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How to turn on iCloud Photo Library on your iPhone (2022)

How to turn on iCloud Photo Library on your iPhone

The iCloud Photo Library or iCloud Photos is a part of iCloud Storage that tends to your photos and videos. There you can sync your media files kept on internal storage and keep them in online storage. That way they are accessible across devices sharing the same Apple ID but, unlike some other cloud services, iCloud Photos just marginally save storage space. If you delete photos on your iPhone, they get deleted on iCloud Photos, too. Learn how to turn on the iCloud Photo Library and more, below.

How do I activate the iCloud Photo Library?

You can turn on the iCloud Photo Library in Settings > Your account > iCloud > Photos. Just enable the “Sync this iPhone” toggle. The iCloud Photo Library will then sync all iPhone photos to iCloud. You have a choice between Optimize iPhone Storage and Download and Keep Originals.turn on icloud photo library

If you select Optimize iPhone Storage, full-resolution photos and videos will sync to iCloud while the lower-resolution versions will be available on the internal storage. As a preview option with the intention to save some internal storage space. If you select Download and Keep Originals, both iCloud and internal storage will keep photos and videos in their original quality and size.

Remember that free 5GB of iCloud Storage will fill up fast (which leads to those annoying iCloud storage notifications, which you can’t turn off). Especially if you record a lot of high-resolution videos. Because iCloud Photos share storage with iCloud Drive and iCloud Backup. So, you might consider upgrading the iCloud Storage if you prefer taking your videos in 4K. Or you’ll keep getting that annoying iCloud Storage notification on your iPhone when your storage gets nearly full.

Sadly, there’s no option to choose upload quality as the iCloud Photo Library keeps photos and videos only in their original size. That would definitely save some space if you’re on the budget. This sort of limits the usefulness of iCloud Photos for avid photographers unless they, of course, buy an iCloud+ subscription. Which, truth to be told, isn’t too expensive as you can get 200GB for $3/month.

In comparison, Google Photos offer free 15GB from the get-go and it actually works as a cloud service. If you back up your photos or videos and delete them, they’ll still stay in Google Photos. But, as you can assume, Google’s service is not as well integrated with Apple’s ecosystem as iCloud Photos. You can’t even make Google Photos your default Photos app on the iPhone. And that’s the biggest forte of the first-party services, especially if you use multiple Apple devices under the same Apple ID.

In addition, there’s the Shared Library option that allows you to share your photos and videos with up to 5 people who can add, edit, or delete content. Or, with Shared Albums, you can create and share specific albums with anyone. Quite useful if you want to share your albums with your family or friends.

You can set up Shared Library and enable Shared Albums in Settings > Photos.

In the end, if you want to disable the iCloud Photo Library, just go to Settings > Photos and disable iCloud Photos. If your photos get stuck uploading to iCloud, disabling and re-enabling the service should help.  With that said, we can conclude this article. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below. As always, we look forward to hearing from you.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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