The advent of camera phones means we’re taking more photos ever before. But so many photos can’t fit on one device, that’s why you need to know how to view iCloud photos on iPhone.
Apple’s iCloud service is life changing. Many users struggle to get their head around cloud storage, but they probably enjoy its benefits every day. iCloud carries out numerous invaluable services behind the scenes.
It syncs important data across our devices: contacts, calendars, reminders, notes, and more. It backs up files, apps, messages and other data — making it easy to upgrade or replace our devices. And with iCloud Photo Library, it keeps a complete collection of our photos online, accessible from anywhere.
iCloud Photo Library combines photos from all your Apple devices into a single library, uploading it to iCloud for remote access. That means a photo taken on your iPad is available on your Apple TV. Or pictures imported from a digital camera onto your MacBook are downloaded to your iPhone.
If you haven’t already, check out this post explaining more about iCloud Photo Library and why it’s an invaluable tool for protecting your memories. It also shows you how to turn on iCloud Photo Library and start benefitting right away.
Once you’ve stored all your photos in the cloud, you need to know how to view iCloud photos on iPhone? That’s what this post is all about, and don’t worry: the answer’s pretty simple.
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Use the Photos App
The Photos app on iPhone has always been the go-to place to revisit memories. That doesn’t change with iCloud Photo Library turned on. Launch the Photos app to view iCloud photos on iPhone. You’ll find your up-to-date iCloud Photo Library ready and waiting.
Any changes made to your photo library on one device are reflected across all the others. Whether editing individual pictures or creating new albums. That means you need to be particularly careful when deleting pictures — you don’t want to lose them for good.
What to Do if Photos Are Missing
Have you ever bragged about an awesome photo you took only to fail at finding it missing from your library? With iCloud Photo Library that could happen for a few different reasons. It can be frightening at first — the fear that a once-in-a-lifetime photo is lost. Fortunately, that’s rarely the case. Here are some things to try if photos are missing from your iCloud Photo Library.
1. Wait for the Upload to Complete
The most common cause for photos to be missing is that they haven’t finished uploading to iCloud. Revisit the original device, the one you took the photo on to see if it’s still there. If so, you can rest assured that it isn’t lost — you simply need to upload it to iCloud.
This is an automatic process that your device will complete whenever it has enough battery power and a Wi-Fi connection. At the bottom of the Photos app, you should find a message informing you of any photos that are waiting to upload. You might be able to prompt them into action here at the risk of draining your battery. Or, keep your iPhone connected to power and Wi-Fi overnight. The photos should be uploaded by morning.
Usually, it’s just a case of waiting for your device to do its thing. Once the photos are on iCloud, they’ll be accessible on all your other devices as well.
2. Test Your iPhone Internet Connection
If your photos are definitely on iCloud — you check by viewing your full iCloud Photo Library online — but they aren’t on your iPhone, you might need to test your internet connection.
To view iCloud photos on iPhone needs an internet connection to download any new photos added to iCloud Photo Library. Without a connection, your latest photos won’t appear in the Photos app. Try loading a website in Safari to check your iPhone internet connection. If relying on Mobile Data, you’ll also want to ensure that Mobile Data is switched on for photos.
Turn on Mobile Data for Photos:
- Go to Settings > Mobile Data
- Scroll down to Photos and tap to turn on
- Note: The extra data usage may incur additional charges from your network
3. Make Sure that iCloud Photo Library is On
Check that iCloud Photo Library is turned on for all the relevant devices. Also, ensure they are using the same Apple ID account. Accidentally registering with different Apple ID’s results in multiple photo libraries.
You need to turn iCloud Photo Library on for any device that you take, or view, photos on. That means if you want to view your iPad photos on your Apple TV then iCloud Photo Library must be turned on for both of them.
What to Do if iCloud Photos Are Blurry
Blurry iCloud photos are the result of iPhone Storage Optimization. This feature saves iPhone storage by downloading only low-resolution images. That means the pictures appear blurry when you view them.
If your iPhone is connected to the internet it will download a full-resolution image from iCloud when you open the photo. This is shown by a ring filling up in the bottom right corner. Once completed, the image will pop into focus and remain in full quality on your device for a few days.
For many people, Optimize iPhone Storage is a necessary feature as their iCloud Photo Library is too large to keep on their device. However, you can turn the feature off if you have enough free space and you’re fed up with blurry photos. To do so, visit the Photos section in Settings. It may take some time to download all of your pictures, but once completed you’ll never be confronted with blurred memories again.
Now you know how to view iCloud photos on iPhone, you should check out Apple’s latest campaign to help us take better pictures. In the meantime, feel free to ask any questions you’ve got about iCloud, photo libraries, or anything else!
If you find iCloud hard to understand, you are not alone.
We have produced a video that shows 15 Basic Tips and Tricks around using iCloud. Check it out and Subscribe!
Dan is a freelance writer based in South West England.
He spent two years supervising repairs as a Genius Admin for Apple Retail and uses that knowledge to keep our troubleshooting guides up-to-date.
Long before that, Dan turned to Apple products from a musical background. Having owned iPods for years, he bought a MacBook to learn sound recording and production. It was using those skills that he gained a first-class Bachelor of Science in Sound Technology.