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iCloud Photo Library Must Be Activated on Each Computer and Device Separately

Like all other iCloud features and functions, iCloud Photo Library needs to be set up once on each computer and iOS mobile device it will be used with. Right now, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users running iOS 8.1 (or later) on their mobile device can take advantage of the beta edition of iCloud Photo Library by turning on this feature. To do this from an iOS mobile device, launch Settings, tap on the iCloud option, and from the iCloud menu, tap on the Photos option. Near the top of the Photos menu screen, turn on the virtual switch associated with iCloud Photo Library (Beta).

Upon doing this, it’s important to understand that any images that were transferred to the mobile device from a computer (or another mobile device) via the iTunes Sync process will be deleted from the mobile device being used.

Once the iCloud Photo Library feature is turned on from within Settings, several additional menu options will appear within the Photos menu screen. Users can choose between the Optimize iPad/iPhone Storage and Download and Keep Originals options. The Optimize iPad/iPhone Storage option allows the mobile device to adjust the resolution of images to save internal storage space within the device. The Download and Keep Originals option requires more internal storage space because images are kept at their original resolution, which means each image has a much larger file size associated with it.

By turning on the Upload to My Photo Stream feature, when the iPhone or iPad is connected to the Internet via a Wi-Fi connection, the mobile device will automatically sync the image library with iCloud. Then, by turning on the virtual switch associated with iCloud Photo Sharing, this allows users to share Albums with others via the Photos app and iCloud.

Unlike My Photo Stream, iCloud Photo Library does not have a 1,000 image limit, nor does it remove images from the library after 30 days. iCloud Photo Library is designed to manage someone’s entire digital image library, regardless of its size (providing adequate iCloud online storage space is available within the user’s account).

If you’re using an iOS mobile device that offers the Burst shooting mode within the Camera app, an additional menu option, labeled Upload Burst Photos, will be available from the Photos menu within Settings. Turn on this virtual switch if you want your mobile device to automatically upload and sync all images captured using the Burst shooting mode to your iCloud Photo Library. When turned off, you can pick only your favorite images captured when using Burst shooting mode and sync those. This will help you conserve online storage space within your iCloud account.

After adjusting these Settings options once, iCloud Photo Library becomes accessible from the Photos app that comes preinstalled with iOS 8.1 (or later). At this point, if you want your iCloud Photo Library to automatically sync between all of your iOS mobile devices, you’ll need to repeat these setup steps on those devices separately.

Once the Mac edition of the Photos app is introduced in conjunction with OS X Yosemite in early 2015, each Mac that’s linked to the user’s iCloud account will automatically be able to access and manage that user’s iCloud Photo Library from their computer as well. Currently, only limited functionality from Macs is available via the soon-to-be-retired iPhoto or Aperture apps.

Meanwhile, PC users will be able to download the latest version of the optional (and free) iCloud for Windows software from Apple’s website, which will give their Windows-based computer similar access to their iCloud Photo Library. To do this, visit http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1455.

Keep in mind, if you’ve been using Shared Photo Streams in the past to create and share Albums via your iCloud account, all of those previously created Albums automatically become accessible via iCloud Photo Library.

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Last Update: November 17, 2020