Updated April, 2017: Updated to fit most recent version of Photos for Mac and iCloud, changed screens, updated steps and descriptions.

If you want your Mac's photos to wirelessly sync to all your other iOS devices and computers, you want to set up iCloud Photo Library!

Apple's photo sync service lets you back up your images on all your devices, as well as access them — online or offline — on said devices. If you're willing to pay for the extra iCloud storage space, you can store an incredible amount of photos and videos, all accessible at the touch of a button or multi-touch screen.

Here's how to set it up on your Mac – with Photos for Mac – as well as how to access your images from a PC or older MacBook!

How to enable iCloud Photo Library using Photos for Mac

  1. Launch the Photos app on your Mac.
  2. Click Photos in the upper left corner of your screen.

  3. Click Preferences. 4.Click on the iCloud tab.

  4. Check "iCloud Photo Library." This will begin uploading any and all images you have stored in the Photos app to iCloud.

From here, you have the option to either keep all your iCloud-stored photos also downloaded on your Mac or to optimize your storage by only keeping a portion of your library accessible from your hard drive, while the rest remains stored in iCloud.

You can read our full guide on optimizing vs keeping originals for more information, but in short, I recommend the following: If you're on a desktop Mac with a large hard drive, download everything; if you're viewing your images on a laptop or a Mac with a small hard drive, go for optimization.

How to view iCloud Photo Library using your PC or older Mac

If you're on a PC or a Mac that doesn't have the latest version of iOS installed, never fear! You can still view, download, and upload images via iCloud.com. Here's how!

  1. Enter your username and password at iCloud.com.
  2. Click the Photos icon on iCloud.com.

Your online library should begin preparing. When it's finished, you'll be able to view your uploaded photos and videos, favorite them, download them to your computer or share them via email, and upload images. You can upload images in JPG, PNG, or Raw form and they'll live in iCloud accordingly. Uploading video is currently not supported, though it may come in a future iCloud.com update.


Let us know in the comments below.

iCloud Photo Library: The Ultimate Guide