My iCloud account is already set up and contains several years worth of photos.

If I log in to my iCloud account from a new iPad, I understand that only the last 60 days worth of photos will be downloaded to the iPad.

But I had also understood that if I log in to my iCloud account on new Macbook, all the iCloud photo library, not just the last 60 days, will appear in iPhoto/Photo (after setting the appropriate iCloud System Preferences, and the iCloud preferences within iPhoto/Photos).

Yet even on a Mac I am only getting the last 60 days of photos. How do I get iPhoto/Photos to download the full iCloud photo library?

  • 1
    IPhoto does not support iCloud Photo Library, so you will only see what is shared in My Photo Stream in iPhoto (which is last 30 days or 1000 photos).
    – tubedogg
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 19:53

1 Answer 1


iCloud Photo Library needs to be enabled in Settings (on iOS or OS X) devices and then the photos will sync. Also make sure the devices are up to date.

I have just been through the process on a replacement iPhone (iOS 8.3). I setup the device on Friday (12 June 2015) and only today (18 June 2015) did my Photo's application show the correct count of photos (approx 25000). The most recent ones have thumbnails already and the older ones are still getting them. I did not realize when I setup the device that it was still on iOS 8.0 (Photo Library was marked as Beta) so that could have contributed to the delayed sync.

This device has been on wifi networks (work / home) for the majority of the time since configuration. Please note that this post is from South Africa where both of these connections top out at 10 mbps on a good day.

  • So the secret is just to wait a week? After the initial download, I am expecting to see photos appear gradually. Even if they are downloaded at some arbitrarily low rate, they should still be moving along, no?
    – Calaf
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 13:31
  • That was my thoughts as well, I was hoping to see some arriving on the preview. This morning, I noticed my phone's battery was draining very quickly and then checked and saw they all there, last night there were only a batch of recent photos.
    – Alain King
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 13:39
  • Very interesting. So either Apple is saving on bandwidth by waiting to confirm the user is sure they want to download, or they wait until a particularly low (CPU/network) usage on their side to initiate the download.
    – Calaf
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 13:48

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