Home How To Guides How To Download iCloud Photos to PC – 3 Easy Steps!

How To Download iCloud Photos to PC – 3 Easy Steps!

written by Tiia / Fangirl Quest January 18, 2017

If you’re the unfortunate user of an iPhone + PC + Windows combination like I am, then you might have had the same problem at some point as I’ve had today: you have no idea how to download iCloud photos to your PC, all at once, without saving them one by one. In my case, due to laziness and lots of traveling in the past few months, I now have 7,500 photos on there that I really need to get “back”.

I tried logging on to iCloud.com, but apparently, this newest version only lets you pick one photo at a time and then download it. Ain’t nobody got time for dat! Next, I tried getting my photos back via my phone, but that didn’t really work either. After endless googling and surfing the Apple support groups I think I found the solution: a secret little download button on my very computer!

So, just in case anyone else is struggling with this, here’s some directions to…

How to download iCloud photos to your PC

1. Download the iCloud app for PC. First, you’ll need to install the iCloud manager app from this page. Once you’ve installed it and logged in, it should look something like this:

How to download iCloud photos to your PC

Downloading photos from iCloud to PC: this is how!

2. Take a look in the lower corner of your screen. Fingers crossed this will work for you too, now: as instructed by another friendly user on the Apple support forum, you’ll now have to look to the lower left corner of your screen. You know, down where your printer / clock / battery and all that other little info resides.

See the little iCloud logo? For me, it looks like this.

Photos from iCloud to PC

This icon is the one you’re looking for.

3. Next, click on it! It should offer you the following options:

iCloud Photos: download photos / upload photos

And once you click on the “download photos” one, it should give you the option of selecting all of your iCloud photos or year titled folders. From there it’s easy breezy, just leave your laptop as it is and it’ll eventually sort out your photos into your iCloud Photos / Downloads folder (located under your iCloud folder).

I’m currently in the process of downloading my 7,500 photos and so far, it’s looking good.

By the way… I swear they’re not all selfies. I just pretty much take photos of everything I see when traveling. But from now on, I might choose to transfer them manually onto my computer so I stay a bit more organized!

Happy downloading 😘


PS: Do let me know if this worked for you. Please also note that this worked for me with the current iOS, the current version of iCloud and a Windows PC laptop – it might not work later (in which case, I’d appreciate if you’d let me know so I can make a note in this post!) or might not work with other combinations. 

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Cass L'Hotellier February 12, 2017 at 3:41 am

Thank you! I was having this exact same problem and this solution works. :-)

Tiia / Fangirl Quest February 12, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Amazing!! Really cool that you found this – I battled with the problem for HOURS and got super annoyed :D

jane June 19, 2018 at 11:38 am

You are amazing I have spent hours trying to sort this and its been most frustrating..for me I have my last photos of my dad who died suddenly a few days after we saw him and I have been getting very upset….so thank you thank you !!

Chantelle February 12, 2017 at 6:48 am

Thank you so much. I’ve been trying for a day now to solve this and this worked for me too 😃

Tiia / Fangirl Quest February 12, 2017 at 12:25 pm

AWESOME! I knew this might help a few people struggling with the same thing! We’ll have to see how long it takes for them to make it a bit easier for all of us… :)

Barbs February 16, 2017 at 3:06 am

Thanks!! As others before me previously stated…I’ve been trying to do this for days…
BUT, I still have a problem. I don’t have enough storage space on my PC to hold all the photos, so I am trying to figure how to change the destination of the download to my flash drive (G:) which has 128g available. (My photos = 85g) Can you help me with this? THANKS in advance.

Tiia / Fangirl Quest June 26, 2017 at 3:59 pm

Ugh, sorry, I’ve only seen this now (odd!). You might not need my advice anymore but just in case someone else reads the thread: if you’re unable to choose the destination folder, maybe transfer some of your other files onto the external drive while you do the download? Bit of a hassle but all that I can think of right now :)

MattS May 15, 2017 at 9:58 pm

Question. When you perform this feature, does it download the pictures with the time/date they were taken? In other words, a time stamp? Thanks in advance for answering my questions.

Tiia / Fangirl Quest June 5, 2017 at 11:37 am

I’m pretty sure it organized them in monthly folders, or at least the photos themselves save the same data as they had on the phone – so easy to organize by date on the computer etc. :)

Janson June 4, 2017 at 10:21 pm

Unfortunatley for me it just has two options. 1. go to icloud.com 2. Open icloud settings. This is the most ridiculous shit i have ever seen. I am doing this to help my girlfriend transfer her photos to google (where it’s free). I own an Android and would NEVER contemplate getting an iphone after this bag of crap.

Tyler June 23, 2017 at 11:11 pm

You have to click on go to iCloud settings click on the box next to photos then click apply and then it will give you the option as the article above states to download photos

Diana October 16, 2017 at 9:09 pm

OMG thank you soooo much!

Linda June 11, 2017 at 2:12 am

It worked, thank you so much!

Tiia / Fangirl Quest June 12, 2017 at 10:53 am

Oh yay! Happy to know some people find this useful as I was really really struggling with it myself :)

Maureen June 12, 2017 at 9:40 pm

Curious – after I click download it says it’s preparing to download and could take some time.
It’s been several hours now. Does this seem correct?

Tiia / Fangirl Quest June 13, 2017 at 11:41 am

Oh, hmm. I don’t think it took THAT long for me. Only a few minutes or so. Sorry, I have no idea why that would be :O

Maureen June 13, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Thanks!! Will try again.

lilla June 15, 2017 at 4:43 am

this is what is happening to me – did you figure it out, Maureen?

Amber Graham July 24, 2017 at 5:07 pm

same thing is happening for me. any solutions?

Mary June 18, 2017 at 1:45 am

Doesn’t work on my PC Laptop. It says it does – the icon comes up the box pops up and allows me to choose which pictures I want by year etc, then it creates a folder…then it’s empty. Ive tried a dozen different times and waited a few hours to see if it was because it was a lot of pictures. Unfortunately it won’t work :-(

Tiia / Fangirl Quest June 26, 2017 at 3:58 pm

Oh no! Too bad I can’t really help as I’m no pro when it comes to iCloud :( I would advice contacting Apple – they’ve been very lovely with the few problems I’ve had in the past.

Kathy July 10, 2017 at 9:58 pm

This same thing is happening when I try this method. Did you happen to get it figured out Mary?

Mary June 18, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Thank you SO MUCH for this post. This worked when nothing else did. You rock!

Tiia / Fangirl Quest June 26, 2017 at 3:56 pm

Awesome, yay! Good to know the trick still works and they haven’t changed anything :)

Richard June 26, 2017 at 6:42 am

Yes!!!! Finally, someone smarter than me figured this out for me/us. We had an iCloud account for years, and always just logged in via the website — it never occurred to us that the PC app would help in this task. A MILLION THANK YOUS!!!!

Tiia / Fangirl Quest June 26, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Amazing! I’m so happy to hear I wasn’t the only one who needed this trick :)

Kip July 12, 2017 at 5:31 am

Amazing job aid, thank you. Yes, depending on how many pics and videos are on your phone (and your internet speed) it could take hours for your “my pictures” folder to fully upload all your pics and videos. Be patient – they all come through. Once again, thanks.

MMS July 29, 2017 at 8:10 am

THANK YOU so much for this! You are so much more helpful than any of the Apple support people have been!

Narik July 31, 2017 at 4:46 pm

thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve been trying off/on for months to find the answer to this. you just made me so very happy!

Andrew August 8, 2017 at 6:19 pm

I am getting huge temp files accumulating in Users/{name}/appdata/local/apple inc/cloudkit/icloud photos/MMCS, like hundreds of Gb’s. I left it to download overnight and it left just 50Mb on my laptop which would barely function. The hard drive had 300Gb free when i started to download my 55Gb of photos. I can delete the temp files to get the laptop running again but then it won’t continue the download. Instead it makes a xx(1) folder and does them all again until it fills the hard drive again and falls over. Win 7 64 Bit PC Laptop. Anyone else have storage issues way beyond the size of the actual pics you are trying to get hold of?

Jeff November 9, 2017 at 5:00 am

ANDREW, did you get an answer or find a solution to this problem with temp files? I have same issue. I free up 4GB and it downloads 1 item and my hard drive is full again. I’m fairly certain this is Apple punishing Windows users…although they fail to realize they’ve already got me to get an iPhone…

Doug August 20, 2017 at 1:26 am

Worked great, thanks!

Jeffrey October 11, 2017 at 12:09 am

This was what I ended up doing but, the problem is I have almost 500 photos missing seems like it takes a while and it downloads like a hundred at a time.

Lana October 24, 2017 at 7:34 pm

I did get that far the other night, but keeps saying
It may take a while to prepare a large library for the first time, I will give it an hour and see what happens!
But I’m so going to leave apple, as this is so rubbish
They are so MY photos and I should be able to download them easily onto MY laptop

Lynn January 16, 2018 at 5:25 am

I feel the same way (and I’m also having the same problem with waiting for the library to prepare). This is complete rubbish. It shouldn’t be this hard to get my own photos. I’ve spent my whole day on this and it’s been a huge headache, as I have 10k photos. Not worth it. I’m done with the cult of Apple and will be switching back to Android in the future. I never had problems getting my photos with an Android phone. I’m completely turned off by this.

Gregory White December 27, 2017 at 10:13 am

OMG after hours of failing & searching, the your Step 2 did the trick! Thanks so much.

Tiia / Fangirl Quest December 29, 2017 at 3:40 pm

YAY!! Glad you found our page & got help :)

chris December 29, 2017 at 3:57 pm

SO this works for a bit… after downloading icloud and selecting all photos from icoud it downloads like 80 pics to my windows 10 and then stops syncing. anybody any news for this?

Sondra January 7, 2018 at 12:37 am

Thank you so much! this is the first real solution I’ve been able to find that actually WORKS! The oldest photos have already downloaded and I’ll download the newer photos and videos overnight. Bless you and thanks for sharing!

Maddy January 26, 2018 at 5:55 pm

so, hopefully someone can advise on this! I’ve followed the instruction, all good so far – i know have folders showing with the years of the photos, fine, however…. there is nothing in them- and nothing to show the photos are downloading? how can i get the photos actually in the folders its created?! any help would be very appreciated!

Ofaim February 7, 2018 at 4:27 pm

@MADDY, Take a look on this tutorial: https://www.tomsguide.com/us/how-to-download-icloud-photos,news-24697.html
I suppose you’ve missed steps 14-16 (or 9-11).

Good luck!

Murat February 14, 2018 at 8:51 pm

Thank you very much. Especially screenshots helped a lot.

Natalia March 16, 2018 at 5:16 am

Thank you, this worked for me.

Rachel April 29, 2018 at 7:11 pm

THANK YOU!! I was going crazy so thank you for saving my time. :)

Rachel April 29, 2018 at 7:12 pm

THANK YOU!! I was going crazy so thank you for saving my time. Now I can get on and get back to my yoga mat. :)

L April 30, 2018 at 5:46 pm

THANK YOU!!!! I have been trying to figure out how to do this as well. Apple is so not user friendly. I would get them to download but lost my original date taken.

Anne May 6, 2018 at 11:33 am

Question: how does it label/name the photos once downloaded? How easy is it to then organize them by month and year once downloaded? I have approx 20,000 to download from Icloud… Thanks.


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