I use Optimize iPad Storage in the Apple Photos app for my iPad, but sometimes I want an entire album offline to show someone. Is there a better way to do this than flicking through the photos one by one and waiting for them to download?

If this is not possible, I don't mind downloading all the photos. Selecting Download and Keep Originals doesn’t seem to download the photos until I view them.

3 Answers 3


There are actually multiple levels of download. Even when you view an image, a device-optimized version is retrieved. Only when you Edit or Share a photo is it fully downloaded from iCloud (possibly when you zoom in all the way, also).

With that being said, you can’t bulk-Edit; however, you can bulk-Share. Here are the steps that worked for me:

  1. Go into the album you wish to download locally.
  2. Tap Select.
  3. Tap Select All.
  4. Tap the Share icon in the bottom-left hand corner.
  5. Select Email.
  6. Wait for the Preparing progress indicator to complete. This may take a while depending on how large your album is and on the speed of your connection.
  7. When your email is ready, Cancel out of it.

Remember that these photos are eligible for purging if your device becomes low on storage.

Note: I tried this on a relatively small album (20 photos and videos). I don’t know if your iPhone might crash attempting to share 500 photos at once.

If you choose to Download and Keep Originals, I believe your iPhone does that while your device is locked, on Wi-Fi, and has sufficient charge. It might help to have Photos as the foreground app when locking the iPhone.

  • 2
    Thanks, the email trick showed 800MB for 45 photos so i assume those are the originals 😅 Commented Jun 19, 2016 at 10:55

I'm not sure this can be done directly, as Apple has created this mode in order to save space and not to leave Originals on the interested device in order to take a quick look at those even when Offline.

But there's a way around you may find very useful and suitable for your specific case, and not only.

iXpand flash drive

Earlier this year, San Disk and other brands have released a new type of flash drives, this flash drives are specifically designed to have a USB connector and a Lightning one. This allows you to connect it directly either to your Computer or to your iDevice. This way you can save all your important files, photos and videos in it and access them Offline, even while flying, via your iDevice, simply connecting the flash drive to it.

The San Disk flash drive is called iXpand, and it comes in different storage capacities, from 16GB up to 128GB.

Of course you're not restricted to purchase a San Disk one, even because I'm not promoting them in any way, but their flash drive's been the first one I've personally heard of.

Although, if you're interested to take a closer look at it, you can find further more details on their dedicated page here.

Otherwise, you can check out this 9to5mac article which features some of the best new lighting flash drives for iDevices.


As of Photos 3.0, you can right-click on an Album name under My Albums, and select Download Originals to this Mac.

  • Right-click on iPad? 😊 Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 14:02
  • Oops, I just noticed the question was for iPad and not for iMac / MacBook. Leaving the answer here anyway, because this is the top hit when you Google for the problem on iMac / MacBook as well. Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 14:06

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