Understanding iCloud storage help


Distinguished Member

I've been doing this all old skool for years. I back up my, my wife's and my kids devices through iTunes on my PC every now and then, and I've been transferring photos/videos from these same devices to a portable hard drive for as long as I can remember. That 320GB hard drive is nearly full and I'm currently staring at my 64GB iPhone 8 with no storage space left (6000+ photos/videos) and a new nightmare transferring photos/videos to a harddrive.

I'm not sure what Apple have changed exactly or when, but it appears they automatically change the file type of photos to a formet that is not compatible with PCs in order to save space on the devices. I used to be able to grab hundreds of photos in one go and dump them onto the hard drive whilst deleting them from my phone, but now you literally have to do 10 at a time or just 1 video at a time before it crashes. If you do small amounts it keeps the JPG file type, if you do anything in bulk it converts them to HEIC or something. I've change the iPhone settings to keep the format as JPG but it's too late to change and move these 6000+ easily/quickly unless I buy a HEIC>JPG converter, which I can't be arsed with.

Of course, I may have misunderstood all of the above, but I figure iCloud is the solution.

So I've just bought the 2TB storage option for £6.99 per month. I can get the whole family on it and these problem will hopefully disappear forever. But how does it actually work? When does it actually upload you photos to the cloud and can you have any influence over it?

It looks like my "Camera Roll" has been replaced by "Recents", but what determines "recents"? It basically shows the exact same pictures dating back to Oct 2018, where I left off transferring them to my hard drive, but if I take another 2000 pictures this month, does everything stay in recents, indefinitely? And if I delete some so there's not as many to view on my phone, I assume i'm not deleting them from the cloud at the same time?

Then with family sharing, can everyone see everyone's pictures or only if they move them to a specific shared folder/album? I don't really want other members of my family seeing my photos (secret xmas present screenshots/photos, boys trips abroad drunken videos, tipsy parents getting the phone out etc etc etc).. And if moved to a specific shared album, do they also stay in your "Recents" too?

Anything else worth saving in iCloud? I don't use Apple music anymore, apart from one playlist specifically for Apple watch usage if I'm without a phone, so just Spotify.



Distinguished Member
Are you on Windows 10?

I personally didn't even need to follow the above steps. Just opened the Microsoft store and just chose updates (3 dots on top right) and it added the ability to use HEIC on a PC.


Distinguished Member
Thanks, I'll have a look at that too. I can view files OK, and transfer them OK, but just a handful at a time, which when I want to move about 6000 would take me weeks


Distinguished Member
Hopefully PC compatibility will be much improved after the update & you’re able to move the images in large batches as per Jpg :)

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