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View Photos Everywhere

Once iCloud Photo Library is set up, photo synchronization happens automatically when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network; photos don’t transfer over the cellular connection, so they don’t consume your phone plan’s data allotment. At any time, scroll to the bottom of the Photos window to view the status of uploads and downloads (4.6).


4.6 View the sync status (iPhone shown here).

Pause iCloud Photo Library syncing

The best part of iCloud Photo Library is that you don’t have to think about it. However, there might be times when you want to put it on pause—for example, if you’re tethering a laptop to your iPhone’s cellular network connection, or if you have just imported a lot of photos and don’t want the uploading to compete with other activities on your network.

In that case, open the Photos for OS X preferences, click the iCloud button, and then click the Pause for One Day button. The application stops checking for new images and resumes after 24 hours. To start it up again before then, click the Resume button that appears in place of Pause for One Day.

View photos in optimized libraries

When you open a photo that has been optimized to save storage space, you’ll experience a slight delay while the high-resolution version downloads (4.7). You don’t need to perform any extra action—I just don’t want you to be surprised (as I was) when a blurry version appears the first time.


4.7 When opening an optimized image, a low-resolution version appears (note that it’s slightly fuzzy) with an indicator that the high-resolution version is downloading (top). After a few seconds, the high-quality one is loaded (bottom).

iCloud Photo Library on the Web

Having your photo library available no matter where you are isn’t limited to just the devices you own. As long as you can access the Web, you can view your photo library.

  1. In a Web browser, go to

  2. Sign in using your Apple ID and password.

  3. On the Home screen that appears, click the Photos button. You can do most everything in your library that you can in the Photos application aside from editing the images, including sharing and marking favorites (4.8). Albums remain intact, but smart albums show up empty, since their contents aren’t auto-generated via the Web interface.


    4.8 Your photo library at

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