iPhone user disabling the iCloud Photos feature.

iCloud Photos is a great way to seamlessly back up iPhone photos to iCloud. But if you’re running out of iCloud storage space and you’d rather not upgrade to a paid plan, here’s how to disable the iCloud Photos feature.

Don’t worry. You can disable the iCloud Photos feature without losing any photo or video. But before we begin, we urge you to make a backup of all your photos and videos. You can download all the photos and videos using the iCloud website, or you can transfer the photos to your Mac or PC.

RELATED: How to Download iPhone Photos From iCloud to Your Mac

Preparing to Disable iCloud Photos

To get started, open the “Settings” app on your iPhone or iPad.

On your iPhone or iPad, open the "Settings" app.

Then, go to the “Photos” section.

Go to the "Photos" section in Settings.

Before we disable the feature, let’s talk about what happens with your photos and videos once you disable it. If you’re using the “Optimize iPhone Storage” feature, you won’t have a copy of all your photos locally. Many photos will only be a compressed version.

Before disabling iCloud Photos, we recommend that you switch to the “Download and Keep Originals” option. This will download a full-resolution copy of all the photos and videos on iCloud (taken from all your Apple devices). If you don’t have enough storage space to do this, download photos from the iCloud website before going further.

To download all photos and videos locally, switch to the "Download and Keep Originals" option.

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If you’re using iCloud Photos on a separate device (like Mac or iPad), the original, full-resolution versions will still be available on other devices that are using iCloud Photos.

But the photos will be removed from your current device. Apple will keep a copy of your data for 30 days, so don’t worry. You can still retrieve your data by reenabling the feature and using the “Download and Keep Originals” option.

Disabling iCloud Photos

Once your photos are securely downloaded and backed up, tap the toggle next to the “iCloud Photos” option to disable the feature.

Tap the toggle next to "iCloud Photos" to disable the feature.

If you’re using the “Optimize iPhone Storage” feature, you’ll see a pop-up asking whether you want to download a copy of your iCloud Photos to your iPhone. Here, choose the “Download Photos and Videos” option.

If your iPhone or iPad doesn’t have the storage space, and you’re sure that you have a backup, then you can go with the “Remove from iPhone” option.

Choose "Download Photos & Videos" option to download all iCloud photos before disabling the feature.

In a couple of seconds, the iCloud Photos feature will be disabled. To check the storage space that’s been freed up, go to your profile in the Settings app and choose the “iCloud” option.

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You can reenable the feature at any time in the Settings app. Just go to the “Photos” section and tap the toggle next to the “iCloud Photos” option to enable the feature.

Just because you’ve stopped using iCloud Photos doesn’t mean that you stop backing up your photo library. Google Photos, for example, is a great alternative to iCloud Photos. Apple makes it really easy to migrate your entire iCloud Photos library to Google Photos with just a couple of clicks!

RELATED: How to Transfer Your iCloud Photo Library to Google Photos

Khamosh Pathak Khamosh Pathak
Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on iPhoneHacks, Zapier's blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has seven years of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet.
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