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Transfer phone data without a PC

iCloud Photos allows you to store your iPhone photos and videos in the cloud, freeing up space on your device while keeping your memories safe and accessible from all your devices. However, sometimes you may encounter issues with iCloud Photos not syncing or downloading to your iPhone properly.

In this article, we will discuss some common reasons why iCloud Photos may not be downloaded to your iPhone. We will also provide 7 potential fixes to resolve the “iCloud photos not downloading” issue. We'll also recommend a great third-party tool for easily transferring photos from your iPhone to your computer as a backup.

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Note: Find out ways to fix iCloud files not downloading on your iPhone in another article.
In this article
    1. Check Internet Connectivity
    2. Manage Storage Space
    3. Disable Low Power Mode
    4. Change iCloud Photos Sync Mode
    5. Update iCloud Apps
    6. Manually Download Photos
    7. Restart the iCloud Service

Why iCloud Photos Not Downloading?

Is iCloud not downloading photos? There are a few common reasons why you may be experiencing issues with iCloud Photos not properly syncing or downloading to your iPhone:

  • Poor or slow internet connection prevents photos from syncing across devices. This is one of the most common culprits if iCloud Photos won't download.
  • Not enough available storage space on your iPhone. iCloud Photos will only sync new items if there is enough local storage left.
  • Having Low Power Mode enabled on your iPhone can sometimes interfere with background iCloud syncing.
  • Outdated or buggy iCloud apps on your devices prevent proper syncing functionality.
  • iCloud Photos sync is turned off on your device, preventing auto-downloads.
  • Corrupt iCloud backup or conflicting photo libraries causing sync conflicts.
  • Server-side iCloud outages temporarily disrupt normal photo sync operations.

If you're running into any iCloud Photos download issues, checking some potential causes can help identify what might be going wrong. Let's move on to some suggested fixes you can try.

7 Fixes to iCloud Photos Not Downloading to iPhone

If iCloud Photos is not properly syncing your photos and videos to your iPhone, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take to try and resolve the photos not downloading from iCloud issue.

#1 Check Internet Connectivity

First, ensure your iPhone is connected to a strong Wi-Fi network or fast cellular data connection. Open the Settings app and tap Wi-Fi to confirm you are connected to your Wi-Fi network. Run a speed test in Safari at to verify you have a fast connection.

check Wi-Fi on iphone

If your connection seems slow, try moving closer to your Wi-Fi router or toggle Airplane mode on/off to reset the connection. Check for any interference from objects or turn off Bluetooth which can disrupt Wi-Fi signals. If issues persist, reset your network settings under Settings > General > Reset.

#2 Manage Storage Space

iCloud Photos requires available local storage space on your iPhone to sync. Download a storage management app like Storage Sensei from the App Store to check your usage.

You will need at least 5-10% of your total iPhone storage free for iCloud Photos to have room for downloads. Review storage under Settings > General > iPhone Storage and delete unused apps, messages, and media to free up space.

manage iphone storage

Offloading unused apps from Settings can quickly clear up gigabytes of space. You can also reduce photo resolution under Settings > Photos to save space.

#3 Disable Low Power Mode

Is photo not downloading from iCloud? Well, having Low Power Mode enabled prevents apps like iCloud Photos from syncing properly in the background. Open Settings > Battery and make sure Low Power Mode is disabled.

disable low power mode

Low Power Mode limits background refresh, network usage, and performance to conserve battery life. Keep it turned off until you resolve your iCloud photos not downloading issues.

#4 Change iCloud Photos Sync Mode

Check Settings > Photos > iCloud Photos to confirm syncing is fully enabled. If your device is low on space, switch from Download and Keep Originals to Optimize [device] Storage instead.

enable icloud photos

This will keep full-resolution originals in iCloud and only store smaller optimized versions on your iPhone. Tap Download and Keep Originals again if you have sufficient storage.

#5 Update iCloud Apps

Having outdated apps can lead to buggy performance and syncing problems. Go to Settings > General > Software Update and install any available updates for iOS, iTunes, iCloud, and other Apple apps.

update ios

Also, update Photos for Mac to the latest version on your computer. Newer app releases often contain fixes for iCloud services like Photos.

#6 Manually Download Photos

As a workaround, you can temporarily download photos directly from until sync resumes properly. Log in online and navigate to the Photos section to manually export your entire library or specific albums.

Double-check online that the photos are correctly uploading to iCloud, but failing to download to your device. Manually downloading proves the photos are at least safely stored in the cloud.

#7 Restart the iCloud Service

Sometimes restarting the iCloud process can help resume normal syncing. Go to Settings > General > Shut Down and power off your iPhone completely.

force restart iphone

After 1 minute, turn your device back on. Once the Apple logo appears, give iCloud Photos time to initialize in the background and re-sync your library. This often resolves temporary system glitches and helps you fix the “iCloud photos not downloading” issue quickly.

Transfer Your iPhone Photos to PC in a Few Clicks: MobileTrans

iCloud won’t download photos using the above-listed methods. While iCloud Photos provides a convenient way to sync iPhone photos across devices, sometimes it's reassuring to have physical backups of your memories.

If you want a quick and easy way to copy iPhone photos to your computer for safekeeping, we recommend giving MobileTrans - Backup & Restore a try.

MobileTrans is a user-friendly tool for managing data between your iPhone and computer. With MobileTrans you can:

  • Transfer photos & videos from iPhone to PC with one click.
  • View and organize your iPhone photos easily on the desktop.
  • Selectively transfer only certain photos instead of the entire library.
  • Transfer photos faster than manually copying via USB.

With MobileTrans, you don't have to worry about connecting cables or complicated syncing. Just download to your computer, connect your iPhone, and start transferring photos or videos over Wi-Fi in just a few clicks!

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Here are the steps to use MobileTrans to transfer photos to a PC effortlessly:

Step 1: Download and install MobileTrans on your computer from the official website. Launch MobileTrans and connect your iPhone to the computer using the USB cable. Make sure your iPhone is unlocked and the Photos app is open.

Step 2: The app will automatically detect your device. Click on the "Backup & Restore" tab in the middle of the interface. Hit the “Backup” button placed in the “Phone Backup & Restore” section.

wondershare mobiletrans interface

Step 3: On the left panel you will see all photos stored on your iPhone. Select the photos you want to transfer. On the right bottom, click the "Export” button and select a folder location on your computer to save the photos.

wondershare mobiletrans back up

Step 4: MobileTrans will now quickly transfer copies of your selected albums to the computer over USB.

The transfer speed will depend on the number of photos but is usually much faster than manual transfer. Once completed, you can view and access the photos on your computer while the originals remain safely stored on your iPhone.

That's all there is to it! In just a few clicks you can have peace of mind knowing you have physical backups of photos stored on your computer, in addition to cloud storage. Give MobileTrans a try for easy iPhone photo transfers.


In summary, iCloud Photos is a great service for keeping your iPhone memories safe by storing them in the cloud. However, you may occasionally encounter issues with iCloud Photos downloads failing on your iPhone.

Troubleshooting your internet connectivity, storage availability, iCloud settings, app versions, or restarting your device can typically get iCloud photo sync functioning again so your memories stay up to date across all devices. And using a tool like MobileTrans provides a fast and simple way to transfer iPhone photos to your computer for extra peace of mind.

Following the tips outlined in this article should help you keep your iCloud Photos library organized and accessible on all your Apple devices. Let us know if the solutions provided here succeed in fixing the iCloud photos not downloading issue.

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  • Q: Why are my new photos taking so long to sync to iCloud?
    Slow sync times are usually caused by poor internet connectivity. Ensure you are connected to high-speed Wi-Fi and disable Bluetooth which can interfere with Wi-Fi signals. Also, check for iCloud storage full alerts and make space by deleting existing photos or videos if needed.
  • Q: How can I get photos to download to my iPhone faster?
    Changing iCloud Photos settings to Optimize [device] storage will only store smaller thumbnails locally, speeding up downloads. Connect to Wi-Fi and disable Low Power mode for maximum download speeds. Restarting your iPhone can also help resume fast background iCloud syncing.
  • Q: What should I do if my iCloud photos still won't download after troubleshooting?
    If fixes like checking connectivity, app updates, rebooting, etc don't resolve it, contact Apple Support directly for further customized troubleshooting. Be ready to provide your iOS version, specific sync error messages, and iCloud storage usage details to help them diagnose the problem.
Axel Nash
Axel Nash Jun 07, 24
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