How to Set Up the iCloud Photo Library

What is iCloud?

iCloud is the Apple storage service that you “rent” in the “cloud” in order to store pictures, videos, backup files or other documents. The “cloud” is comprised of Apple storage computers that are accessed from the Internet. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and other companies provide similar services. However, as an Apple service, you have confidence in the idea that the approach is safe, private and easy to setup and easy to use.

How to use the iCloud Photo Library?

Pictures and video use a lot of storage space on your iPad or iPad. And running out of storage will bring photography to a halt. The iCloud Photo Library will allow you to store all your photos and video online, freeing valuable storage space on your device.

When you turn on iCloud Photo Library and are on Wi-Fi, your iPad or iPhone will automatically and copy your pictures and video from your device to your iCloud account. From iCloud, your photos can be accessed from your other Apple devices or from the web.

Your iPad also offers an option called Optimize Storage: When enabled, your iPad or iPhone will locally store only the latest images and video you’ve taken; the others live up in iCloud, ready to be downloaded when you need them. Importantly, not taking up your iPad’s storage.

The settings for setting up the iCloud Photo Library can be accessed with the following actions:

  1. Access Settings
  2. Scroll down and tap Photos 
  3. Tap iCloud Photo Library on (Green is on)
  4. Tap Optimize iPad/iPhone Storage.


Be patient. It will take a while for these changes to take place.

You can access your online iCloud Photo Library by logging onto with any web browser using your Apple ID. From the web iCloud Photo function you can download, print or share your photos.

Upgrade your Storage Plan

After you have completed your setup, you may alerted that the 5 GB free storage plan will not provide enough storage to host e Photo Library.  More information about upgrading your storage is found in Recipe #404 How to use iCloud to expand and optimize storage


Smart Tip:  Upgrade is a Great Bargain

Apple current offers 50GB of iCloud storage for about $1 per month.  That makes the  ability to optimize photo storage and backup your iPhone’s data a bargain and is highly recommended.


The iCloud Photo Library is an easy way to transfer your Photos from your device and have a backup copy of your irreplaceable photos.  It is highly recommended.


No Setup necessary


Requires IOS: 12+

Works on iPhone and iPad