Dragos Dragusin
Published by Dragos Dragusin,

Read our newest Guide for recovering iCloud Data from your backups.

It has been a big few weeks for the iPhone Backup Extractor.

First we improved the experience and added new features; then we added Tinder messages recovery; now we have iCloud Photo Library support.

It doesn’t matter if you photograph food, faces, or felines; you will love this new feature. In fact, we guarantee that everyone from photographers to selfie professionals are going to love this new feature!

According to Murphy’s Law, anything that can, could have, or will go wrong, is going wrong, all at once. Beware, protect your funniest iCloud photos!

There is a version of you in an alternate reality somewhere currently struggling with iCloud photo problems; maybe the data is corrupt, perhaps there is an error downloading a photo from iCloud Photo Library. Sometimes photos disappear somewhere between your iPhone and iCloud. The best option is to prepare yourself for data recovery and stay ahead of a disturbing reality.

How to download iCloud Photo Library to your PC or Mac

The latest version of the iPhone Backup Extractor will allow you to download your all of your iCloud photos to your PC or Mac with ease. Our Premium license will give you full access to your iCloud Photo Library; Photostream; and backed up data for 5 iCloud devices.

  1. Download and install the iPhone Backup Extractor.
  2. Activate a Premium license.
  3. Add your iCloud account via the large green “+”. Then sign-in to the account to access your iCloud data.

  1. After the sign in is complete you will see all of your iCloud data in the left side pane. Photo Stream will be at the top; beneath it you will find Photo Library will appear; finally you will see all of your iCloud device backups. To download your Photo Library just click the Download button.

  1. Select a save location to recover photos from every iDevice or Mac connected to your iCloud account.

  1. Once the download has completed you will be able to see every image from your iCloud Photo Library. This will include every photo and video from any device associated with your iCloud account; even photos and videos from any shared album will be downloaded to your computer from iCloud.

Now that the download is safe on your computer you have recovered and backed up your Photo Library. Almost too easy.

You can also choose to download your Photo Stream or your iCloud backups . Indeed, if some photos or videos seem to be missing then you should download all of your iCloud data.

iCloud Photo Library not working?

There are many reasons for downloading your iCloud Photo Library, but the clearest benefit is the insurance against data loss. The native iCloud data management options are limited which can leave you in a dangerous position. If your Photo Library database gets corrupted then you will notice missing photos, failed imports or crashing. Once the corruption has set in the recovery of photos becomes more difficult.

The best medicine is an ounce of regularly Photo Library downloads. In these cases iCloud data recovery software will help you get your data back. The iPhone Backup Extractor can download all of your photos in the iCloud Photo Library including any photos or videos that are in shared albums.

If your data loss is accidental then you might be able to recover your photos from the recently deleted album. The recently deleted album will store deleted photos for 30 days, but beyond this the photos will be lost.

If you would like to recover Photos that were deleted from the Recently Deleted folder 30 days ago your best option is to have a downloaded archive of the data to draw upon. If you use the iPhone Backup Extractor to regularly download your entire album, then you can build your archive and remove photos at will. After all, you can upload the photos at any time.

iCloud syncing and data storage

If you would like to be able to give yourself complete data protection then you will need to be sure of how the data is stored in iCloud. The first step is to have a peek at your iCloud settings; you’ll notice two major functions: the syncing function and the storage one. Let’s start with the iCloud syncing panel, each data category has an on/off function, allowing you to selectively sync files across all devices associated with your iCloud account. For the syncing option to work, you must use the same iCloud account across all devices. One of the most confusing elements is what happens to iCloud photos.

What's the difference between iCloud Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Library?

iCloud Photo Stream and Photo Library are two tools for syncing photos across your iCloud devices. You can download both to your computer to allow for easy iCloud photo recovery; how do you know which one you need?

Let’s start by checking how your iCloud photos are synced with your account. If you click on Photos you are going to see a range of options. We are most interested in iCloud Photo Library and Photo Stream. Now, both of these features will allow you to send images to all devices that share an iCloud account. However, they are mutually exclusive and there are significant differences between them.

First, let’s consider iCloud Photo Stream. It will only store 1000 photos for a maximum of 30 days. Once you reach either of these limits you will find that the image disappears from your Photo Stream and the wide access is no longer possible.

Tip: When you turn on Photo Library be sure to also select Optimise iPhone Storage. To access this function you will need to open Settings > iCloud. You will see the Photos icon, simply click it to reveal your options.

When you select Optimise iPhone Storage the Photo Library will act as curator and manage the size of your library on the device. The original, full resolution images will be uploaded to iCloud according to how often you access them. If you need a quick view at the image then you will find low resolution thumbnails stored on your iDevice.

However, if you have a picture of Bigfoot then you will need a full resolution image to prove it. You can still download that image from iCloud and onto your iPhone or iPad; simply click the image and it will download via cellular or wi-fi immediately.


There have been some complaints that the management of iCloud Photo Library is not as highly developed as it could be. One of the problems is that you cannot selectively sync photos. CloudKit, the infrastructure supporting iCloud, does not currently allow selective or individual file sync across devices. If automatic syncing is turned on, all photos go to iCloud. This can be either a wonderful seamless function, or a major inconvenience, if you do take the kind of photos that may harm your public image if leaked.

iCloud Photo Library gets smarter

With iOS 10, the Photo Library came packed with Moments, People and Locations. These three functions helps you organise your photo even when you’re not paying attention. Your files are sorted by Location using your enabled Geofilter. Photos are scanned for faces, so that people occurring often in your picture are identified, and that makes it easier for you to view all photos taken with your best friend for example. All of your Memories are updated everywhere, so you can find the moment you're looking for anywhere you are.

Tip: Have you tried creating albums for your bay’s cute face? It’s fun!

Source: iMore - Full OSX Photos Review

Sharing with Family & Friends

Albums can be shared with people as long as they have an iCloud email address & account. Let’s say you organise a party and the only phone being used is yours. Share the Photo album with your guests once they send over the email address associated with their iCloud account. Whilst this is platform specific (Android users need to create an iCloud account just to see what you’ve shared), it does make life easier, unless you really enjoy sending attachments via email.

Manage your iCloud storage

With a few simple tweaks you can really take your iCloud management to the next level and optimise your use of your storage. However, it is important that you don’t rely on iCloud to archive all of your data and keep it safe. If you follow any combination of the above tips then you can start to take more control of your own data, and provide yourself with the widest range of options for keeping it safe (from all threats including data corruption, accidental deletion, and even hacking).

Download iCloud data to PC or Mac

The iPhone Backup Extractor is the most complete iCloud recovery tool. It can help you take control of your data because it provides you with more data coverage than any other iCloud data recovery software. We have iCloud backup recovery; iCloud Photo Library recovery and Photo Stream recovery. If used in tandem then you will be able to create a data archive that is impervious to data corruption and other threats.

Best of all: iCloud data security

Apple’s primary goal is ensuring privacy, and iOS 10 has seen several security enhancements addressing various loopholes for both iTunes and iCloud backups.

Back in October 2016, Apple released an important security update making encrypted iTunes backups almost impossible to crack by brute force attacks, using normal processing power. Reincubate’s technology was the first to support the enhanced encryption change, making iPhone Backup Extractor not only the most secure iCloud and iTunes backup recovery software, but also the only one in line with current Apple updates.

We've helped over 3,000,000
people recover their lost iPhone data.
Let us help you too.
 Works with Windows and Mac