I've imported 1,000 photos into Photos on my Mac, and my settings are "Store in iCloud", it is over an hour since I did the import and when I log into iCloud.com via Safari I can see the photos there in Photos however they do not show on my iPhone 6 (logged into the same iCloud account) which has iOS 8.3 and uses Photos. I wonder how long does it take to synch to my devices or is there another step I need to take to get it to synch.

  • 1
    Just to clarify, you also turned iCloud Photo Library on in Settings > iCloud > Photos on your iPhone 6? Just being logged into iCloud does not enable iCloud Photo Library. You must explicitly do so on each device where you wish to use it.
    – tubedogg
    Apr 25, 2015 at 11:27
  • Yep, thx, it was switched on, interestingly it said Low Disk Space,18 item to upload, I freed up some space (now have 400Mb free) and it says "18 items to upload". I wonder if it needs to complete this first before it will start to synch with the rest.
    – Bartley
    Apr 25, 2015 at 12:00
  • In my experience it uploads before downloading, yes.
    – tubedogg
    Apr 25, 2015 at 12:00

2 Answers 2


I am seeing the iCloud Photo Library syncing getting faster in iOS 11, even with my backup phone iPhone 5s.

Prior to iOS 11, it takes as soon as several hours, and up to days for the new photos to show up on all my devices. And at that time, it needs WiFi connection for the sync to happen. **The feature is designed the way that plugging into power and connected to WiFi triggers syncing. **

But in iOS 11, the photos even sync on cellular (but limited, eg. videos excluded). And the photos show up on all my other devices almost instantaneously - within minutes. (And my home and office WiFi is upgraded at all)

To conclude, to make the syncing faster:

  • Update to iOS 11 (it really helps with the photo syncing process)
  • Plug the device to power
  • Connect to good WiFi
  • Suspend other network heavy applications such as App Store Updates.

Apple advertise the sync as "instantaneous"; however, doesn't state what time it takes to sync photos between devices.

I have 7 devices and so far haven't found any obvious pattern with regards to syncing time. It varies from device to device, from network to network and from OS version to OS version.

What I found is that newer doesn't necessary mean quicker.

From my experience - it could take between minutes and days for photos to appear on the device.

If you have iCloud Photo Library turned on, then there are no additional steps needed to sync; however, you can try to force trigger the sync by putting your device into flight mode and back.

Also check whether you have enough space on your device. Sometimes it prevents photos from being synced if you have less than 300MB available on it.

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