I will be switching to an iPhone soon. At the moment, my best photos reside in a nice folder structure in iCloud Photos. When getting the iPhone, i still want to be able to view those images but not clutter my iCloud Photos library with every single trivial image I take on the phone camera.

Is it possible to keep the iPhone's Photos app connected to my iCloud photo storage and not have every image I make with the iPhone's camera end up in iCloud as well?

  • iCloud is a sync service and not a backup service. It's designed to give you access to all your photos/files on your signed-in device. You can keep this turned off in Settings so these photos are not synced to your device. How many photos do you want to keep on your iPhone?
    – fsb
    Commented Jul 1, 2020 at 14:21
  • @fsb, thanks for the quick reply, although I am not certain if I really made my question clear enough. To address your points: -- I am aware iCloud is no backup solution and am not using it as such. My iCloud photo archive is more a portable, shareable portfolio. -- I am also aware that I could turn off iCloud access completely, but that's not what I'm asking. -- Finally, I have around 500 images in my iCloud "portfolio" atm, and will keep a maximum several hundred from day-to-day snapshots until I delete them or move them from the phone.
    – jstarek
    Commented Jul 1, 2020 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


No, iCloud Photo is an all-or-nothing type of thing. You can't selectively decide what photos are synced to your devices are what are not.

The only way that I know you can keep trivial photos off iCloud is to disconnect iCloud Photos from that iPhone. You'd still be able to keep the existing photos in iCloud but you'd have to manually add any new photos from that device. You said in the comments that's not what you want to do but I'm adding that info here in case the comments get deleted.

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