I wanted to disable the iCloud photo library and the information said that I could still download my photos for 30 days, so I did. After disabling the library I got an email with the instructions to download the photos to the Photos app on my Mac.

However, it seems that the only way to download the backup of my photos is to reactivate the iCloud photo library for which now I have to upgrade my iCloud plan and pay. I just want to download a backup of my photos and be done with iCloud.

I wasn't told upfront that if I wanted to download a backup of the photos during those 30 days I would have to pay for an upgrade plan I don't want.

How do I do this without having to pay/upgrade to a plan that I don't want?

  • The act of turning off iCloud Photo Library doesn't cause you to suddenly be over your iCloud free storage limit (5 GB). Were you already over the limit? Did you purchase a storage upgrade in the past? Even if you downgraded or canceled a paid storage upgrade, it wouldn't have taken effect until your current upgrade time ran out, so you would have had time to deal with it.
    – tubedogg
    Sep 20, 2016 at 20:26
  • I was at the limit (and hence why I disabled iPhoto). I guess some things that were pending because I was at the limit got uploaded directly afterwards, and then I could not go back to download the library.
    – gnzlbg
    Sep 22, 2016 at 9:07

1 Answer 1


Go to www.icloud.com, select the iPhoto library, and on the top right corner there is an option to mark photos you want to download and download them through the browser. Then you can read them to your photo library on your mac.

I could not find an option to download all the photos as a "Photos library file" so that one can switch the Photos library directly to it on the mac. But it's at least something.

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