How to Use Download and Keep Originals in iCloud Photo Library


iCloud can backup your iPhone photos safely. However, once photos are deleted or lost from iPhone, you can use Apeaksoft iPhone Data Recovery to scan and download iCloud photos directly without any device.

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While you use iCloud to backup photos from iPhone or iPad, you will be given two options, Optimize iPhone Device and Download and Keep Originals. However, many of you may ignore or even do not know it.

As a result, they will find the photos exported to computer via some third-party tools are not full resolution.

What are they? How to use it?

Here, we will show the comprehensive introduction of it and the guide to use it.

Download iCloud Photo

Part 1. Introduction of "optimize iPhone Storage" and "Download and Keep Originals"

"Download and Keep Originals" and "optimize iPhone Storage" are the options given to you while you set up photos backup to iCloud on your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch.

iCloud photos keep all of your photos and videos in original and high-resolution version, while you turn on iCloud photos backup.

Back to your iOS device, it will leave the two options for you.

"Download and Keep Originals" means that the photos that will be backed up to iCloud will be kept original and full-resolution both on iCloud and iOS device.

"optimize iPhone Storage" means that the pictures that will be backed up to iCloud will be replaced with optimized version on iOS device, and full versions are stored in iCloud.

So the difference between those two options is the photos resolutions that are kept on your iOS device after iCloud backup.

Part 2. How to Use "Download and Keep Originals" and "optimize iPhone Storage"

"Download and Keep Originals" or "optimize iPhone Storage"?

The option will be decided by yourself based on your own needs.

If your iPhone has enough space, it will be OK to store original photos in full-resolution on iPhone. However, once your iPhone is low on space, "optimize iPhone Storage" will be good and automatically enabled, smaller and space-saving photos and videos are kept on your device.

For manually changing the settings, the steps are very easy to follow.

Step 1 On your iOS device running, go to "Settings" >"your name" > "iCloud" > "Photos".

For iOS device running in iOS 10.2 or earlier, tap "Settings" > "iCloud" > "Photos"

And then to turn on "iCloud Photos".

Step 2Hit "Optimize iPhone Storage" or "Download and Keep Originals" option as you wish.

Download and Keep Originals

You may need: How to Share Photos with iCloud Photo Sharing

Part 3. How to Access Full-Resolution Photos on iPhone

As mentioned above, once you select "optimize iPhone Storage", your iPhone will keep the optimized images with smaller size. In other word, the images on your iPhone will be not full-resolution.

When you access your iPhone photos on computer with some third-party tools, you will find the image may be not clear as its originals.

Want to access the full-resolution photos? Here are 3 ways, download iCloud photos to iPhone, download iPhone photos from iCloud, and disable photos iCloud backup.

Transfer Full Resolution Photos from iPhone to Computer

For downloading the original full-resolution photos on iPhone, you just need to switch from "optimize iPhone Storage" to "Download and Keep Originals" in Part 2.

Or just turn off photos backup on iCloud.

Go to "Settings" >"your name" > "iCloud" > "Photos" > Toggle "iCloud Photos" to OFF.

For iOS device running in iOS 10.2 or earlier, tap "Settings" > "iCloud" > "Photos" > Toggle "iCloud Photos" to OFF.


Note: Once you disable photos backup on iCloud, the photos synced to iCloud before will store in iCloud, but it will not sync to iCloud later. However, the photos backed up to iCloud will still keep optimized versions on your iOS device.

Then you could use third-party apps like MobieTrans, iPhone Transfer, etc. to easily transfer photos from iPhone/iPad/iPod touch to computer with original high quality.

Transfer contacts, photos, videos, music and messages from iPhone/iPad/iPod to computer, sync data between iOS devices, and add data from computer to iOS device directly.

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Don't miss: How to sync photos from iPhone to Computer

Download the Original Photos from iCloud for iPhone

Moreover, you can use Apeaksoft iPhone Data Recovery to access the full resolution images from Camera Roll, Photo Stream, Photo Library and app photos. Apart from accessing photos from iCloud, it can also restore the photos from iTunes. Moreover, even the deleted photos can be retrieved from iPhone 14/13/12/11/XS/XR/X, iPad Pro/mini/Air, etc.

Apeaksoft iPhone Data Recovery

  • Recover deleted photos from iCloud backups with a few steps.
  • View iCloud photos and selectively retrieve certain ones.
  • Keep the original format and quality of iCloud photos.
  • Access iCloud photos on your computer without iPhone.
Download for WinDownload for Mac

Step 1 Free download iPhone Data Recovery to your computer. Install and run it immediately after the installation.

Select "Recover from iCloud Backup File" in the left bar. Input your Apple ID and the password to log in to iCloud account.

Choose iCloud Backup

Step 2 After the successful login, you can see all the iCloud backup with the iCloud account.

Select the one you need, and click "Download" to start to download the iCloud backup.

Download iCloud Backup

Step 3 In the pop-up window, you need to select the data type that you want to access from iCloud.

Here, we need to select "Camera Roll", "Photo Stream", "Photo Library" and "App Photos". If you have other photos that are attached in app like Kik, Line, WhatsApp, Messenger, etc., just also checkmark them. Then click "Next" to start to scan and download the full-resolution photos from iCloud.

If you want to download documents from iCloud to Mac or Windows, then you should select the checkbox of App Document.

Select iCloud Photo Types

Step 4 Wait minutes and you can see all the selected photo types show in the left sidebar.

Click it and the detailed photos will show in the right window.

Checkmark the full resolution photos that you want to download, and click "Recover" to save them on your computer.

Download Original Photos from iCloud

Download Original iPhone Photos from iCloud to Computer

If you only want to access the photos from iCloud to computer in full-resolution, you just download the photos from

Go to on your computer > Sign into your iCloud account with Apple ID and password > Click "Photos" > Select one or more photos and videos that you want to download > Click and hold the cloud icon in the upper-right corner of the window > Choose "Unmodified Original" to download the original full-resolution photos to your computer.

Note: Surely, the photos on your iPhone are still kept as optimized version. Want to get the downloaded full-resolution photos into iPhone? Check here.

Download Original Photos from iCloud

Part 4. FAQs of Downloading iCloud Photos

Why are my iCloud Photos not downloading?

There are many reasons for iCloud photos not downloading to iPhone. iCloud Photo Library is not enabled. Network connection is not available, and more. For the detailed reasons and solutions to this problem, you should visit this post: How to fix iCloud photos not downloading.

Which is better optimize iPhone storage or download and keep originals?

optimize iPhone Storage will keep the optimized photos on your iOS device after the iCloud backup, and keeps the full-resolution of the pictures in iCloud, which will take up more space on iCloud and free up space on iOS device. Download and Keep Originals will keep full-resolution images on both iOS device and iCloud, which will eat up the space on iCloud and iOS device. If you want to view the full-resolution images on iOS device, then Download and Keep Originals is better for you. If you want to free up space for iOS device, then optimize iPhone Storage is better for you.

How long does it take to download and keep originals to iPhone?

The time you take to download and keep the originals to iPhone from iCloud will depend on your Internet connection status and file size. However, one thing you should notice that the original photos and videos are stored in your iCloud account for 30 days. You should download them within the time.


Here we mainly talk about the options of "Download and Keep Originals" and "optimize iPhone Storage" in iCloud Photos. You can use it to help free up iPhone storage or keep the full resolution of images on a high-storage iPhone. When you use third-party apps to transfer photos from iPhone, you had better keep original full-resolution images on device.

Which one will be your choice? Leave your comments below.

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