Storage Space with iCloud Photo Library


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 25, 2003
New York City
Okay, don't want to get into the weeds with all the controversial choices that iCloud Photo Library has created - just have one simple question.

Has Apple provided any actual documentation as to how "Optimize storage on this device" works for iCloud Photo Library. The reason I ask is that I have a 16gb iPad - it currently has about 1.1gb of photo data on it according to the usage monitor. I have iCloud Photo Library turned on for this device and also for my iPhone 6.

Because I can no longer "delete" photos on my iPad without deleting them from the iCloud and other devices how do I manage storage - or do I just trust the "optimized" versions to do this for me? For example, let's say it's a year from now and I've taken thousands of pictures - all good on my 64gb iPhone, but will the storage on my iPad get eaten up by this? Does it intelligently know how much space I have and readjust?

Very confused here as previously if I needed to free up space I would just dump the photos to iPhoto and delete from the I can basically never delete photos from the device since that would delete them everywhere will I eventually run out of space or will it just migrate all of those photos "to the cloud" and not take up local storage?


macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2014
I'm not sure that it will intelligently make adjustments on the fly based on your device size and open storage but the optimized version is pretty small from what I have seen. The largest example so far has been a user with 27GB of photos in the cloud and just under 2GB of use on their device. I would guess there would have to be a limit somewhere and like backups I assume it will warn you about space. Just a guess though.


macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2012
You have two options for managing space... download and keep originals, which will store the full version of all your images on your device, or optimize device space, which manages space by storing an optimized version of all of the photos on your device and leaving the originals in the cloud.

When you want to share or view a specific photo then it will download the full version from the cloud. There is no option to dedicate a certain amount of space to photos or anything like that... it's either all optimized or all full and nothing in between.

Once you view or share a photo and it downloads the full version it seems like it keeps it for at least some time as you can go back to it later and it won't need to redownload it, but I'm not sure how long it keeps it around as eventually it will remove it again.


macrumors newbie
Mar 9, 2012
What if I use a service like Dropbox with syncing and have optimize setting on? Will it upload high res version?