transfer all iCloud photos to MacBook (local storage)

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by CoronaOrange, Apr 24, 2018.

  1. CoronaOrange macrumors newbie


    Sep 28, 2017
    My friend currently has most of her photos on iCloud with expensive additional storage and also the photo stream option activated.
    She has a MacBook and an iPhone SE 16GB.

    All Photos stored locally on MacBook (or on external drive connected to MacBook)
    No more iCloud photos and expensive storage
    No more photo stream sync option
    Basically she wants to use iPhone to take pictures, airdrop them to MacBook for storage and backup.

    How to?
    I’ve read that I’ve you deactivate the iCloud/Photostream options the wrong way, photos can be deleted permanently by mistake. This is something I want to avoid at all costs.

    So what’s the step by step instruction, to to it correctly in the correct order?

    • Download all Photos from iCloud to local MacBook.
    • How can she do that without selecting each photo individually?
    • Deactivate iCloud and photo stream on the iPhone
    • Deactivate iCould and photo stream on the MacBook
  2. 960design, Apr 24, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018

    960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    Yep, you can easily delete all of your photos by mistake. This is mostly from the older photostream. Photostream used to store the last 999 pictures you've taken. If you take another picture the oldest one gets removed. This did not count towards online storage. I think photostream is now time based, something like a month.

    Now we have iCloud Library. Photos taken are stored and you get charged to store more than 5GB. For me, I pay the $12US / year to have the extra storage. I like my photos and do not want to lose them in a hurricane, flood, fire, theft, Trump, ect.

    You will have to manually download all of your pictures.

    Best bet may be to create a shared photostream ( to get your photostream pictures ).
    Follow the email link and literally click download 999 times. Attempting to use Select All for over 999 images will cause issues.

    Once you have your photostream pictures safely downloaded, do almost the same for iCloud photos. Log into your iCloud account and manually download all of your pictures.

    Once you have verified they are all safe, turn off photostream and iCloud photos.

    PS There are other ways to do this, but this is probably the safest way to describe via a forum.
    PPS I recently ( two days ago ) did the exact same thing for a friend that was still using an older iPhone. They literally ran it out of storage by taking pictures over the years and never off loading them. Now I have device with iOS 6.1 that I cannot update. I cannot connect to iTunes for fear of overwriting photos, cannot connect to AppleConfigurator because too old of an iOS. I physically downloaded a little over 3300 pictures. Took a couple of hours, but not to bad.

    Good luck!
  3. Jethro! macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2015
    You're not supposed to want to do this. The Borg, I mean Apple says you must be collectively joined, so that your stuff is also their stuff, and never really your stuff. They even came up with a fluffy name for it. So cute! Good drones stay connected to the hive. Resistance is futile.
  4. CoronaOrange thread starter macrumors newbie


    Sep 28, 2017
    @960design - Thanks very much for the info. It saved me a lot of headaches... Would not have done it correctly with the photostream sync...

    Is there no way to select all photos or select at least photo folders at once?
    Thought it was possible for the iCloud ones, somehow at least?
    It will take her or me, hours or even days to do all of that.
  5. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    Via iCloud you can Command + Click to add additional photos. After selecting 100 or so download, then select 100 more. You are still clicking each picture, no way around that right now.

    Easier to log in on a mac and Select All via Photos App.
    Drag and drop into a separate Folder.

    Photostream may or may not have duplicate images depending on when and how iCloud and Photostream were integrated. Safest way is to manually download everything from Photostream first, then worry about duplicates later.

    The way it works now is that photostream will store images for 30 days at no cost to iCloud space. You can take a couple hundred pictures and be good for a while. Just remember to offload them so they do not disappear. Kinda like SnapChat but instead of 10 seconds you have 30 days.

    iCloud keeps your photos forever and will happily use up your iCloud storage.

    If you take a picture with both turned on at the same time, the same image will get sent to both iCloud and Photostream. The only differences is that photostream will delete them after 30 days and iCloud will kindly notify you once you have surpassed your free 5GB limit and ask for payment information.

    $12/year for 50GB of storage seems very fair to me. No worries about updating computers and losing photos; grandma spilling her wine onto the keyboard when she bends over to ask what you are doing, cat knocking over coffee ( that is sitting 3 feet away and I do not even have a cat, just a computer and an open window ), ect.
  6. sergeyz macrumors member


    Feb 14, 2018
  7. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    Epic! If I ever need to do this again, I will go through the code to make sure my information is not getting pushed around somewhere I do not want.


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