Use Optimise iPhone Storage on iPhone


I have always been avoiding this feature as I’ve been exporting all the photos/videos for backup and storage outside of iCloud.

With a new iPhone on the way, I’m trying to understand if setting this up would actually be a problem. It would certainly make transitioning to the new iPhone easier I think, as it wouldn’t need to copy all of the Photos from the backup?

But if I have it on, how would I extract originals for safe-keeping outside of iCloud?

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Do you have any other devices that can run iCloud Photos? As long as you have optimized storage turned off on some other device that gets backed up (Mac is probably easiest) your photos will get synced over to that device via iCloud.

If not, there are options to upload your photos to Dropbox or Google Photos, but those require more manual intervention.

Yes, well… my Setup for the iPhone photos and videos is that I import them via Image Capture to my iMac and then store them locally and in backup/Cloud.

My worry is that if I have this optimized storage on, I won’t be able to get the full versions over to my iMac for the next step of the backup process.

Have I missed some good setup for this?

If you have optimize storage for photos enabled, then you must have iCloud Photo Library also enabled. That means all of your photos are available on and can be downloaded in full, at full resolution, by Photos on any macOS or iOS device.

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Yes, but last time I tried getting things out of Photos, it was a mess. But I guess that has Improved then.

I wouldn’t be so fast to assume things have improved. It really would depend on what you mean by “A Mess”, “getting thing out of photos”, and whether you are talking macOS or iOS.

Right. It seems to still not be great. If I want to select and export all my photos I seem to be in for a fun process as it won’t select more than on a Memory Level or some other grouping I guess…