Apple Helps Save Your Memories: 7 Tips For Using iCloud Photo Library

An app that adds to the convenience of Apple’s much-touted ecosystem is iPhotos, which automatically uploads your native photographs to iCloud. You can then access them on any Apple device that uses the same Apple ID.

It saves valuable time by automatically managing your albums, leaving you to worry only about clicking your best photographs. The added convenience of accessing your photos seamlessly across any device, without the hassle of manually transferring them makes iPhotos a must-have app for the average Apple enthusiast. To ensure a glitch-free experience, update your devices to the latest OS. Make sure to set up and log in to iCloud on all of them. 

Here are 7 useful tips and tricks to help you work your way around the app and make maximum use of its features:

1. Free up your device space with iCloud Photos

On activation, iCloud Photos uploads your entire gallery to the iCloud and makes it accessible on any device using the same Apple ID. It gives you a series of options to choose from while uploading your photos to the cloud, which can always be altered under Settings.

If you want the raw versions of your photos and videos to be saved on both the local device and iCloud, choose the Download and Keep Originals option on your device. Make sure that you have sufficient storage space on your device, as photos and videos clicked on an iPhone tend to eat up a huge chunk of your memory. This option is set to off by default on iOS.

Choose Optimize Mac/iPhone storage to store a compressed version of your pictures and videos on the native device. The raw file with resolution and picture quality kept intact is uploaded onto iCloud. Your original files are replaced by a thumbnail on Photos, clicking on which will automatically download the file from iCloud. Keep in mind that you’ll need to save your file locally in order to make edits. It is always advisable to save a local copy on your Mac/PC, as an internet connection is required at all times to access cloud storage. Using

2. Photo Stream instead of iCloud Photos

Photo Stream can also be used to automatically upload your photos to the cloud. You can access them on the My Photos Stream album on connected devices. Photo Stream comes in handy when your system does not meet the minimum requirements to run iCloud Photos (iOS 8.3, OS X Yosemite 10.10.3, or iCloud 5 for Windows) or you do not want to invest extra in storage.

This comes with a few limitations:

  1. Photos saved in My Photo Stream are stored in iCloud for 30 days, post which they are deleted. 30 days is ample time to back up your data manually. 
  2. The local My Photo Stream album on your device displays a maximum of 1000 photos, no matter how many are uploaded to the cloud.
  3. Videos, live photos, and formats such as HEIF and HEVC are not supported on My Photo Stream.
  4. You’ll need an active WiFi connection to use My Photo Stream. The application does not function using cellular data.
  5. Though pictures are stored in full resolution on Mac, they are optimized for iOS or iPadOS devices.

Keeping these limitations aside, Photo Stream comes in handy if you want to stream a recent picture onto let’s say, an Apple TV.

3. Shared Albums

This feature allows you to share digital albums of your favourite pictures and videos with family and friends. All you’ve got to do is to create an album and invite those you want to share it with via email. Subscribers of your album can like and comment on your pictures and even upload their own if permitted.

Photos uploaded on a shared album get synced on all your devices for free for a period of 5 days. The limitations are that you can only store 5,000 photos and videos up to 5 minutes long.

4. The System Library

The first thing you notice after launching Photos is the option to either create a new album or select an existing one. The library you choose is designated as the System Photo Library. This is the library iCloud and iCloud-enabled apps use. Additional photo libraries can be created to clear up space on iCloud Photos and backups. Bear in mind that you can work with only one photo album. 

5. Always Maintain Backups

Drive failures put data saved on your local hard drive at an all-time risk. In order to prove yourself from such instances, it is mandatory to maintain a reliable backup system. It is recommended to maintain an online backup, a duplicate backup on a physical drive, and an offsite backup. Google Photos and Microsoft’s OneDrive are two excellent alternatives to iCloud for maintaining backups.

6. Keep a check on the subscription expiry date

When your iCloud subscription expires, iCloud saves the pictures and videos already stored in its database but stops syncing new files between devices. If you do not renew your subscription, your files will be automatically deleted from the cloud. 

This could be pretty troublesome if iCloud was configured with the Optimize Storage option enabled, as this would leave you only with low resolution copies of your files.

7. iCloud Photos on Windows and the Web

Photos and videos can be accessed by logging into iclouds.com on any device. The website version, although limited, lets you upload, download, view, and delete your photos and videos stored on iCloud. 

You can access it on a Windows PC by downloading the iCloud app from the Windows Store and singing in using your Apple ID. 

Managing the photos we click every day can be a hassle, and maintaining them on any platform can turn out to be difficult and time consuming. iCloud Photos, if used properly, can save the average user a lot of time and effort in keeping photos and videos organized and synced with all your devices. The tips and tricks mentioned above will help you get accustomed to the app’s environment and use it effectively. 

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