
        3) change the download location to your own storage – an SD, a flash, A hard-drive. Anything but the mac you’re using.
        4) Go in the moments bit of icloud – highlight a moment (group of photos) by clicking on the plus that appears if you scroll top right of the moment (otherwise it hides, naturally) – then click download (icon with arrow pointing down)
        5) Repeat with all your moments. Start with most recent and work back – or it will mysteriously start crashing after a couple.

        Phone:
        2) download google drive app, or google photos. Open a free account (just need an email – really easy) You get 15GB free PLUS free unlimited storage of ‘high’ res photos on top of that – not full res, but close. Or if you have more than 15GB of photos and need them full res – you can pay $2 for a month of 100GB.
        1) Set your phone to download and store all originals to phone – not ‘optimised’ i.e tiny thumbnails – it will fill up with photos then complain it’s full and has more to download. And tell you to delete stuff. Don’t.
        2) go in the google app, select upload all phone camera to your drive
        3) it will now start puttign all the photos on your phone onto google drive whenever you’re on wifi – and never use any phone memory because its all online.
        4) As photos get uploaded, the google apps let you ‘delete from phone to make room’ – and this ONLY deletes them from the phone. It makes it all clear so you won’t mess up. As you delete them, iColud will quickly fill it up with others. BUT THEN THESE WILL ALSO BE UPLOADED TO Google Drive. So just delete from the phone VIA THE GOOGLE APP every time its full – then clear the recently deleted (the google app talks you through this process)
        5) When they’re all uploaded – you can download them easily to your storage from google drive and close your account, or keep the google drive backup if you like it And iCloud can’t do anything at all to stop you. Although when you close icloud and go back in the photo app it will say ‘USE ICLOUD’. Laugh in its face.

        I am now a free man. It works.

        PS – Any shills want to curry favour with their puppet master? Bring it. But FYI ‘No liability’ is not a thing. And I got friends too.

        • Irina CopyTrans

          That’s a very interesting workaround with Google Drive, Nath, thanks for sharing! I’ll definitely try it later today.

          • Nath

            No problem.

            If you have any problems or questions at all just message me. I have zero knowledge about IT but I’ve had to learn the hard way on this issue. I’ll make sure to reply within 24 hours.

    • Sydney

      I always forget to sync my photos to the cloud! Thanks for the post though. I also saw another blog that might be helpful to some of you. Sometimes the most foolproof way of saving photos is by printing them. Maybe I’m just old… but it’s definitely a tried and true method.

      • Nath

        That’s a strange response to the article – I must misunderstand you.

        Do you mind explaining the following so I can see where I’m confused?

        1) Why you reply to an article that details the dangers of syncing to iCloud – by ruefully regretting the fact that you forget to do so.
        Or do you mean that it’s a blessing you forget to sync? In which case, why do you sync at all? It’s not compulsory, however much Apple wish it were.

        2) What you mean by forgetting.
        Given that the definition of synching in Apple usage is an automatic process you don’t need to remember. “Before syncing with iTunes, consider using iCloud or similar services to keep your content automatically up to date on all of your devices”. Either it’s on or off. How can you forget more than once? You only need to remember once. Plus the article makes it clear that you should remember to never switch it on.

        3) What the blog is that you direct people to. You say its helpful – I’d like to read it. Just telling us it exists isn’t much help. I know hidden treasure exists – I just don’t know where 🙂

        4) How people can print photos they can’t access – since this is the substance of the article you are commenting on.

        i’m sorry if I sound rude, I’m just very confused.

        My cynical side thinks: an irrelevant post that misrepresents the article and confuses the issue would be a great smokescreen for anyone who wanted to mitigate the reputational damage the article does to Apple.

        Please prove my cynical side wrong, and explain the meaning and purpose of your post.

        Thank you.

    • carl

      you should have mentioned you need the full version of the software

      • Irina CopyTrans

        Well, we never stated that you only need a trial version 😉

        • The Mummy

          Yeah…you should have mentioned you need the full version of the software

    • Klaus Goldman

      Thanks for your article. I too want out of iCloud. t doesn’t seem to work. There is a blank period in my uploads between March and June for a start – the photos are on my iphone but not on iCloud or my laptop – so if I lose my phone they are all gone. This makes me nervous! When I contacted Apple Support they blamed my upload speed as apparently iCloud has to scan all photos and videos before doing anything (I have over 10,000 photos and so upgraded to pay monthly) – but as far as I can see it is not fit for purpose! So I have followed your instructions… however I have come to a barrier at ‘Online: Point No.4)’ – after highlighting a group of photos in ‘Moments’ and downloading (to my external drive) it only downloads one image from the group. I have tried this a couple of times and same thing happening… so I’m wondering if it is something I am missing, have other people experienced this OR have Apple recently made this escape route more difficult too? Thanks.