Home / How To / iCloud / How to Save iCloud Photos and Clear Storage on Your iPhone
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Our iPhone storage can so easily go from empty to full snapping multiple photos or filming videos — it all adds up pretty quickly. Unless you’re fortunate enough to be the owner of a 128 or 256 GB iPhone, in fact, chances are your storage capacity is hovering close to the tipping point. Wouldn’t it be great, though, if we could somehow erase all those old photos from our iCloud storage — even if we’re merely trying to forge extra space for new ones? Well, we can, actually!
Of course, while there’s no sure-fire way to “permanently delete” iCloud photos from our iPhone without them also being permanently erased from our other, iCloud-connected devices, as well, today we’re going to share with you a few alternative ways you can delete them from your iPhone, increasing the availability of storage space thereon, while still preserving a forever-accessible copy of your most treasured memories.
Download Photos or Videos From iCloud
To download photos or videos from iCloud to your Mac, PC, an external SSD, or SD card, simply navigate to iCloud.com from any web browser.
From there, click on the Photos app icon from the main menu.
Select the photos you’d like to download, and then click on the Download Selected icon in the upper right-hand corner (this looks like a cloud with a little arrow pointing down from it.)
Your selections will begin downloading automatically.
Send Photos & Videos to Your Mac
Since your Mac almost certainly has more storage than your iPhone, quickly sending any photos or videos to be saved on your hard drive is the most practical option. While there are several ways to do this — tethered by USB, untethered, or otherwise — none is simpler and more time-effective than using AirDrop. Wondering what is AirDrop? Click the link to learn more, or continue reading below.
First, you’ll want to ensure that AirDrop is enabled on both your iPhone and your Mac.
Once enabled on both devices, from your Photos app on iPhone, tap on Select in the upper right-hand corner.
Then select by tapping on each photo or video you’d like to import to Photos on your Mac.
Tap the Share icon (this looks like a little box with an arrow pointing up out of it).
Select the Mac you’d like to share the selected content with from the options provided.
Finally, on your Mac, click Accept when the prompt appears onscreen.
By default, photos or videos sent to your Mac via AirDrop will be saved to your Downloads folder, which can be accessed in Finder. From there, you can transfer them anywhere — create a new folder, upload to Photos on Mac for editing, or simply keep them where they are — the choice is yours.
Send Photos or Videos to Another Storage Drive
If you use an online storage service like Google Drive, for example, then it’s super easy to send your iCloud photos to it — thereby paving the way to delete them from your iPhone for good. And if you don’t use Google Drive, now might be a good time to think about getting started, especially since it’s a much more cost-effective alternative to purchasing additional SSD storage from Apple.
Start by launching Google Drive on your iPhone. (I use Google Drive, personally, but any online storage system works just fine).
Tap the Blue (+) icon in the lower right-hand corner of the screen and then tap Upload.
Tap Photos and Videos, and then tap each individual photo and video you’d like to upload.
Finally, tap upload, and Google Drive will handle the rest!
You’ll then be able to delete photos from your iPhone, and you can access them from Google Drive on either your desktop, laptop, or mobile device.