How to Access iCloud Photos on Mac

Wouldn't it be nice if you could easily access all the photos on your iPhone and iPad on your Mac as well? There are several reasons why being able to access your photos on your Mac may be ideal. If for instance, you wanted to edit the photos, having them on the Mac makes it easy for you to access them and open them for editing. Having a copy of the photos on your Mac is also one of the easiest ways to keep the photos safe and easily restore them should you ever lose them.

In this article, we share with you how to access iCloud photos on Mac in several ways.

1. How to Access iCloud Photo Library on Mac

The iCloud Photo Library makes it very easy for you to access iCloud photos on all devices that share the same iCloud account. This is a great way to ensure the safety of the photos even if something happens to the device. Here's how to set up iCloud Photo Library and access your iCloud Photos on your Mac:

  • Step 1: Open the Photos app on your Mac;
  • Step 2: Click on the "Photos" menu in the upper left corner of the screen;
  • Photos Menu Mac
  • Step 3: Go to "Preferences" and then click on the "iCloud" tab;
  • Step 4: Ensure that "iCloud Photo Library" and all the images in your iCloud account will be stored in the Photos app on your Mac.
Enable iCloud Photo Library Mac

2. How to Access iCloud Photo Stream on Your Mac

If you have iCloud Photo Stream enabled on your iOS devices, you can easily access the iCloud photos on your Mac. Here's how to enable iCloud Photo Stream on your Mac:

  • Step 1: Open the System Preferences on your Mac and then click on "iCloud".
  • Step 2: Ensure that "Photo Stream" is turned on and then click on "Options" to the right of "Photo Stream".
  • Enable iCloud Photo Stream on Mac
  • Step 2: Click on "Photos" to see all the photos in that iCloud account.
  • Select photos
  • Step 3: Check "My Photo Stream" and then click "Automatic Import".

Once My Photo Stream is enabled, you will still need to configure iPhoto to get all the Photo Stream photos. Follow these simple steps to do it:

  • Step 1: Open iPhoto and then click on "Preferences".
  • Step 2: Click on the "Photo Stream" tab and then enable "My Photo Stream".

3. The Best Software to Retrieve Photos from iCloud Backup on Mac

The methods described above may be able to help you access your iCloud photos on Mac but they don't allow you to see the photos or choose to see only some of the photos. If you are looking for a method that provides you with more control when accessing your iCloud Photos on Mac, you should consider using Tenorshare UltData - iPhone Data Recovery on Mac. This tool allows you to download the photos on your iCloud account, view and then and then select only the ones you need to save to the Mac.

The following guide will show you how you can easily do that in a few simple steps:

Step 1: Install UltData on your computer and launch the program when installation is complete. On the main window, click on "Recover from iCloud Backup File" and sign in to your iCloud account. If you are already signed in, you will see a list of backup files on your iCloud account.

Sign in to iCloud

Step 2: One signed in, choose the iCloud backup file that contains the images you want to access and in the next window, select "Camera Roll & Video" and "App Photos" as the type of files you want to download. Click "Next" to continue.

Choose File Types

Step 3: Wait while the program downloads the photos. When the download process is complete, preview the photos and select the ones you would like to save to your computer. Click "Recover" to choose a location to save the images.

View and Recover Files

All the photos you select will then be saved on the folder you select. Keep in mind that you can do this for all iCloud backup files on your account.


The above methods will all help you easily access iCloud photos on your Mac. But if you want a simpler, less invasive and more controllable method, you may want to try using UltData - iPhone Data Recovery on Mac.

Updated on / Posted by Jenefey Aaron to iCloud Follow @Jenefey Aaron

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