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How to Upload Photos to iCloud from your PC

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Many people these days mix and match their operating systems, including services like iCloud which was originally only for Apple product users. Each operating system and platform has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and who can blame us for wanting the best of all possible worlds?

There’s nothing wrong with using a Mac for one thing and a PC for another. However, sometimes interoperability between these platforms isn’t all we could hope for.

Most apps and programs have Windows or Apple versions or use browser compatibility to run on both, but many programs need a little tweaking.

Although many people associate iCloud with Apple products like iPhones, iPads, and Macs, in this article, I’ll show you how to upload photos to iCloud using (gasp!) A Windows PC.

iCloud Photo Library is a great tool and ranks # 1 with OneDrive and Google Drive. If you have an iOS device like an iPhone or iPad or a Mac and want to view or edit the images taken on those devices on your PC, you can do it with a little setup.

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You can use the iCloud app for Windows or iTunes to upload photos to iCloud from a PC. I’ll show you both methods.

Upload photos to iCloud from a PC

First, I’ll show you how to use the iCloud app, as many people don’t have or don’t want iTunes on their PC. You will need to sign into iTunes with your Apple ID on your iOS device for this to work.

  1. First, download and install iCloud for Windows
  2. Open the app and select Options
  3. Select iCloud Photo Library and then click Done
  4. Click Apply to set your preferences
  5. Enable iCloud Photo Library on your iOS devices to sync them with each other

When you are in the options, you also have the option to sync your Photo Stream, download new images to your PC, upload new images from your PC, and share images.

You can choose which options to enable based on your needs. As long as iCloud Photo Library is selected, you can manually upload or download images to and from a PC.

Now everything is ready, you can upload photos to iCloud in Windows.

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Select iCloud photos
  3. Then select Upload photos
  4. Select the images you want to upload, then select Open

You can also drag and drop images to the uploads folder. This is more useful and efficient when uploading multiple images as you can select them all at once and upload them.

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You can also download images from iCloud to edit or view them on your PC by following these instructions:

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Select iCloud Photos, then select Downloads
  3. Select the images you want to download and select Download

Upload photos to iCloud from a PC using iTunes

If you don’t mind having iTunes installed on your PC, you can also use it to upload photos to iCloud from a PC. Since iTunes is a useful application, there is no real downside to having it installed on your PC. Follow these instructions to upload photos to iCloud from a PC using iTunes:

  1. Download and install iTunes for Windows. There is both a 32-bit and a 64-bit downloader, so choose the one that matches your PC
  2. Create an iTunes account if you don’t already have one or sign in using your Apple ID
  3. Connect your iOS device to PC via USB and let iTunes detect it or select iPhone in iTunes main menu
  4. Select “Auto backup when this iPhone is connected” if you want
  5. Select iCloud as the destination
  6. Select Sync Photos by checking the box to automatically transfer photos from your iPhone to iCloud
  7. Select Back up now to perform an immediate upload

iTunes isn’t as simple to set up as iCloud, but if you don’t mind the program, it’s a useful way to keep your iPhone in sync with your PC. Of course, you can do all this with an iPad as well.

How to view iCloud images from a PC

Once the photos are uploaded to iCloud, it would be helpful to know how to view them. You can view them through the Photos app on your iOS device or iCloud app.

  1. Open the iCloud app on your PC or visit iCloud.com. Log in if prompted.
  2. Select the iCloud notification icon on the Windows taskbar.
  3. Select the Photos app and browse your images.

If you set your device to sync, all images will be copied to both devices. Normally you shouldn’t manually copy or download an image by yourself. The only exception to this is when you edit an image on one or the other of your devices. Since iCloud only syncs a single copy, any changes won’t be reflected on the other device.

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Synchronize edited images between devices

If you use your Windows PC to edit images, the updated file will not sync with iCloud if the original already exists there. Same for if you edit an image on your iPhone. It will not download to your PC, you will have to do it manually.

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Select iCloud Photos, then select Upload Photos
  3. Select the images you want to upload and select Open

If you have edited on iPhone and want to download to PC:

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Select iCloud Photos, then select Downloads
  3. Select the images you want to download and select Download

Delete pictures in iCloud or PC

Of course, you can delete images, but your deletion will not be reflected on all synced devices. You will need to manually delete the image from all devices.

You will have to manually delete the image from the Photos app on the PC and you can do the same on the iPhone. You can also connect your phone to the PC via USB and use Windows Explorer. Navigate to the DCIM folder and delete the images as required.

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Of the two methods of uploading photos to iCloud from a PC, I much prefer using the iCloud app rather than iTunes. If you want to manage an iDevice too, iTunes works fine but if you’re just sharing media, iCloud works pretty well.

It’s lightweight, doesn’t use a lot of resources, and doesn’t want to know everything that’s happening on your PC the way iTunes seems to want it. Although originally designed for Apple products, iCloud appears to be truly compatible with multiple platforms.

Do you use any other methods or tips and travel to upload photos to iCloud from a PC? In your experience, did iCloud work well with a PC?

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