iCloud Photos will integrate with the built-in Photos app on Windows 11 in November

This integration will allow you to access any iCloud photos and videos from your iPhone within Microsoft’s built-in Photos app on Windows 11.

Screenshot showcasing upcoming iCloud Photos integration in Windows Photos
iCloud Photos in the Photos app on Windows 11 | Image: Microsoft
  • What’s happening? Microsoft has announced that its built-in Photos app on Windows 11 will soon let you browse your iCloud Photos.
  • Why care? The current solution is cumbersome. It doesn’t sync edits to photos and videos made on a PC computer back with iCloud.
  • What to do? Wait until November, when this feature will launch. If you’re enrolled in the Windows Insiders program, you can start using this feature today.

iCloud Photos is coming to the Photos app on Windows 11

The upcoming iCloud Photos integration with the stock Photos app on Windows 11 was officially announced on the Microsoft blog on October 12, 2022.

The integration with iCloud Photos and the built-in Photos app in Windows 11 will allow users to access all the photos and videos from their iPhone right within Windows Photos. Read: Ways to safely back up your iPhone photos and videos

Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer for Surface devices:

The iCloud photos integration is an incredible game changer, I love that my daughter Bella is so excited for this. It literally removes a barrier for her, now she’ll easily be able to access all her pictures from iCloud right on her Windows PC.

The Windows maker says that this integration won’t require any special app.

How will this integration work?

You’ll simply install Apple’s iCloud for Windows app [Microsoft Store link] as you normally would, turn on iCloud Photos syncing and be done with it. An upcoming update to Windows 11 will take care of the rest, making any synced iPhone photos and videos appear in the sidebar of Microsoft’s Photos app.

The integration should be seamless, with any changes made to your iCloud photos and videos in the Windows app automatically syncing with iCloud Photos.

How accessing iCloud Photos in Windows currently works

Currently, the iCloud for Windows app downloads your iCloud photos and windows to a dedicated folder on your Windows PC. You can access these items by launching File Explorer and clicking iCloud Photos in the navigation pane (alternatively, click Pictures in the navigation page and then double-click iCloud Photos).

Although changes made to an iCloud photo or video on an Apple device or iCloud.com appear automatically on Windows, it doesn’t work the other way round.

Apple acknowledges this restriction in a support document.

“If you edit a photo or video on your Windows computer, those edits don’t appear on your Apple devices or on iCloud.com,” it cautions. “If you want the edited file added to iCloud Photos, upload it as a new file.”

Microsoft hasn’t confirmed this but the wording does suggest that the upcoming iCloud Photos integration with Windows Photos will support two-way sync.

When will Windows Photos integrate with iCloud Photos?

If you participate in the Windows Insider program, which lets you test pre-release builds of Windows, you can test this integration starting today. “It’s seamless, just install the iCloud for Windows app from the Microsoft Store and choose to sync your iCloud Photos,” says the Windows maker.

If you don’t want to test beta software on your PC, you’ll need to wait until sometime in November when this feature will roll out to all users as part of an upcoming Windows 11 update. “Available to Windows Insiders beginning today, this experience will become available to all customers on Windows 11 in November,” the company notes. Read: How to access iCloud Photos on iPhone, iPad, Mac and the web

Keep it coming, Microsoft

Microsoft made other news today that concerns Apple folks with the announcement that a native Apple Music app for the Xbox one and Xbox S/X consoles is now available to download [Microsoft Store link]. On top of that, Microsoft has confirmed that the official TV app from Apple will launch on Windows next year, with previews of these apps hitting Microsoft Store later this year.

“We can’t wait for you to be able to listen to your favorite music, playlists and more from Apple Music, and watch your favorite Apple TV+ series and movies, right on your Windows PC,” the Windows giant teased.