How to access iPhone photos in Windows 11 Photos app

You can now more easily work with iCloud-synced photos via the Photos app in Windows 10.

Photo: IB Photography/Adobe Stock

Viewing and managing photos from iPhone via iCloud has always been much easier on a Mac than on a Windows PC. That’s because iCloud access is built right into your Mac.

Apple makes an iCloud for Windows app, but it doesn’t do the trick alone. To help iPhone and iCloud users, Microsoft has added iCloud support to the Photos app in Windows 11. This means you can now view, open, and edit your iCloud-synced iPhone photos directly in the Photos app. Let’s see how it works.

How to Access iCloud Photos and Videos in Windows

First, make sure you’re syncing your photos and videos to iCloud via iPhone. Go to Settings on your phone, select your name at the top, then tap iCloud. In the section for apps that use iCloud, tap the option for Photos and turn on the switch for Sync this iPhone if it’s not already on. Give your photo library time to sync with iCloud (Figure A).

Figure A

Photo: Lance Whitney/TechRepublic

Sign in to your Windows 11 PC. Open the Microsoft Store, click on Library and download the latest updates for the various Windows apps. This will ensure that the Photos app is up to date.

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You still need iCloud for Windows to access your iCloud-synced photos through the Photos app. Download and install the app from the Microsoft Store, open it and sign in with your Apple account.

On the iCloud for Windows screen, make sure the Photos setting is checked, then click the Options button next to it and make sure iCloud Photos is checked. You can also tick Shared Albums if you want to share your albums with others.

Press Done to close the Options window (Figure B).

Figure B

Photo: Lance Whitney/TechRepublic

After selecting other items you want to sync, click Apply, then close the iCloud for Windows app (Figure C).

Figure C

Photo: Lance Whitney/TechRepublic

To see your synced photos, open File Explorer and navigate to the iCloud Photos folder. By default, the synced photos won’t be downloaded to your computer, but you’ll want to download them to be able to open them.

To do this, right-click on the iCloud Photos folder and select the Always keep on this device option. Give the images time to download to your PC (Figure D).

Figure D

Photo: Lance Whitney/TechRepublic

Open the Photos app and click the iCloud icon on the left to see your synced photos (Figure E).

Figure E

Photo: Lance Whitney/TechRepublic

Double-click an image to open it in full screen. From here you can perform a number of actions on the image – edit, resize, delete, share, print and more. You can also select multiple photos to delete, share, move or copy them (Figure F).

Figure F

Photo: Lance Whitney/TechRepublic

There is a potential downside to deleting photos through the Photos app or File Explorer. When you delete an iCloud-synced photo in Windows, it’s removed from your PC but remains in iCloud. To completely remove a photo or video, delete it from an Apple device or from

Read more tutorials from Lance Whitney here: How to move from an iPhone to an Android phone and How to set up and use an Apple AirTag to track items.

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