How to use iCloud Photo Library

Learn how to use iCloud Photo Library. Starting from manually enabling the service, accessing photos, supported formats, to different settings. Read to find out!

Getting started with the iCloud Photo Library (Beta)

Let’s start with the very basics:

What are the requirements for using iCloud Photo Library?

You will need an Apple ID, an iDevice (iPhone/ iPad/iPod touch) with at least iOS 8.1 or later, and enough storage space in your iCloud to store photos.

How to enable the iCloud Photo Library App?

Since iCloud Photo Library is in beta, you will have to enable the feature on all iOS devices on which you’d like to use it on. There two ways of doing this:

  1. Sign in to iCloud, and go to Settings > iCloud > Photos, and turn on iCloud Photo Library beta from the options.
  2. Launch Settings. Select Photos & Camera, and tap the switch next to iCloud Photo Library

How Do You Access Your Photos?

For iOS Devices

Launch the Photos app from you iOS device and select the Photos tab. All of your videos and photos are organized here. They are stored locally on your device as well as on the iCloud Library in a chronological order.

For PCs

Visit the iCloud website and log in. Browse the photo library by selecting the Photos icon. You can download the files you want to use later.

Supported Formats

The iCloud Photo Library automatically stores all of your videos and photos in their original formats. Supported formats include TIFF, GIF, PNG, RAW, JPG, and MP4 among others. Full-resolution videos and photos are stored on the Apple server.


Once the iCloud Photo Library in enabled, an additional setting tab is added. The iCloud Photo Library uploads all of your images and videos at full resolution. This content (due to device syncing) is automatically download on all devices, and can result in loss of precious space on your iDevices.

Hence, this new settings panel has been added. It allows you to download smaller preview-able files (thumb nails) on your device.

  • Save space by selecting Optimize iPhone (or iPad) Storage.
  • You can always view the content at full resolution by downloading it on demand. You can select Download and Keep Originals and take advantage of the new 128 GB storage option on new iOS devices.

All the best!

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