Can I Transfer iCloud Photos to External Hard Drive?

Move iCloud Photos to External Hard Drive
Move iCloud Photos to External Hard Drive

iCloud Photos is used to manage photos and videos that you keep in iCloud. All of your photos and videos will be put into different units as Years, Months, Days, and All Photos according to their dates. You can browse every photo and video on any device equipped with iCloud Photos. Besides, if you make some changes to the photos or videos on one of your devices, the changes can be reflected in those content on other devices, either.

iCloud can benefit our lives in many aspects, but it still has some deficiencies. The post will list 3 reasons why users export iCloud Photos to external hard drive.

Security: Because iCloud Photos saves photos on cloud, if the users’ iCloud Photos accounts are attacked, the photos might be deleted, modified, or spread by others without permission. This situation will bring great loss. However, if you move those photos to an external hard drive as a backup, your loss will be reduced.

Storage: As a new iCloud Photos user, you can get 5GB of free storage. But this 5GB serves not only for the photos but all the content saved on iCloud. Therefore, 5GB may be inadequate for you. In this regard, you can upgrade to iCloud+ to get more storage. The basic iCloud+ plan costs $0.99 for 50GB and there are more plans with higher prices and larger storage. But if you keep some photos on an external hard drive, you can save this money.

Network: As a cloud service, iCloud Photos can be used only when your devices join in to the network. You might be impatient if you want to use the photos urgently, but can't download photos from iCloud since there is no network. However, photos on the hard drive can be used offline. So, moving photos from iCloud Photos to a hard drive will help you easily access your photos.

Now you know why some users transfer photos from iCloud Photos to the external HDD. The answer to the question in the title is yes and the remaining parts will give you 4 easy ways to move iCloud Photos to an external hard drive.

How to Move iCloud Photos to External Hard Drive via MultCloud [Blanket]

MultCloud can help you move iCloud Photos by downloading the photos to your hard drive. Except for iCloud Photos, MultCloud also supports multiple cloud drives downloading at the same time. You can use MultCloud to achieve this, instead of opening various cloud websites.

Other functions like Cloud Transfer, Cloud Sync, and Cloud Backup are also helpful for you to manage your different kinds of clouds. The specific steps of how to download iCloud Photos to external hard drive are showed below.

Step 1: Enter MultCloud and click the button “Sign up Free” to create a new MultCloud account.

Step 2: Click “Add Cloud” in the left sidebar and the iCloud Photos icon in the right part. Then, you should log in to your iCloud Photos account. Here you would enter the verification code to go through two-factor authentication.

Add iCloud Photos
Add iCloud Photos

Step 3: Open iCloud Photos and select the photos you are willing to move. Then click “Download” in the upper taskbar. Your photos will be moved to the external hard drive if you change the download destination to your HDD before on MultCloud.

Download Photos from iCloud Photos on MultCloud
Download Photos from iCloud Photos on MultCloud

How to Move iCloud Photos to External Hard Drive via iCloud: 3 Common Ways

You can also realize exporting photos from iCloud Photos to external hard drive through iCloud. This part will illustrate 3 common ways and the steps of each method. Users of different computer systems may need to choose the related method.

Way 1: Move from

This method doesn’t need you to download the app. iOS, macOS, and Windows users can use this method.

Step 1: Enter and log in to your account.

Step 2: Open Photos in the interface and select the photos that you want to move.

Open Photos
Open Photos

Step 3: Click the icon of download in the upper-right menu bar, then the photos are moved to your hard drive if you set the download destination as your HDD. If you don’t set it, you have to drag the photos from the local position and drop them into the external hard drive.

Click the Download Icon
Click the Download Icon

Way 2: Move Photos from iCloud on Mac

If you are a Mac user, you can try this method without entering the iCloud website.

Step 1: Open Photos on your Mac and select the photos that you want to move. Before following the steps, you have to make sure that iCloud Photos is open on all devices.

Step 2: Click “File” in the upper-left menu bar and choose “Export”.

Step 3: Look through the export settings to see if there is anything you’d like to change and click “Export”.

Check Export Settings
Check Export Settings

Step 4: Select your hard drive as the export destination and the photos will be exported to the external hard drive.

Way 3: Move iCloud Photos from iCloud on Windows

This method is especially serving for Windows users and you have to download iCloud for Windows at the beginning.

Step 1: Download iCloud for Windows in Microsoft Store and log in to your iCloud account.

Step 2: Tick the box next to Photos and open Options in the same line.

Open Options
Open Options

Step 3: Choose “iCloud Photos Library” and “Download new photos and videos to my PC”. Then click “Done” and “Apply”.

Choose iCloud Photos Library and Download New Photos and Videos to My PC
Choose iCloud Photos Library and Download New Photos and Videos to My PC

Step 4: Turn to File Explorer and find iCloud Photos. Then open the Downloads folder and copy the selected photos. Finally, paste the photos to the external hard drive.

Open the Downloads Folder
Open the Downloads Folder


This post introduces 4 easy solutions on how to move iCloud Photos to external hard drive to you. The 4 solutions can be divided into 2 parts: moving via MultCloud and moving via iCloud. If you try the first solution, you don’t have to download apps and no matter what system you use, MultCloud can help you finish the task. The other 3 solutions all rely on iCloud, you have to enter its website or download its app before you start moving iCloud Photos.

Additionally, MultCloud can not only help you solve this downloading problem but also be helpful when you want to transfer, sync, or backup photos from one cloud to another cloud. If you are interested in syncing iCloud Photos to Google Photos, you can also try it freely.

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