If you have an iPhone, the best service for storing photos and videos is undoubtedly iCloud. Apple’s cloud solution provides the best system integration and features, plus it seamlessly syncs across all your Apple devices, such as iPhone, iPad, and Mac. However, things get more complicated if you use an iPhone and a Windows PC. In such a case, iCloud Photos sync with a PC becomes tedious and less apparent. How do you sync iCloud photos to a PC? The answer to those questions is simpler than you might think. This article will show you several methods to sync iCloud Photos to Windows 10 and 11.
Sync iCloud Photos to PC on Windows 10
Unlike macOS and iOS/iPadOS with built-in iCloud Photo applications, you need the official iCloud app to sync iCloud Photos with Windows 10 and 11. You can download it for free from the Microsoft Store.
Note. You cannot sync iCloud Photos to a PC running Windows 10 or 11 if you use a managed Apple ID. iCloud for Windows supports only personal Apple accounts (IDs).
- Go to the Microsoft Store using this link and download the iCloud app for Windows. Wait for Windows to install the app. It is worth noting that Apple no longer allows downloading iCloud for Windows from its official website. If you want to sync iCloud Photos to PC, the Microsoft Store is your only option.
- Open the Start menu and launch the iCloud app. You can also use search to locate iCloud for Windows.
- Log in with your Apple ID.
- Place a checkmark next to the Photos option.
- Click Apply and wait for the iCloud app to sync your data.
- Open File Explorer and click iCloud Photos on the left pane. You might need to wait more before all your iCloud images appear in File Explorer. The exact waiting time will depend on how many photos you have, how powerful your computer is, and how fast your internet connection is.
It is worth noting that you need an active internet connection to view iCloud Photos on Windows after signing in. Windows 10 and 11 do not download all your images automatically, leaving only previews for faster navigation. You will spot a cloud icon next to each photo or video that is not ready for offline use. Right-click a file and select Always keep on this device to download iCloud Photos on Windows 10 or 11. To sync all iCloud Photos to your PC, press Ctrl + A, then right-click and select Always keep on this device. Note that you might need to select Show more options before the option appears in the context menu on Windows 11.
You might be interested to take a look at our article on how to transfer photos from PC to iPhone.
How to Sync iCloud Photos on Windows 11?
In addition to the previous method, those using Windows 11 have another option to sync iCloud Photos. Microsoft recently announced a new version of the default Photos app with iCloud Photos support. You can view and sync your iCloud Photos on Windows 11 directly in the Photos app, which makes organizing and viewing images much easier and more convenient.
- Launch the Photos app and click iCloud Photos on the left pane. Update the app in the Microsoft Store if the option is not available.
- Click Get iCloud for Windows.
- Confirm installing the app in a Microsoft Store popup.
- Launch the iCloud app and sign in with your Apple ID.
- Place a checkmark next to the Photos option.
- Return to the Photos app and wait for Windows to sync your iCloud Photos.
Now you can view and manage all your iCloud Photos from a single place.
How to Sync iCloud Photos to PC?
Here is a less straightforward but still working method. It involves downloading your iCloud Photos to your iPhone or iPad and copying them to your computer via a USB cable.
- Make sure you have enough space on your iPhone to sync all photos and videos from iCloud Photos to PC. Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage to check the situation.
- Go to Settings > Photos and tap Download and keep originals.
- Go to the Photos app and check how many photos and videos your iPhone has to download. We strongly recommend connecting to Wi-Fi and plugging your phone into a power source.
- Wait for your iPhone to finish downloading your iCloud Photos.
- Connect your iPhone to a PC via a Lightning cable.
- Once prompted, tap Allow.
- Press Win + E to open File Explorer and click This PC.
- Open Apple iPhone.
- Copy everything inside the DCIM folder whenever you want to store your iCloud Photos.
- Sit back and wait for the process to complete. The amount of time it takes depends on how many photos and videos you have on your iPhone. Also, since Apple is still using USB 2.0, moving large videos and vast numbers of images will take a while.
One More Way to Sync iCloud Photos on Windows
The Microsoft Store app is unavailable on older Windows versions, making it harder to sync iCloud Photos with Windows 7 and 8. Even though you can get the iCloud app from the official Apple website, some of its features are only available on Windows 10 and newer. Still, that does not mean you cannot sync iCloud Photos with Windows 7, and it is possible as long as you have a modern and supported browser.
- Open your preferred browser (Chromium-based browsers work the best) and navigate to the official iCloud website.
- Sign in with your Apple ID.
- Click Photos.
- Select the iCloud Photos you want to sync with Windows, then click the download button at the top of the screen.
- If you take photos in HEIF, select Most compatible and click download.
That is how you sync iCloud Photos with a Windows PC.