Should you use iCloud Photo Library?

Should you use iCloud Photo Library?


Apple’s online service, iCloud Photo Library, lets you seamlessly access, manage, edit, and share pictures and video from your iPhone, iPad, and your Mac.

It’s free to use — though if you want to store any real amount of data, you’re going to have to pony up for a paid iCloud plan. With Photos for Mac, I’ve had a lot of people ask me whether they should turn on iCloud Photo Library: Is it safe? Is it secure? Is the cost of an iCloud plan worth it?

What is iCloud Photo Library?

We’ve got a much more thorough piece on this matter linked below, but essentially: iCloud Photo Library is a separate service you can enable in both Photos for Mac and Photos for iOS that uploads every image you’ve taken or have stored on your iPhone or Mac’s library to iCloud. That includes iPhone or iPad photos and screenshots, along with any imported DSLR or other photos you’ve added to your Photos library on your Mac.

You don’t need to use iCloud Photo Library to use Photos for Mac or iOS, but if you choose not to, you won’t get any of its benefits: your images won’t sync across devices, you can’t optimize storage for your devices to save disk space, and you’ll have to manually back up your photos elsewhere.

The pros

After several months with Photos for Mac, iOS, and iCloud Photo Library, I’m pretty familiar with its ups and downs. Thankfully, there are far more ups and downs, at least in my experience.

It just works — really!

Perhaps the biggest bullet point in iCloud Photo Library’s “pro” column for me is that, for once, Apple’s iCloud team has a rock-solid “it just works” sync product. Even during my early beta-testing days, I had no…



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