How to Backup iCloud Photos to PC/External Hard Drive

How do you backup iCloud photos to PC or external hard drive? iCloud Photos is not limited to the iPhone and Mac, and you can back up your photos from iCloud to a PC or external hard drive. This post will tell you several methods to back up iCloud photos easily.

May by May Updated December 8, 2023
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Best way to backup iCloud photos to PC?

I am trying to back up all ~13k photos/videos from my iCloud to my Windows PC. Does anybody have advice for doing this?

- Question from

Why Do You Backup iCloud Photos to PC

iCloud is a data storage service specifically for Apple users, which can help users back up photos, music, contacts, and more. However, iCloud only provides users with 5GB of storage space for free. If the limit is exceeded, users need to purchase more space or transfer data to a local device.

Therefore, although iCloud offers users the convenience of sharing files and managing data, many users also want to backup iCloud photos to PC or external hard drive due to a variety of reasons (such as full iCloud storage, iCloud backup stuck, etc.)

Backup iCloud Photos to PC/External Hard Drive

How to Backup iCloud Photos to PC/External Hard Drive

Backing up iCloud photos to a PC/external hard drive is probably the best option for most users. Here are two ways to backup iCloud photos to PC or external hard drive.

Method 1: Download Photos from iCloud to PC/External Hard Drive via iCloud

Normally, iCloud is built into the Mac. If you are using a Windows PC, you will need to download iCloud for Windows from Apple’s website. After that, you can set it up to automatically download photos from iCloud to PC. Here are the detailed steps:

Step 1: Right-click the iCloud icon on your taskbar and choose Open iCloud Settings. Then, enter your Apple ID and password to sign in.

Step 2: Check Photos and click the Options button next to it.

Check Photos on iCloud

Step 3: Check iCloud Photo Library and Download new photos and videos to my PC and click the Done button.

Download iCloud Photos to PC

To backup iCloud photos to external hard drive, you need to connect the external hard drive to your PC and change the location to the external hard drive by clicking the Change... button next to the Download new photos and videos to my PC option.

By enabling photo sharing between iCloud and your PC, new photos taken on your iPhone or iPad and uploaded to iCloud will be automatically downloaded to your PC.

Method 2: Download iCloud Photos to PC/External Hard Drive via

If you don’t want to download and install iCloud for Windows, you can directly go to to download your photos from iCloud to your PC or external hard drive. Here is how to do that:

Step 1: Open a browser on your PC and go to Then, sign in with your Apple ID and password.

Step 2: Click Photos in the main interface and choose the photos you want to download.

Step 3: Click the download icon in cloud shape and click the Download button to save the photos on your PC or external hard drive.

Download Photos from

Bonus: Easy Way to Backup iCloud Photos to PC/External Hard Drive

iCloud is one of the best ways to back up photos from your iPhone to your PC. However, upgrading iCloud storage is quite expensive and iCloud is network-dependent, so more and more people prefer to use backup tools to save and restore their data. Here it’s highly recommended to use FoneTool - a free and reliable backup tool for Windows 11/10/8/7.

FoneTool is a good option for you to copy iCloud photos to PC or external hard drive. When you need to free up some iCloud space but don’t want to lose your iCloud photos, you can download your iCloud photos and use FoneTool to back up your photos.

Why choose FoneTool to back up iCloud photos? Some reasons are listed below:

Free and Easy-to-Use: FoneTool has a user-friendly interface that helps you back up your iCloud photos and transfer photos and videos from iPhone to PC easily.
Easily Preview Photos: You have multiple photos on your iPhone or iPad, but there is no need to back up every photo. Use FoneTool to preview and select what photos you want.
Flexible to Choose Backup Location: FoneTool allows you to change the backup storage path to store your backup file to your PC, external hard drive, or USB flash drive.
Backup Photos Without Cellular Data: nlike iCloud (which requires a strong and stable internet to back up photos), FoneTool doesn’t need your cellular data or Wi-Fi to perform a backup.
100% Safe: Unlike cloud services like iCloud, FoneTool saves backup files locally, which can protect privacy from leaking to the greatest extent.

So, how to use FoneTool to back up your photos? Here is the full guide:

Step 1: Download FoneTool and follow the on-screen prompt to install it on your PC. Then, connect your iPhone to your PC by tapping Trust This Computer on the iPhone.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2: Choose Phone Backup > Selective Backup. Then, click the icon to preview and choose photos on your iPhone > click OK to return.

Preview and Choose photos to Backup

Step 3: You can enable backup encryption and select the backup path (here you can choose an external hard drive to back up your iPhone). Then, click Start Backup and your photos will be transferred in seconds.

Start Photos Backup

Once the backup is complete, you can go to Backup History and click the View button to check your photos backed up. Here you can also delete and restore your backups.

If you have backed up your iCloud photos to PC, you can also make use of FoneTool to manage your iCloud photos on PC. Here is how to do that:

Step 1: Launch FoneTool on your PC > Navigate to My iCloud, sign in with your Apple ID, and enter the Manage iCloud section.

Click Manage iCloud

Step 2: Within the intuitive interface, click the Photos icon and click the Upload button to upload your files to iCloud.

Upload Photos

When you need to download or delete photos on iCloud, you can select the desired photos and click the Download or Delete button.

The Bottom Line

That’s all about how to backup iCloud photos to PC or external hard drive. You can go to or use iCloud for Windows to download photos from iCloud. If you don’t want to use the iCloud storage space, the best way to backup photos is to use FoneTool. With this free and safe backup tool, you can back up and transfer your pictures, messages, and contacts from iPhone to PC or external hard drive with only a few clicks. Try it out at once!

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