How to view Apple photos on Windows

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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  • Apple has a tendency to lock their users within their environment, but this can be circumvented.
  • You can install a powerful photo manager and editor like Adobe Lightroom which has cross-platform support.
  • For more iCloud guides, check out our Dedicated Page where we discuss the easiest ways to tame it.
  • To become a wizard at troubleshooting both hardware and software, have a look at our extensive How-To Page.
view apple photos on a windows pc

Apple is notorious for locking down their products and services from outside access. In the case that you’re a Windows user, you need only install a driver to allow access to your iCloud account from a PC in order to view your Apple photos on a Windows PC.

Photos are not the only thing you can download from iCloud: you also access emails, contacts, calendars and reminders.

First of all, you need to create an iCloud account. Here are three easy methods to do that.

How do I view my Apple photos on my Windows PC?

1. Use Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom offers cross-platform functionality so you have access to all your photos regardless of the platform you use. Easily edit, manage and share photos with just a few taps or clicks.

This powerful software allows you to search, your library, do on-the-fly edits and it supports an impressive amount of cameras and mobile devices so you can edit your RAW files with ease.

Take advantage of the of all of these features for free with the Lightroom app for mobile, PC and Mac.

=> Download Adobe Lightroom for free


2. Create an Apple ID using your Windows 10 computer

Open your browser and go to the Apple ID website. An Apple ID and the iCloud Account are pretty much the same thing because through the Apple ID you have access to the iCloud storage. Here’s how you can create a free Apple ID using your computer.

  1. Go to Apple’s official page to create your account.
  2. You will be directed to the personal information table. Enter an email that you want to be attached to the Apple account for recovery.
  3. Choose a strong password.
  4. Enter your personal information.apple ID creation
  5. Select and answer three security questions. Pay attention because these questions will be used for the account recovery process.
  6. Select your country.
  7. Check/uncheck if you want any notifications from Apple.
  8. Enter the captcha code and click on the Continue button.
  9. You will receive a mail with an activation code that you have to enter in the dialog box displayed on the Apple website to finish your account activation.
  10. Check if your account has been activated.

3. Create an Apple ID using an iOS device

iOS devices have a preset feature in the Settings app for activating the iCloud account.

  1. Go to Settings. You can use this feature to sync your files from the device to iCloud account.
  2. Tap on iCloud to open the iCloud menu on your iOS device.
  3. If an account is already signed in, you have to sign out to create a new one.
  4. After you signed out tap on the Get a Free Apple ID button to start the account creation process.
  5. Enter your birthday. This will determine what kind of content you can access.
  6. Enter your real name. The Account information must comply with billing information.
  7. Enter your e-mail address. Make sure that you still have access to that address because you will receive an activation mail, and if your iCloud account is compromised, you can recover it using this e-mail address.
  8. Enter a password. Choose a strong one and use a combination of letters and numbers. Remember that the iCloud account contains a lot of your personal information.
  9. Choose and answer 3 security questions. You will have to answer the same questions every time you want to change the account settings.
  10. Add a rescue e-mail address. Even if it is an optional feature, we strongly recommend you to do that because it increases the security level of your account.
  11. Finish the account configuration by accepting the Apple terms and conditions. After accepting, you will be logged in with your new ID.

3. Using an OS X device

  1. Click on the Apple menu button from the upper-left corner of your screen.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. This will open a window with different programs and applications installed on your device. Select the iCloud icon to open the iCloud settings menu.
  4. It will open a dialog box where you can sign in to your account, if you already have one, or create a new account. In this case, you must click on the Create new Apple ID.
  5. You have to fill out a form with your personal information (active e-mail, strong password and security questions). Make sure that you will remember all the information because with their help you can to recover your account if it gets compromised.
  6. Apple will send you a mail with an activation code.
  7. After you enter the code, you will have access to your iCloud account.

Depending on what kind of information you want to access from iCloud, you need to use different software packages. For example, for mail, contacts, calendars and reminders you will need any version of Outlook from 2007 until now.

For bookmarks, you will need Safari 5.1.7 or later, Google Chrome 28 or later, Firefox 22 or later or Internet Explorer 10 or later. And for documents, you will need to install iCloud Drive.


4. Set up iCloud for Windows 10

  1. Download iCloud for Windows from Apple. The installation process should start automatically. Otherwise, you need to go to File Explorer and manually open the iCloud Setup.
  2. After installation, restart your computer to let iCloud finish configuration.
  3. Make sure that iCloud is running when you open your PC. Otherwise, you’ll need to go to the Start menu and search for iCloud. When you find it, double-click to open it.
  4. Enter your Apple ID to access your iCloud Account.
  5. Choose what kind of content you want to have synchronized with your iCloud account.
  6. Click on the Apply button to finish the configuration.

iCloud Drive is not syncing on Windows 10? We know how you can easily fix it.


5. Download your photos to your PC

When you turn on the Photos feature, iCloud will automatically create a folder called iCloud Photos. All the pictures or videos you add to the iCloud folder from your PC can be viewed on any Apple device connected to your account.

You can also access those files from iCloud.com. Through the iCloud Photo Sharing feature, you can share pictures and videos of your most important moments with friends.


Useful information

  • Manage your iCloud storage space

iCloud is a free service that offers users 5GB of cloud space to store their data. For most of us, this space is often insufficient and because of this, Apple provides us with the opportunity to upgrade the storage space.

Depending on our needs and budget, you can increase the capacity of the cloud up to 2TB. You can find a price list right on Apple’s website. This upgrade is not permanent and comes with a monthly subscription.

  • Upgrade iCloud for Windows

All you have to do is open the Apple Software Update on your PC and it will notify when updates are available. To receive update notifications, you need to configure the Apple Software Update.

From the software’s interface, click on the Edit button and go to Preferences. From that menu, you can choose how often you would like to check for updates (daily, weekly, monthly or never).

  • Turn off or uninstall iCloud for Windows

If you are not satisfied with iCloud and want to disable or delete it from your computer, here’s how you do that:

  1. Right click on the Start
  2. Select Control Panel > Programs and Features
  3. In the Programs and Features window, you will see a list of all the installed programs from your computer
  4. Click on iCloud and select Uninstall.
  5. Click OK to begin the uninstalling process.

FAQ: Apple iCloud photos on Windows

  • How do I view Apple photos on my PC?

You can easily view photos from your iCloud on your Windows PC by downloading the iCloud for Windows app and signing in with your Apple ID.

  • How do I open photos on my Mac on Windows 10?

There are several ways to do this, as shown in our guide, but using a third-party app like Adobe Lightroom, you will be able to manage and access your photos regardless of which platform you’re using.

  • How do I download photos from iCloud to Windows 10?

You can download your photos from iCloud on your Windows PC via the iCloud for Windows app or one of the other ways listed in this guide.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in September 2016 and was revamped and updated in June 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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