How to Access Your iCloud Photos on Any Device

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If you back up photos from your Apple device to iCloud (and you should), you might be wondering how to access those photos in iCloud itself. The answer is surprisingly simple.

Read more: How to Create an iCloud Account

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To access your iCloud Photos on an iOS device or Mac, simply open the Pictures application. Everything in the Photos app will have been automatically backed up to iCloud, and any deletions will also immediately reflect in iCloud. The only exception is if you have disconnected your device from iCloud. To see your current photo backup in iCloud, sign in to iCloud.com and go to Pictures section.


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How to Access iCloud Photos on an iOS or Mac Device

For an iOS device or Mac, the rule of thumb is that anything you see in the Photos app will also be in iCloud. Unless you explicitly turn off the iCloud sync feature in your device settings, any photo you take with your camera will be automatically uploaded to your logged in iCloud account.

ios enable icloud photos

Additionally, any deletions you make on your device will also be reflected in your iCloud account more or less immediately. If you want to prevent deleted photos on your device from being deleted on iCloud, you will need to disconnect your device from iCloud Photo Sync. Of course, this is a temporary measure — as soon as you log back into iCloud, your deletions will sync.

How to Access iCloud Photos on the Web

If you want to see what pictures you have in your iCloud account, you can also look on the web. By signing in to iCloud.com, you can view your current albums and more.

icloud.com photos
icloud.com photo album

The only way to do this is to disconnect your device from iCloud, so that it cannot sync. However, once you reconnect your device to iCloud, all deletions on your device will be synced to your iCloud account. If you want to keep photos in the cloud and off your phone, it would be better to transfer them to another cloud service like Dropbox or Google Photos.

No, your files are private for you only. Even with Family Sharing, other plan members can’t see each other’s files. The only way to show photos would be to create a shared family album. But each person must commit to it. So no one can see your photos without you knowing.

If you permanently deleted the photos from iCloud, there is no way to recover them. However, if you’ve deleted them from your device within the last 30 days, they’ll be in your Recently Deleted folder on iCloud.com.

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