A friend of mine is traveling to China and he was asking if iCloud Photo Library is reliable enough in China so he can take pictures past the 16GB limit on his iPhone? I know Google is delayed or blocked in China, so Google Photos is out. What about iCloud?

  • He'd need cell service to use iCPL. If your going to be taking a lot of pictures, don't buy a 16GB (especially if there isn't going to be Internet) Sep 26, 2015 at 4:43
  • My friend came back from China. They relied on what I suggested, allowing the phone to back up to iCloud in the evenings at the hotel. Unfortunately, this set up did not account for two things which ultimately filled up their phones and were unable to take pictures past the 3rd day of their 14 day trip. Very sad. These two things were: Mar 19, 2016 at 6:36
  • - wifi service was spotty - Apple will not upload any of your photos or pictures unless there is more than 300mb free disk space on your device. It is incredible that apple doesn't warn people about this more broadly Mar 19, 2016 at 6:47

1 Answer 1


iCloud and Apple services are not blocked in China, the iPhone will be able to access iCloud Photo Library and www.icloud.com

Keep in mind that maybe the user will be prompted to enter additional information in order to login if Two-step Verification is enabled. This can include verification code sent to the device or SMS messages to the number associated with the Apple ID.

As alternative to iCloud Photo Library, OneDrive from Microsoft can be used for the same purpose that offers 15GB of space (I don't know if the Upload Camera bonus for additional 15GB is still active). The service has a dedicated app for iPhone (link).

UPDATE: On November 2015 Microsoft announced that will reduce the free space of OneDrive to 5GB and the Upload Camera bonus will also be removed.

SECOND UPDATE: On 11 December 2015 Microsoft announced that the users can keep their 15GB storage plus the 15GB Camera bonus if they confirm using this page: https://preview.onedrive.com/bonus/

Dropbox is blocked in China and can't be used to backup your mobile phone photos.

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