One of the great things about being in Apple’s ecosystem is that everything syncs up nicely with each other. Photos you take on your iPhone are almost immediately viewable on your iPad and Mac computer if you have iCloud Photos enabled. This isn’t necessarily the same for Windows.

This is because for Mac, Apple has loaded the Photos app into macOS that automatically syncs with your iCloud account and you don’t really need to do anything else. However, if you want to be able to view your iCloud Photos on your Windows computer, don’t worry because the process is rather simple.

It will take you a few extra steps compared to Mac users, but otherwise, it’ll probably just take you a few minutes to set up. If you’re interested, then this is what you’ll need to do.

Turn On iCloud Photos

Before you start, you will of course need to turn on iCloud Photos on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac devices. This is because if iCloud Photos is turned off, nothing will be sent to the cloud and there will be nothing to sync with.

  • On iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Photos > iCloud Photos and toggle it on
  • On Mac, click the Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud and toggle on iCloud Photos

Downloading And Setting Up iCloud for Windows

Once you’ve enabled iCloud Photos, you’ll next need to download the iCloud tool for your Windows computer.

  1. Download iCloud for Windows from the Microsoft Store
  2. Follow the prompts to install it
  3. Sign into your iCloud account using the same Apple ID as your iPhone, iPad, and/or Mac computer
  4. Once it’s installed, open iCloud Settings on your computer
  5. Click Options next to Photos
  6. Make sure the iCloud Photos box is checked
  7. Click Done, then click Apply

Viewing Your iCloud Photos

Now that you’ve installed iCloud for Windows and enabled iCloud Photos, you will be able to access all your iCloud Photos from Windows itself.

  1. Open File Explorer
  2. On the panel to the left, you should see iCloud Photos
  3. Click on it and all your iCloud Photos will be there. Depending on how big your library is, it could take a while for everything to load and sync up, so give it a few minutes before trying to access it

Uploading Photos To iCloud Photos In Windows

If you want to upload a photo from your computer to your iCloud account, it’s really quite easy.

  1. Open File Explorer
  2. Select iCloud Photos to the left
  3. Drag photos from your computer into the iCloud Photos folder

You might need to wait a minute or two for the photo to be uploaded and synced to your iCloud account, but once that’s done, you should be able to view that photo on any of your synced up devices.


No. The thumbnails you see in iCloud Photos are just previews of the file, so they do not take up any space. They only take up space when you double click on the file to open it, in which it will then download a copy to your computer.


Unfortunately the iCloud Photos tool for Windows lacks the features of the Photos app for iOS and macOS devices. It is more of a file explorer where all your files are there, but you will need to manually go through all of them to find what you want. You can sort the photos by date if you want a timeline that makes more sense.

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