How to Download All Photos from iCloud Library Without Reducing Quality

Of all the challenges the general user has with setting up iCloud, managing photographs is arguably the biggest. There is often a confusion between what is in iCloud and what is stored locally, and device settings usually do not allay the doubts.

And for many users, as we saw in our AllTop9 Answers section, deciding to download all photos from iCloud Library can even increase confusion if not done correctly. So let’s see how to achieve this without reducing the quality of our images.

How? ‘Or’ What export photos from iCloud library to Mac

If you want to download all the photos from your iCloud storage drive, we’ll assume the Photo Library in iCloud is turned on, so all your devices can see and manage the collections in the cloud. So on your Mac , open the Photos app and in your Preferences (iCloud tab), confirm that this photo library in iCloud is enabled.

The important thing is to make sure that you have activated the option “Download originals to this Mac”. If you use the “Optimize Mac storage” option, you can export the photos, but if your computer is running out of free space, the export will be done with lower quality versions of your original photos, which we do not wish.

The next step. Go to the Edit menu, ‘Select all’ to take all the photos in the collection. If your photo library is very large, be patient and give your computer a few seconds to complete the task.

Now go to the File menu, select “Export” and we have two options to consider.

  • “Export N items”, where N is the total number of photos and videos you have in your photo library, you will export all of those photos and videos in their original quality. However, if you have edited a photo using the application’s own tools, the edited image will be exported and not the original image.
  • “Export original unaltered for N items” will export all images and videos, but ignoring any edits you created there and, therefore, taking the originals without editing them.

In one of the two options that we have selected, a dialog appears with which we can select the image format and the quality of the videos that we want to export. Select the highest quality to have the video exported in its original resolution.

Also enable the option to include the location of the photo in the image metadata, so that if you move them back to Photos or another photo management program, they can continue to be organized accordingly. from the site where they were taken.

Finally, pay attention to the last option. If you don’t want all photos to be exported to one directory without any organization, you can select “Current name” so that a subfolder is generated for each moment you have in the library. It is recommended if you have several thousand photos to export.

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Once you accept it, the export process begins. Be patient, because if there are a lot of photographs, it will take some time to process and complete the task. Make sure you have enough space on your Mac to be able to export them all or do it directly to an external hard drive with enough space to avoid any issues. Keep in mind that the albums and slideshows you created in Photos won’t be exported, and it will be an organization layer that you lose outside of the app.