By Dylan / Last update August 26, 2021

Why Backup iCloud Photos to External Hard Drive?

For many Apple iOS users, iCloud is a good service which supports managing and backup iPhone data, especially photos. As long as you turn on iCloud Photos on your iPhone, all of your photos are securely stored in iCloud and they're available on all your devices.

However, as we all know, there is only 5GB of free space for iCloud provided by Apple company at the very beginning. And you will receive the prompt “You don’t have enough space to back up this iPhone. Add or manage storage now” once the storage runs out. In this case, many users will choose to backup iCloud photos to external hard drive to free up iCloud space.

Then how can you do that? In this article, we will introduce how to backup iCloud photos to external hard drive on Windows PC and Mac easily. Meanwhile, we also recommend professional backup software to help you to backup photos from iPhone to external hard drive to avoid the iCloud storage issue.

How to Backup iCloud Photos to External Hard Drive?

Before transferring iCloud photos to external hard drive, we need to download iCloud photos to PC or Mac firstly. The process is easy by following steps below.

Note: Make sure that you set up iCloud on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch or Mac, that you turned on iCloud Photos. Go to Settings on iPhone > tap profile > tap iCloud > Photos > enable iCloud Photos.

Part 1. Download iCloud Photos to Computer

You can choose different methods to download iCloud photos based on the situation and computer you have owned. Here we have offered 3 methods for you in detail.

Way 1. Download from iCloud Website (for PC and Mac)

1. Open a browser on your PC or Safari on Mac, and go to

2. Sign in to your Apple ID (account username & password) and access the main interface like below.

3. Click on Photos in the main interface. Then, choose All Photos album.

4. Press Ctrl on your PC or Command on Mac and choose multiple or total photos in iCloud.

5. Go to the right upper corner and click the download button in cloud shape and click Download to save the photos on your Windows PC or Mac. Here you can choose only download original photos or edited photos included.


Tips: If you enabled Two-factor authentication on your iPhone which signed in Apple ID, you will be asked to enter the verification code to verify your identity when logging in.

Way 2. Download from Photos App (for MacBook)

1. Go to Finder and open the Photos app.

2. Choose Photos, then click Preferences.

3. Select iCloud, then click Download Originals to this Mac.

Download Originals To Mac

4. Click General and Show in Finder, to locate the Photo Library on Mac. The default path: Users>your name>Pictures>Photos Library.

Find Library Location Mac

Note: You can check the option Copy items to the Photos library, which can help you make all the imported photos into the Photos Library folder.

Way 3. Download Using iCloud App (for Windows)

1. Download iCloud for Windows, then sign in your Apple ID.

2. Click Photos and Options. Then switch on iCloud Photo Library and Download New Photos And Videos To My PC.

3. Click Done, then Apply.

Part 2. Backup iCloud Photos to External Hard Drive (PC and Mac)

When you have downloaded iCloud photos to your PC or Mac through the three methods above, you can transfer iCloud photos to external hard drive now. Here are the instructions for you:

Preparation: Connect your external hard drive to PC or Mac with a stable USB cable.

For Windows PC:

1. Locate the downloaded iCloud photos from the path: This PC>Local Disk(C:)>Users>your name>Pictures>iCloud Photos>Downloads.

2. Then move the Downloads folder to your external hard drive.


For Mac:

1. Click Finder and scroll down to Pictures, locate Photos Library.

Find Photos Library Finder Mac

2. Copy the photos library and paste it to external hard drive.

The above is about how to download iCloud photos to external hard drive. For sending iCloud photos to external hard drive can free up the computer space and iCloud, and makes a perfect copy of your wonderful pictures for better management.

Easier way to Backup Photos from iPhone to External Hard Drive

Although iCloud provides many fabulous functions with people, it has itself limitations, such as slow backup/restore speed, activating the synchronization function without knowing and small storage space, etc. Hence we prefer to recommend you powerful backup and transfer iOS data software-AOMEI MBackupper, which can help you manage and backup iPhone photos to external hard drive, backup iPhone to Windows PC without effort.

Advantages of backing up iPhone via AOMEI MBackupper
◆ Preview and selectively. It allows you preview the items before backup and choose certain data to backup.
◆ No data loss. You don’t have to worry data loss when backup iPhone, even though you modify or delete the original data in your iPhone.
Fast speed. The speed of backup iPhone is very fast. No countless waiting time.
Wide Compatibility. It supports most iPhone models from iPhone 4 to iPhone 12 and would be perfectly compatible with the latest iOS 14.

Now you can free download AOMEI MBackupper on your Windows PC and enjoy backing up your iPhone process.

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download


1. Launch AOMEI MBackupper. Connect your iPhone to Windows computer with a stable USB cable.

2. Choose Photos Backup on the main interface.

3. You can choose an icon to decide what photo you want to backup to external hard drive. Then click OK.

4. In the bottom left corner of the interface, change the Storage Path to the external hard drive. Then click Start Backup to continue. Waiting for the process to get finished.

5. On the Backup Management page, you can Browse, Delete, Restore backup files to iPhone anytime.

Tip: If you want to backup new data on your iOS device next time, you can directly click the triangle icon to run an incremental backup without backing up whole iPhone again.


That’s all about how to backup iCloud photos to external hard drive. Hope the detailed steps can really help you. What’s more, you can also take AOMEI MBackupper to back up photos from iPhone to external hard drive with only a few clicks.

Additionally, AOMEI MBackupper also comes with other features. For example, the HEIC Converter could help you to convert HEIC photo into JPG, JPEG, or PNG images if you want. You can better store and enjoy beautiful and meaningful photos via it.