I have an iPhone 5S running iOS 8.3 and a mid-2011 iMac running the latest version of Yosemite.

On Phone

  • I have iCloud Photo Library turned on.
  • I have "Optimize iPhone Storage checked
  • I have upload to my Photo Stream on.
  • I have iCloud Photo Sharing on.

In Photos on the desktop

  • I have iCloud Photo Library unchecked (I don't want all my images in the cloud and I don't want to pay for the storage)
  • I have Photo Stream checked
  • I have iCloud Photo Sharing checked.

I created an album on the iPhone (and there are some others that are not being synced) and it's filled with about 20 images but they are not appearing in Photos. They don't appear after a sync either.


I am afraid to restore the phone for fear of losing photos that are stuck in limbo somewhere....

2 Answers 2


So I found out that photo albums that you create on your iPhone DO NOT SYNC back to your desktop computer.

Mental note: Make all albums on the COMPUTER FIRST and then sync them from the computer to the iPhone.

So stupid.

  • 1
    This is incorrect, and I've just tested to prove it. Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 16:59
  • In my case I figure out that if your iPhone is in "Low power mode" it doesn't upload it up to iCloud.
    – dubadub
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 21:48

You can check if the photos are "safe" in iCloud if you log on to iCloud.com ... at least you will then know if it's OK to restore the iPhone without losing your photos

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