iCloud Photo Library

7 simple ways to safely back up your iPhone photos and videos

Child taking a picture of flower using iPhone

I have a friend who nearly lost all of his photos of his daughter. He had his iPhone for just about two years and he took tons of pictures of her. She wasn't even two years old yet, so basically, her whole life was on his iPhone. One day, his phone crashed, and he couldn't figure out what happened to it. His pictures were lost.

He was eventually able to recover his photos, but not without hours of work and days of anxiety. When I asked him why he didn't just back his photos up, he had no good response. Always back up your precious photos. Seriously. Always back up your photos!

Here are a few different ways to back up your photos and videos so you'll never have to face the dreaded lost memories again.

The 3 best Google Photos alternatives to store your photos and videos

Cloud Storage iCloud Limits

Are you looking for a Google Photos alternative now that Google has ended free unlimited photo storage? Worry not, there are plenty of options available for someone who takes a lot of photos and stores them on the cloud. The photos and videos already on Google Photos will still be available, but anything uploaded after June 1st will count towards the free 15GB storage. Of course, you can sign up for a Google One storage plan and get more space. However, there are a couple of better alternatives that you may want to try.

How to hide photos on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Hide a Photo on iPhone X

You don’t always want the photos you capture displayed for all to see. You may have some that are not for a younger audience or others that may hold a surprise for somebody that you want to keep quiet. For whatever reason you have, you can easily hide pictures in Photos.

Here, we’ll show you how to hide Photos on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac and where to find them once you do. Plus, you’ll see how to unhide those tucked away photos should you decide to later.

How to restrict library access to your Photos on iPhone and iPad

Photos Restrict Library Access iPad

Your photos contain data, and it may be data that you don’t want to share. This can include details like location or the date and time it was taken. So if you allow apps to access Photos, like a social media or chat communication app, they could have access to details about the photo that you prefer they didn’t.

Thankfully, you have the ability to restrict photos from being used by third-party apps. This is an improvement over the basic Read and Write access before iOS 14. If you’re ready to put some limitations on your pictures and videos, here’s how to restrict library access to other apps in Photos.

I am finally overcoming my iCloud Photos fears

Since the dawn of iCloud Photo Library and the ability to store an entire set of photos in the cloud, I avoided giving up local control of my images. I think this fear spawned from a switch to Apple Music, when my local music library got mashed up with cloud music and ultimately led to essentially losing track of my actual song files in a series of computer hardware upgrades. With some encouraging, I stepped into iCloud Photos and I'm quickly loving it, but it was a little daunting.

How to have iCloud Photos use less space on your iPhone or Mac

Setting on iPhone Optimize Storage for Photos

Your photos and videos are important parts of your memories, and with the awesome camera you have on your iPhone, you probably have tons of amazing photographs. The problem with all of those photos is that their beauty comes with a price – storage space!

You don’t have to offload your photos to save space on your iPhone or your Mac. With one simple setting, you can optimize the space and keep shooting those great shots.

Here’s how to have your iCloud Photos use less space on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

How to download iCloud photos on Windows and Mac

iCloud Website Click Photos

If you want to download the photos you have in iCloud to your Windows or Mac, you have a few different options. Whether you want to store them on your computer as a backup or edit them with certain software, you can grab them in a snap.

Here’s how to download iCloud photos on Windows and Mac.

How to delete multiple pictures at once in iCloud Photo Library from your browser

iCloud Photo Library is a handy service that lets you backup your photos and sync them across your Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. When enabled on your devices, what you do to a picture on one device, syncs over to your other devices effortlessly. If you edit a photo on your iPhone, for example, this new edit will carry over to the same photo on your iPad, vice versa. Likewise, deleting a picture from iCloud Photo Library on your Mac, deletes it from all your other devices.

How to pause iCloud Photos updates

Pause iCloud Photos on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Apple's iCloud Photos constantly uploads and downloads media to keep your pictures, videos, and edits perfectly synchronized across your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and Apple TV.

However, you might want to pause significant iCloud Photos updates if you're short on battery, getting poor internet speeds as iCloud is uploading/downloading media in the background, or just want to clean the library first to prevent unnecessary uploads.

In this brief tutorial, we show you how to pause ongoing iCloud Photos updates inside the Photos app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

How to stop iCloud Photo Library from eating into your iPhone’s cellular data plan

iCloud Photo Library is an optional feature on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac that uploads every photo and video you take or import to iCloud and keeps everything synchronized across all your Apple gear. I've been using it for years and it really “just works”.

On iOS 10 and earlier, Photos syncs with iCloud each time your device connects to Wi-Fi and the battery is charged. On iOS 11 and later, Photos can also use your iPhone's cellular data connection to sync and update the image library.

Do you take many photos on the go? Are you on a metered rather than an unlimited plan? Then you don't need me to tell you that you must ensure you're not wasting huge amounts of cellular data to this feature.

Here's how to stop the Photos app from eating into your iPhone's cellular data plan.

Before we get to it, keep in mind the following:

iOS 10 and earlier—Your Photos library syncs with iCloud each time your device connects to Wi-Fi and the battery is charged. iOS 11 or later—You decide if Photos syncs with iCloud via cellular or Wi-Fi only.

In other words, you should double-check that cellular updates for iCloud Photo Library are turned off only if you're on iOS 11 or later. Folks on older iOS editions needn't do that because Photos syncs with iCloud only when their iPhone is connected to power and Wi-Fi.

How to stop iCloud Photo Library on iPhone from using cellular data

12-megapixel images and 4K videos captured on your iPhone take up quite a bit of storage space. For most people, there's no point allowing iOS to gobble up cellular data just to keep the image library synchronized with iCloud at all times.

Thankfully, you can prevent this from happening, and here's how:

1) Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or cellular iPad.

2) Tap Photos in the list.

3) Tap Cellular Data.

4) Slide the button labeled Cellular Data to the OFF position.

This device will no longer use your carrier's cellular data for updating the Photos library. Any changes to your image library will automatically upload to iCloud as soon as the device connects to power and Wi-Fi.

TIP: If you really need Photos to be in perfect sync with iCloud at all times, even on the go, via cellular and Wi-Fi, be sure to slide the toggle labeled Unlimited Updates to the ON position.

The feature's description says “unlimited updates may cause you to excess your quota“.

Need help? Ask iDB!

If you like this how-to, pass it along to your support folks and leave a comment below.

Got stuck? Not sure how to do certain things on your Apple device? Let us know via help@iDownloadBlog.com and a future tutorial might provide a solution.

Submit your how-to suggestions via tips@iDownloadBlog.com.