This Is Why There Is A Cloud On Your iPhone Photos

This Is Why There Is A Cloud On Your iPhone Photos

Vector cloud computing icon.
A cloud image shows because your photos are not successfully uploaded yet.

Have you ever noticed that small cloud that appears in your photos? What does this mean? Is there something wrong with your phone? What can you do about it? Well, that little small cloud appears there for a reason. But, what is that reason?

Why is there a cloud on my iPhone photos?

The cloud icon that appears on your photos indicates that they were not successfully downloaded or synced yet from your iCloud photo library. You have to make sure that you are logged in with the same iCloud account you used when backing up the photos. Sometimes, backing up photos may take up to 24-48 hours, most especially when you have a large library. Therefore, make sure that your battery won’t go empty and your internet connection should be active and stable.

What is the iCloud Photo Library?

In this photo illustration the iCloud logo is displayed on a smartphone.
iCloud is an online service provided by Apple.

iCloud Photo Library is Apple’s online service that can automatically backup and sync photos and videos were taken while your phone synced with the iCloud. When enabled, you can easily access, manage, edit, and share pictures and video from any of your Apple devices.

When your iCloud Photo Library is enabled, your phone uploads your photos and videos to your iCloud storage space. Apple’s iCloud Photo Library supports the following file types:

  • High-Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC) – compresses video files to the lowest possible size using MPEG.4, which is known as the most-efficient current encoding format.
  • High-Efficiency Image Codec (HEIC) – it is a modern compression method that creates smaller file size images while retaining high image quality. 
  • JPEG – the most common type of web-based image file.
  • GIF – the file-type used for animations.
  • PNG – used for images with transparent backgrounds or applies to screenshots well.
  • RAW – used for images that are not yet processed and usually, these images are taken using a high-end camera or third-party iPhone app.
  • TIFF –  used for high-end photos.
  • MP4 – the file type used for videos.
  • Apple-only specialty formats which include slo-mo, time-lapse, and Live Photos.

Do I have to use iCloud Photo Library to use Apple’s Photos app?

In this photo illustration the iCloud logo is displayed on a smartphone.
The photos app can still be used even when the iCloud photo gallery is turned off.

No, you don’t have to use the iCloud photo library to use the Photos app on your iPhone. Your iPhone’s photo app would still work with or without any cloud service involved. But with the iCloud photo library disabled, your photos and videos will not be uploaded to iCloud. Therefore, in case you lose your phone or you accidentally delete your photos or videos permanently, you lose all of them too. If you want to enable your iCloud photo library to upload your files all the time, then most probably you have to pay for more space in your iCloud. 

What will happen to the Camera Roll album on my iOS device if I turn on the iCloud photos?

If you turn on or enable the iCloud photos on your device, your Camera Roll album will be replaced with the All Photos album. The main difference between the Camera Roll album and All Photos album is that in the latter, all your photos and videos are displayed according to the date they were added to the device. 

What will happen to My Photo Stream album?

Photo Gallery on a white smartphone display.
The My Photo Sream feature of your iPhone will be disabled if you use the iCloud photo library.

When you enable the iCloud photos on your device, your photos from the Camera Roll will all be imported to the All Photos album. The photos that are not saved in your library but are saved in the My Photo Stream are deleted. You will no longer see a separate My Photo Stream album once you enable the iCloud photos. 

But if you have another device wherein your My Photo Stream is enabled but the iCloud photos are disabled, then you can still access the My Photo Stream using that device. 

What if some of my photos and videos are missing after I turn on iCloud Photos?

If some of your photos and videos are missing after turning on the iCloud photos, you can look for them at the Recently Deleted Album of your device. However, you have to sign in on iCloud first. Photos and videos that you have copied or imported from iTunes will not appear on iCloud photos. If you want to add your original, full-resolution photos and videos your iCloud photos, simply follow these steps:

Mac OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 or later versions

There are two ways to upload the original version of your photos and videos to iCloud. First, go to Photos, click Preference, then turn on iCloud Photos. The second option is for you to use AirDrop to copy the photos from your computer to your iPhone.

  • Sign in using the same Apple ID on both your iPhone and computer.
  • Turn on AirDrop on your iPhone.
  • On your Mac, open a new Finder window click AirDrop at the sidebar.
  • Drag the photos to the iOS device icon in the Finder window.

PC with Windows 8 or later versions

  • Click the All Programs menu.
  • Open the iCloud then iCloud Photos.
  • Click the upload photos and videos option.
  • Finally, select the photos you wish to upload. 

Where can I see the progress of my upload to iCloud Photos?

Cloud computing concept
You can check the progress of your uploads below the menu bar.

It is possible for you to see the progress of the photos you are uploading. Simply open your Photos app and view your library in Moments. The upload status of the photos or videos you are uploading is located at the bottom of the menu bar. 

What will happen if I used more than my iCloud storage limit?

If you have used a space that is much more than your iCloud storage limit, your photos won’t be successfully uploaded to iCloud and your library won’t display the recent photos. Therefore, you can either upgrade your storage plan to accommodate all your files or delete some of your files. Keep in mind that once you delete a photo from iCloud, you can no longer recover it on the Recently Deleted album. 

How do I turn off iCloud Photos on my iPhone only?

Follow these steps to turn off iCloud Photos on your iPhone only:

  • Go to settings.
  • Tap your name then click iCloud.
  • Click on Photos.
  • Turn off iCloud Photos. 

How can I remove all iCloud Photos content from iCloud and my iPhone?

Cloud computing concept
You can turn off your iCloud Photo Library on your iPhone only.

If you want to turn off iCloud on your iPhone, just follow the steps:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Click your name then iCloud.
  • Tap manage storage.
  • Click on the Photo option.
  • Finally, tap Disable and Delete. 

Your photos will be stored on your iPhone for roughly a month. If you want to download your photos, go to Setting > [your name] > iCloud > Photos then choose Download and Keep Originals. 


There you have it! There is no need to panic in case a cloud appears on your photo and you actually don’t have to have it checked too. Just give your phone the time to complete the upload process and the cloud will disappear in no time. 

Have you gone through this too? What did you do? Share it with us in the comment section!