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I need to move photos from one iCloud account (my work account, on my work iPhone) to another one (my private account on my private iPhone). I used the work phone for a while to take photos, but now I finally upgraded my private phone and I want to separate affairs again.

Naturally, I tried a shared album and copied the photos from there into the camera roll of the target phone. But I realized that they arrived in reduced resolution (3 MP instead of 12 MP) and that all edit history was gone (i.e. I'm not able to go to the unedited state on my other phone).

Then I found the option to share the photo with all meta-data and edits. I activated that, did the shared album thing again, but the photos were still reduced in size, and there was no edit history. (Maybe the geo location was there, don't remember.)

Then I tried sending a single photo via Airdrop, with that option activated. This time, I got geo-location and the full resolution, but still no edit history. [That's actually wrong! See answer below.]

I also tried exporting the raw unedited photos from the Photo app on the Macbook connected with my iCloud, but obviously this loses the edit history again, so I didn't even bother to import them to my private account.

So, the question is: How can I move photos (and videos) from one iCloud account to another, or simply from one device to another, and retain...

  • the full resolution,
  • geo location,
  • the little "heart"
  • and the full edit history?

Is that even possible? Any help appreciated!

I do have a Macbook connected to the source account, if that helps, and that Macbook as well as the two phones are on the latest OS versions. I also have a Macbook connected to the target account, but on an older MacOS.

Side note: That half-working sharing with full details option is not even available on the Macbook.

2 Answers 2

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I meanwhile found out that I was wrong regarding missing edits when sending the photos via Airdrop.

Decided to keep the post, in case somebody else needs this.

So, at the time of writing, what actually works is to send photos via Airdrop, with that somewhat hidden "keep everything" option enabled. To me it looks like this option is only available on iOS, but not on the Mac Photo app.

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The best option would be:

  1. With the origin account, set up your Photo Library on macOS to download originals
  2. Transfer the Photo Library to another macOS user/device running the destination iCloud account and open it in Photos. Set it as the System Photo Library and enable iCloud.
  3. iCloud will merge the photos with any existing ones in the destination account.

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