iPhone and Photos

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by jaynecobb, Apr 19, 2015.

  1. jaynecobb macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2007

    I wasn't sure if this questions should go here or in the app section. My question however about Photos is specific to the iPhone.

    With the new photos app and my iCloud library I now have access to all of my pictures which I think is VERY cool.

    Hypothetically lets say I had my phone for the next 10 years(I realize unlikely but just hypothetically) I feel like I could fill up all of my phone's space with pictures/videos.

    In days gone by I could sync my phone with iPhoto to remove those photos. But its again unclear to me which photos are actually on my phone. A few questions maybe someone could help me out with.

    1. IF I take a picture on my phone. Is it permanently on my phone? Or at this point is it ONLY uploaded to the cloud.

    2. It seems if I want to edit a picture in the cloud it "downloads" to phone. Is it now there forever?

    3. If pictures are actually on my phone, is there an ability to remove them? i.e. for the sake of storage?

    Thanks for the help
  2. Mac-lover3 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 2, 2014
    If you enable iCloud Photo Library ALL photos are stored in iCloud and stored on your phone but if you delete it on your phone it's also gone from iCloud. For question #2 I don't know I have mine set that full resolution is on the phone itself and I have no idea what it could be downloading? There is no way to delete them from the phone itself because you delete it also from iCloud but you could set the settings for 'storage optimized for iPhone' this takes much less storage but the photos are certainly not as clear. Hope this helps a bit.
  3. jaynecobb thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2007
    I appreciate your help. I am getting closer to understanding.

    So lets say over the next 5 years I were to take multiple vacations and use my camera as my only phone to take video and photos.

    So the original would be on my phone.

    There would be no way to delete those from my phone? I just feel like at some point my phone would potentially fill up with space.

    (i'd like the option to put them in the cloud, but not have them physically on my phone, but I'm not sure if that is an option)
  4. Paco II macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2009
    Some of this depends on your icloud photo library settings. Do you have 'optimize' enabled? If yes, the iphone will theoretically make sure that photos and videos don't use up all the space on your phone.

    Additionally, with this feature enabled, and assuming everything is backed up to IPL, you can turn off IPL, delete all photos, then turn it back on, and you'll get optimized thumbnails of everything.
  5. Trahearne, Apr 21, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015

    Trahearne macrumors 6502

    Oct 6, 2014
    In iCloud Photo Library, every single photo or video you take (and every edits you make) will be uploaded to iCloud in its original form upon next Wi-Fi connection, and the photos and videos on the iCloud are the "root copy". In other words, if you delete an entry on one device, it would be synced to iCloud and subsequently removed from all your devices. There is no "selective sync" in iCloud Photos Library, by the way.

    On the other hand, on every device you own, you can choose to either "download and keep originals" or "optimise storage". Download and Keep Originals is self-explanatory. Optimise Storage means the device will smartly manage your photos library on your device, since the originals can always be pulled from iCloud. Simply speaking, it would keep only recently or frequently accessed photos and videos in its original form on your device. Others would be kept in a compressed form, and the original would be pulled from iCloud on demand (e.g. tapping edit will force an original pull). It is also said to be reactive with low available storage at system level, so that if you are running out of storage, iOS will start to release storage space from the iCloud Photo Library by storing less originals.

    Note that at this moment users do not have the control to force a photo to be "cloud only" or "local only" in iCloud Photo Library. Maybe this won't happen even in the future as the Optimise Storage option achieves a similar goal in a more foolproof way.
  6. BigMcGuire Contributor


    Jan 10, 2012
    I also heard that using Windows or a computer to remove pictures from your phone (and then delete them after the sync) will keep photos in the iCloud. Is that true? If so, this would be one way to clear photos off of your device while keeping them in iCloud?

    I have 30+GB of photos in Google Drive (used to be Picasa) and until now have had 16GB iPhones so I would always delete my iPhone Photo Stream monthly because of how many photos I've taken.

    Now with my 128GB iPhone I still back up to Google but I also purchased 200GB on iCloud but I don't want to lose the photos I've uploaded to iCloud when I clear my phone.

    I haven't had the guts to try hence the question.
  7. zorinlynx macrumors 603


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    This whole mess is why I've not turned on iCloud Photo Library.

    There doesn't seem to be any device which has a "master copy" of all my photos. The "master copy" seems to be in iCloud, which, while useful, I can't trust completely with my photos! Photos are my most precious data after all.

    This messes up my ability to have a robust backup strategy for my photos. I don't like the idea of a glitch or accidental deletion on one device being able to remove a photo on all of them.
  8. Paco II macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2009
    ICloud photo library is definitely not a backup solution. It is a sync solution which works well. If you use a mac, Photos can be your source for backup.

    Now in regards to the accidental deletion question, deleted photos are recoverable within 30 days, so it would be hard to lose a photo that way.


    ICL, like iTunes match, requires a shift in thinking about storage. With the optimized setting enabled, you theoretically should not have to worry about space - iOS will manage that for you.

  9. zorinlynx macrumors 603


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    The issue is that the iCloud copy is the master version.

    Say there's a glitch or malicious activity that causes a group of photos to be deleted from iCloud without you noticing. The next time your system gets online, those photos are removed from the local copy of the library. You don't notice this.

    30 days pass, and the photos are removed from your "recently deleted" album. They are now completely gone from your library.

    More time passes, and your backups are eventually rotated through. The photos are gone forever.
  10. Paco II macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2009
    That is a risk with many photo storage solutions. But long-lasting backups are key. I use CrashPlan which is unlimited. IMO photo backups should never be rotated through.

    In reality it sounds like ICL is probably not for you. Perhaps consider Dropbox.

  11. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Photos is using what I'll call "intelligent caching." It's watching available space on your iOS devices and as previously noted, and will delete infrequently-accessed full-resolution/reduced resolution images as required. When it does that, there's still a thumbnail image stored on the iOS device. The full/reduced resolution images will be downloaded again when you access them (presuming you have a web connection at the time).

    As to a strategy for removing items from the iPhone/iCloud Photo Library in order to save space... Create a second Photos library on the Mac, and do your traditional syncing/importing to that library (switching libraries isn't at all hard once you know how to do it - hold the Option key while you open Photos, you'll get a library chooser option).

    Another would be to import the images to folders on your Mac, using the Image Capture app. You can set the iTunes sync settings to open Image Capture instead of Photos.

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