I just upgraded to OS X 10.10.3 and decided to try out the Photos app. So I enabled iCloud Photo Library on my iPhone to upload some photos.

However, it says that I need Wi-Fi to upload photos to iCloud. The problem is I don't have a Wi-Fi connection, I only use the cellular connection for all my Internet needs.

Is there a way to upload photos to iCloud via cellular?

  • 1
    Do you have any other devices besides your phone? You could use them to upload or create a hotspot Apr 8, 2015 at 22:06
  • 1
    @KevinGrabher Only my phone and MacBook. I actually use my phone's hotspot to get Internet access on the computer, but I don't think that will help here.
    – Emil Laine
    Apr 8, 2015 at 22:22
  • You could use your MacBook to upload but that would probably null the benefits of iCloud Photo Library Apr 8, 2015 at 22:24
  • 1
    @KevinGrabher Exactly. So far I've been using Dropbox to upload my photos to the cloud, which works fine without Wi-Fi. It's a bummer Apple doesn't support it for some reason.
    – Emil Laine
    Apr 8, 2015 at 22:41

4 Answers 4


Unfortunately, the answer is no:

When you turn on iCloud Photo Library on your iOS device or Mac, your photos and videos will upload after you connect to the Internet with Wi-Fi and your battery is charged.

https://support.apple.com/kb/HT204264#upload [emphasis mine]

  • is it relevant?
    – Alex78191
    Jan 15 at 17:04

My father has the same issue he lives in a area where he can't get internet. We have a hack option takes two iPhones or a iPad with Cellular what you do is the phone you want to upload photos off you tether to the iPad or iPhone it will think its on a wifi network and start uploading photos. so take a old iPhone put your sim in it and tether it to the phone and then it will work its a hack and is a pain but does work.


iCloud Photo Library uploads now seem to be available via the Cellular Data "Unlimited Updates" feature.

Settings > Photos > Cellular Data > Unlimited Updates

Unlimited Updates
Turn on for unlimited use of cellular data to upload and download to iCloud Photos when you are not connected to Wi-Fi. This may cause you to exceed your cellular data plan.

This option appears to have launched in 2017 with iOS 11.

Unlimited Updates


Providing you do not have usual wifi-routers & purely using USB tethering, having a Google account signed in with your iOS device would help a lot, you may use Google Photos app to sync, back-up & retrieve them from your Windows desktop/laptop Chrome browser's Google Photos as long as you are logged in the same Google account as you've logged in at your iPhone/iOS device. ;)

  • 3
    This doesn't address the question posed by the OP. The question is about uploading to iCloud without wifi not about using other services such as google. Please see this FAQ on how to answer questions: How to Answer.
    – fsb
    May 17, 2016 at 4:51

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