If you find that your Photo Library is starting to take up too much space on your Mac’s hard drive, it might be a good idea to start using iCloud to store them. It can help reduce the space these images take up, while keeping them safe on Apple’s servers in the event of a disaster on your Mac, and it also means that you can view all of these images on all of your Apple devices. Here’s how to upload photos from Mac to iCloud.
How to store photos in iCloud Photo Library
To store the photos on your Mac in iCloud, it’s not a matter of copying them all and dragging them to a folder marked as iCloud. Instead, there is a much better way in the form of iCloud Photo Library.
This will not only keep your images on Apple’s servers, but also allow you to sync them with other Apple devices through iCloud.
Of course, you will need to have enough storage available in your iCloud account to be able to use the service. Apple is giving you 5GB for free, but that won’t be enough, so you’ll want to explore some of the higher capacity levels.
The ICloud prices are as follows:
- 5 GB – Free
- 50 GB – $ 0.99 per month
- 200 GB – $ 2.99 per month
- 2TB – $ 9.99 monthly
You can learn more about the benefits of each tier and how to upgrade it in our guide How Much Does iCloud Cost? Each of these pieces of iCloud storage can be shared with your family if you set up Family Sharing.
To turn on the iCloud Photo Library feature, follow these steps:
- Open the Photos app on your Mac.
- In the upper left corner, click Photos, then select Preferences.
- Click the option in the iCloud tab.
- Check the iCloud Photos box.
Now all pictures in the Photos app will automatically sync with iCloud servers (as long as you have enough iCloud storage).
Can I delete photos from my Mac after they’re in iCloud Photos?
Syncing your pictures with iCloud Photo Library won’t free up space on your Mac because it only backs them up to the cloud. So you are wondering if you can now delete them locally while you have an iCloud version? The answer is no. Definitely not.
iCloud is not a real backup, but rather a way to sync your library between devices. This means that everything you erase on your Mac will also be erased in iCloud.
However, there is a built-in feature that allows you to have the full resolution versions stored securely in iCloud, while the much smaller versions are saved locally.
It won’t change your images at all, and you can always download the full-resolution version anytime, so it’s a great way to save space on your Mac while moving most of the storage to iCloud. We will explain how to use this function below.
How to reduce the space occupied by photos on your Mac
Once your photos are stored in iCloud, you can choose the Optimize Mac Storage option to store low resolution images on your Mac. Here’s how to do it:
Follow the steps above to activate iCloud Photo Library.
Once in the iCloud tab, you will see that there are two main options available: Download Originals to This Mac and Optimize Mac Storage.
Select the “Optimize Mac Storage” option and the existing full resolution images on your Mac will be replaced with the smaller alternatives.
This setting should significantly reduce the storage space your photos take up on your Mac, but without losing any of your images or sacrificing their quality (at least the original ones).
It should be emphasized again that if you delete any of these pictures stored in iCloud on any of your devices, the original will be deleted in iCloud. So don’t do it!
How to backup your photos with Software o external units
While iCloud Photos is a great way to sync your photos between devices and have copies in the cloud, if you want to make sure that those precious moments stay safe and that you have a backup, we recommend that you do so. ” also use a Software to create dedicated backups of not only your photos, but also documents and other data.
Sure, there’s Apple’s own Time Machine, which is a solid option, and you can use iCloud to back up some things on your Mac (but not a Time Machine backup, unfortunately), but it’s also worth it. The party solutions you’ll find in our guide to the best backup software for Mac are worth exploring.
If you’re desperate to save space on your Mac, you can move your Photo Library to an external drive. For our selection of current storage deals, check out our guides to the best external hard drives for Mac and the best external SSDs for Mac.