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I was reading up on iCloud Photos on Apple's website and felt slightly confused. From my understanding when enabling iCloud Photos on my iPhone, all my photos would be uploaded to iCloud using my iCloud+ storage.

But on Apple's website the following statement confuses me.

Download copies of your photos and videos When you turn on iCloud Photos, your photos and videos automatically upload to iCloud. They're not duplicated in your iCloud backup, so you should keep backup copies of your library.

Let's say I manage to damage my phone to the point where it can't be repaired and I need to purchase a new iPhone. Wouldn't my entire library appear on the new iPhone assuming I'm using the same Apple ID and have iCloud Photos enabled on the new device as well?

I understand that the iCloud backup of my iPhone doesn't contain my photos. But why would I need to keep backup copies of my photo library locally if they're already in iCloud Photos?

I might just be overthinking it.

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iCloud is a synchronization service, not a backup.

Let's say I manage to damage my phone to the point where it can't be repaired and I need to purchase a new iPhone. Wouldn't my entire library appear on the new iPhone…

Yes because you would be synchronizing your existing iCloud library with your new iPhone. However, if you delete a photo on your phone for any reason (by mistake, for example) it will synchronize that change to iCloud and propgate to all of your devices as well.

A backup, on the other hand is a static copy of the file. No matter what you do the file on any device following that backup, it will be preserved until deleted or overwritten.

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  • Got it, thank you so much for the explanation.
    – Mr Riksson
    May 27, 2023 at 18:44

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