How to back up photos to iCloud from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac

By Jennifer Still

If you're someone who loves taking photos and owns an Apple product, it's great to know that your device offers a considerable amount of storage space for your images regardless what model you have. 

But if something happens to your phone, you don't want to lose all your precious photos. That's why it's important to back up your photos, and iCloud is a great way to back up from iPhone, iPad, or Mac devices. 

It's quick and easy to use iCloud to back up your photos and it can even be automated. Here's how to do it. 

How to back up photos to iCloud from iPhone or iPad

1. On an iPhone or iPad running iOS 10.3 or later, open the Settings app. 

2. Tap on your name at the top of the Settings menu to go to your Apple ID page. 

Screenshot of iPhone Settings app homepage
Select your name at the top of the Settings page.
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3. Tap iCloud

Screenshot of Apple ID page on iPhone Settings app
Go to "iCloud."
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4. In the Apps Using iCloud section of the iCloud page, tap Photos

Screenshot of iCloud page in Settings app
On the iCloud page, go to "Photos."
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5. At the top of the Photos page, tap the button next to iCloud Photos, turning it from grey to green. 

Screenshot of Photos page in iPhone Settings app
Tap the button next to "iCloud Photos" to turn it green.
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6. Once you turn on iCloud Photos, every photo you take will automatically be uploaded to your iCloud account in full resolution. 

You can download the original copies of your photos from iCloud by tapping Download and Keep Originals on the Photos page. From there, you can transfer the photos from your iPhone to another device or drive if needed. 

How to back up photos to iCloud from a Mac

1. Open System Preferences on your Mac, which you can do by clicking the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your toolbar and selecting System Preferences in the drop-down. 

2. On a Mac running macOS Catalina 10.15 and above, click Apple ID in the top-right corner of System Preferences. 

Screenshot of Mac System Preferences homepage
In System Preferences, click "Apple ID."
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3. On the Apple ID page, click iCloud in the menu on the left. 

4. Under Apps on this Mac using iCloud, check the box next to Photos

Screenshot of "Photos" button on iCloud page of Mac System Preferences
On the iCloud page, click the box next to "Photos."
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