iCloud desktop

The best way to sit and thumb through your iCloud Photo Library is with an iPad. If you want to edit those images, Photos on a Mac is advisable. But when those aren’t around, here’s how to view photos online.

Many people don’t realize that they can access every photo and video they have stored in iCloud Photo Library from any desktop computer, so long as it has access to iCloud.com. It’s a feature that Apple hasn’t done a good job of sharing with people, which is a shame because it can be super useful.

To get started, all you need is a connection to iCloud.com, your Apple ID and password, and your two-factor authentication code. You *do* have two-factor authentication active, don’t you?

How to View iCloud Photos Online

To get started, open Safari–or any other web browser if Safari isn’t available– and head to iCloud.com and log in with your Apple ID email address and password. When you’ve authenticated, click the Photos icon.

Click the Photos icon

Once the page loads, you will see something akin to Photos on a Mac, albeit a little less capable. If this is the first time you have used iCloud.com to view your Iibrary, it might take a little time while it pulls everything together.

You might not have the same editing tools you would expect on an iOS device or a Mac, but the interface will give you access to view any of the photos or videos that you have stored in iCloud Photo Library. Clicking a photo opens it fully.

If you’d like to upload a new photo or video, click the icon with a cloud and upwards facing arrow, as seen below.

Click the cloud upload button

To switch between Moments and Photos views, click the desired option at the top of the screen.

Click Photos or Moments

The option of viewing your photos and videos online is a great one if you’re using a Windows PC, for example.

If you want a more seamless experience on Windows, with ready control over your photos and video, you can download and install Apple’s iCloud Photos for Windows. A free download, this app gives you access to your iCloud Photo Library without using a web browser. They’ll appear in a special “iCloud Photos” folder in File Explorer.

Oliver Haslam Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam is a professional freelance writer with nearly ten years of experience. His work has been published on Macworld, PCMag, 1Password's blog, and other websites. He writes about all things Apple.
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