I am uploading my whole photo library from a MacBook to iCloud. Synchronized devices (iPad & iPhone) are set to optimise storage.

Are all photos on iCloud being downloaded to each device? What if photo Library's size exceeds the device memory?


1 Answer 1


In Optimise storage mode, low quality thumbnails of all photos and videos will be synced to iPhone and iPad. Full library will be there on Mac (if it is set to store full version) and iCloud only.

When you try to open(or edit) a photo on iPhone from its thumbnail, only then it downloads the full size file. So if you repeat the same for a lot of photos, there can be conflicts between which files to keep and which to erase to save space on iPhone. Then you'll see warnings for storage.

  • Thanks a lot for explaining this. Therefore, if "unmodified originals" is selected, an exact copy of all the photos will be downloaded to the device?
    – Riccardo
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 7:39
  • Yes, @Riccardo i.sstatic.net/WegBY.png same thing for iPhone.
    – anki
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 7:49

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