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How to upload photos to iCloud to sync across devices

Have peace of mind by backing everything up in iCloud.
May 24, 2022

We’re all eager photographers these days with a camera on our smartphone just a click away. So it’s easy to build up a collection of thousands of photos, many of which will contain treasured memories. This is why you need to back it all up to cloud storage, and for an Apple device, that cloud storage solution is naturally iCloud. Here’s how to upload photos to iCloud so you can have them on all your devices.

Read more: How to create an iCloud account


To upload images to iCloud, go to your Photos settings on your Apple device, go to the iCloud section, and switch the sync function on. You will also need to decide if you want optimized versions kept on your device or the full versions.


How to upload images to iCloud from an iPhone or iPad

To ensure your photos are uploaded to iCloud, first make sure you’re logged into iCloud, and you have enough space. Then go to Settings–>Photos.

ios settings Photos

Toggle iCloud Photos to green, switching it on.

ios enable icloud photos

Two new options will now appear. Optimize iPhone Storage will leave lower quality copies of your images on your phone, and upload the full-size originals to iCloud. This is the best choice if you don’t have a lot of space on your phone. On the other hand, Download and Keep Originals will keep the originals on your phone and in iCloud. You should only do this if you have the space on your device.

ios settings icloud photos options

After making your selections, your photos will begin uploading to iCloud and sync across your other devices.

How to upload images to iCloud from a Mac

On a Mac computer, open the Photos app and go to Photos–>Preferences.

macos photos preferences link

In the iCloud tab, tick iCloud Photos to begin the uploading and syncing process. Also, choose whether you want full-sized versions of everything on your Mac, or smaller optimized versions.

macos photos icloud tab

Manually uploading a photo to iCloud on a Mac

If you are sent a photo, say by email, and you want to put it in iCloud, here’s how to do it.

macos add to photos

Go to the picture in Finder and right-click. Go to Share–>Add to Photos. The photo will now be uploaded to iCloud and appear in your synced Apple photo albums.

Read more: How to use iCloud on your Android device


There are several possibilities. One is that you don’t have enough iCloud space, so you will need to make some space by cleaning out or upgrading. Second, you may not have the automatic sync turned on. Third, some image formats such as TIFF and RAW are not supported.

Likely because the sync feature has been paused. If you have Low Power Mode enabled on your device, switch it off. Alternatively, go to your Apple Photos app, scroll to the bottom and select Resume, next to where it shows you how many photos and videos you have. If iCloud is syncing a large video file, that can also hold things up.

No, but if you share a photo or video in an iCloud Shared Album, it will be compressed to make it easier to send. If you want to share an uncompressed version of the file, send it by email.