I have been using iCloud Photo Library on my Mac for several months but I'm wanting to quit using it now. If I go in and try to turn it off, I get a message that all my photos will be deleted from my Mac but the full resolution originals will still be available in iCloud for 30 days. I have already downloaded my photos from iCloud into a download folder on my Mac so that I can import them into Photos.

My main concern with disabling is: First off, will all my photos be deleted from my Mac right away? If all my photos are removed, will that also remove all my albums in Photos? Or will my photos be removed but when I import the downloaded photos from iCloud, will the Albums reappear? I do not want to have to go back and recreate all new albums with the pictures I've chosen to put into those albums.

I found the following article about safely disabling the iCloud library, but it doesn't address the warning that I get when I want to turn it off.


  • What do you have the storage setting under Settings -> iCloud -> "Download Originals to this Mac" or "Optimize Mac Storage" set to? Sep 5, 2015 at 1:12

1 Answer 1


When you disable iCloud Photo Library, it will not delete any full resolution photos that are already on your computer. The issue is that your entire photo library has not yet been downloaded. You need to disable Optimization to force iCloud Photo Library to download the rest of the library.

What it will delete are thumbnails that have no corresponding image yet. For example, if it hasn't downloaded an image, it will discard the thumbnail (because there is no corresponding image). If you are receiving the message than that means that something hasn't yet had a chance to download. If your library is small enough, the simplest thing to do is simply look at each photo at full resolution, with Optimization of Storage off. This will force each one to download.

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