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Home > Tips > How to Turn off iCloud Photo Library but Retain Photos on iPhone or iPad

How to Turn off iCloud Photo Library but Retain Photos on iPhone or iPad

How to turn off iCloud Photo Library? What happens if you turn off iCloud Photos Library? If you are confused about the questions, you will find the answers in this article.

Updated Apr 26,2017 | by Shannon

iCloud Photo Library offers a new method to manage and securely save your photos in iCloud. All your photos will be synced to iCloud. You are able to view your photos in any of your devices, like your iPhone, iPad and Mac. Just make sure they already signed in with the same Apple ID. However, with iPhone's brilliant camera features, soon you will find photos drain the free iCloud storage in a short time. Then you may wonder how to turn off iCloud Photo Library and what happens when you disable iCloud Photo Library? Well, here we have the answer to your question.

One Related Article You May Need: 4 Ways to Solve Photos Not Syncing to iCloud

How to Turn off iCloud Photo Library

The step of turning off iCloud Photo Library is simple. You can disable iCloud Photo Library on any of your devices.

On iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 10.3 and later:

  •  Go to Settings > Your Name > iCloud > Photos

  • Toggle off the option of iCloud Photo Library

On Mac:

  • Go to System Preferences > iCloud

  • Deselect iCloud Photo Library

What happens if you turn off iCloud Photo Library?

Will photos still keep on the device after turning off iCloud Photo Library? The answer is – it depends! If the photos are taken by the device, or you already saved the full-resolution file on that device, there's no need to worry losing any photos. Otherwise, to make sure, it is always better to backup or download iCloud photos to your iPhone, iPad or Mac before you turn off iCloud Photo Library. 

How to Retain Photos before Disabling iCloud Photo Library

When you turn off your iCloud Photo Library on all your devices, this will also remove any media that was synced from your iCloud. As mentioned before, whether your photos are retained to your phone or not depends on your phone settings. It's better to be sure and download the original photos to your phone before you proceeding on turning off the iCloud Photo Library.

However, when you disable your iCloud Photo Library, your images are usually safe and retained in the library. 

  • Go to Settings > iCloud > Photos

  • Tap the Download and Keep Originals tab.

By doing this, all the synced images that are on your linked accounts will be downloaded to your iPhone or iPad. When doing this, make sure that you are on a Wi-Fi connection and that your battery is sufficient since iCloud Photo Library syncs with a media only with these two.

When you are sure that you are now fully synced, you just have to uncheck the iCloud Photo Library. In this way, you are finally "severed" from iCloud Photo Library. All the images in your iCloud Photo Library are retained in the iCloud library unless you delete them in any of the locations they are stored. But because you cannot be 100% sure, it's always for the best to backup the photos to your local library.

How to Backup Photos with 1-Click

From this point forward, it is also ideal that you set up a recurring backup for your photos with iTunes. Or look for other iPhone manager or back up tool like iPhone Photo Manager Free to backup photos with 1-click.

Step 1: Free download and install iPhone/iPad manager – IOTransfer to PC. IOTransfer works in Windows 7/8/8.1/10 and compatible with iOS 12/11.

Step 2: Launch IOTransfer and connect your iPhone or iPad to PC with a USB cable. Click “Trust “ when you see a pop-up notification “Trust This Computer” to confirm the connection.

Step 3: Click Photos and then click Transfer to PC. Then all the photos in your iPhone or iPad will be transferred to PC for backup.


Tips: You can choose the transfer location before clicking Transfer to PC.


In the previous, we had summarized many tips of backing up iPhone/iPad photos. You can view them at:

Transfer Photos from iPhone to PC at Ease

How to Back up iPhone/iPad Photos

The Bottom Line

As you can see, it is easy to turn off iCloud Photos Library. Before doing it, we suggest you backup your  photos to PC with IOTransfer. So if ever your photos saved in the iCloud Library or locally in your phone are lost, you still have a backup on PC. If the above method didn't solve your problem of turning off iCloud Photo Library and the consequences. Please leave a comment below.


You can also see just how much storage is left in your iCloud by going to Settings then iCloud then to Storage and to Manage Storage in your iPhone. On Mac, you can also check the remaining storage when you open System Preferences then to iCloud > Manage. With your iCloud Drive, it is also possible to recover deleted backups, purge Recently Deleted Folder and more.

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