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How to Download Photos from iCloud and Export them to Files

Download All Photos from the iCloud
Written by Hassan Abbas

Of all the challenges that the general user has with the configuration of iCloud, without a doubt the management of the photographs is the greatest. There is often confusion between what is in the cloud and what is stored locally, and the settings of the devices do not usually clear up doubts.

And for many users, as we have seen in our section of Applesfera Answers, deciding to download all the photographs from the iCloud library can even increase the confusion if it is not done correctly. So let’s look at how we can achieve this without reducing the quality of our images.

Download All Photos from the iCloud

Image Source: KittyKaht

How to Download All Photos from the iCloud

Download Photos from iCloud

Step 1: If you want to download all the photographs in the cloud, we are going to assume that you have the photo library in iCloud activated so that all your devices see and manage a single collection in the cloud. So on your Mac, open the Photos application and confirm that you have that Fototeca in iCloud activated in your Preferences

Step 2: The important thing: make sure also that you have activated the option ‘Download originals on this Mac‘. If you use the option ‘Optimize storage of the Mac’ you can export the photographs, but if your computer is short of free space that export will be made with lower quality versions of your original photographs. And we do not want that, we want to download the photographs to the original quality to which you have made them.

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Step 3: Edit menu, ‘Select all’ to take all the photographs of the collection. Give the computer a few seconds to do it if your photo library is very large:

Step 4: Now we go to the File menu, select ‘Export’ and we have two options to consider:

  • ‘Export N items’, where N is the total number of photographs and videos that you have in your photo library, you will export all those photographs and videos in their original quality. But if you have edited a photograph using the application’s own tools, the edited image will be exported and not the original image.
  • ‘Export original unmodified for N items’ will export all the images and videos, but ignoring all the editions you have made in them and therefore taking the originals without editing.

Step 5: In any of the two options that we have selected, a dialog will appear with which we can select the format of the image and the quality of the videos that we want to export. Select the highest quality so that the video is exported in its original resolution.

Step 6: Also activate the option to include the location of the photo in the metadata of the image, so that if you put them back in Photos or in another photo management program they can continue to be organized according to the place where they were taken.

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Step 7: Finally, pay attention to the last option. If you do not want all the photographs to be exported in a single directory without any organization, you can select ‘Name of the moment’ so that a subfolder is generated for each Moment you have in the photo library. It is recommended if you have several thousand photographs to export.

Finally: Once you accept it, the export process will begin. Be patient, because if there are many photographs it will take. Make sure you have enough space on your Mac to export all of them or do it directly to an external hard drive with space so there are no problems. Remember that the albums and slideshows that you have created in Photos will not be exported and it will be an organization layer that you will lose the application.

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About the author

Hassan Abbas

Tech enthusiast with too many items on his wish-list and not nearly enough money! Specializing in all things tech, with a slight Apple bent he has been writing for various blogs for the best part of (too many) years

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