Force download photo or video in full quality photos on iPhone and iPad

HomeMobile, SoftwareForce download photo or video in full quality photos on iPhone and iPad
Force download photo or video in full quality photos on iPhone and iPad

We show you how to force download a single photo or video from iCloud Photo Library in full quality on iPhone and iPad.

Need the full quality version of the photo or video in iCloud Photo Library? A simple trick in the Photos app lets you download it right away

Say what you will, but cloud storage is super neat. Instead of constantly running out of space and deleting things to make room for more content, just upload your photos and videos to the cloud and you'll never have to worry about deleting an old photo or video (even a meme) to make room for more.

If you're in the Apple ecosystem, there's a good chance you use iCloud Photo Library to keep your photos and videos backed up to the cloud. Continue saving photos and videos and they will be backed up. iPhone and iPad are smart enough to delete full-quality copies from your device to keep your offline storage as free as possible. It is extremely well thought out, to say the least.

iCloud Photo Library gives you two options for your entire photo and video library. You can either optimize your storage – called "Optimize iPhone Storage" in Settings > Photos – where a smaller version is kept on your device and full quality is pulled from the server (over the internet) when needed.

The second option – called "Download and keep originals" – lets you download your entire library to your iPhone or iPad. This option is obviously not a good idea at all as it will eat up your storage space over time, or maybe even all at once if you have a device that has base storage – 64 or 128 GB. It's perfectly fine to enable the second option if you have an iPhone or iPad with more than 512 GB of storage space.

When you go for the "Optimize iPhone Storage" option, Apple's software tricks take a back seat. If you're dealing with a video, Apple will simply download a lower quality video over the internet if the connection is poor, even if the video was shot in full 4K at 60 frames per second. The same goes for photos too – the more you zoom in, only then will it download a higher resolution copy to reveal more detail.

So now that you know how iCloud Photo Library works to keep things storage-friendly, there will come a time when you might want to download a full-quality photo or video. Although Apple doesn't have a switch to let you do this, you can still force down a full-quality version of the photo or video.

The way it works is actually quite simple. You need to be connected to the internet for this to work, and if for some reason it's not, it's probably because you're using a mobile network and have limits on how much data Photos can use. You can check this by going to Settings > Photos > Cellular Data and making sure the Cellular Data option is enabled, as shown in the screenshot below. It's best to keep the Unlimited updates option turned off unless you have a truly unlimited data plan. If you're doing this on Wi-Fi, you don't really need to do anything with this option.

Now, launch the Photos app and find the photo or video whose full copy you want to download to your device and tap on it. Once it's visible, tap the Edit button in the top right. As soon as you do this, it will immediately download the original copy from Apple's server and then you can make the changes. But of course you're not here to make any changes, so just close the editor by pressing Cancel and you'll have yourself a full copy of the photo or video you wanted.

There is really nothing more to this at all. You now know how to download the original copy without dancing around the "Download and keep originals" option in Settings. If you plan to use this feature a lot, and something tells me you will, then make sure you limit it to just your Wi-Fi connection. Downloading 4K videos over the mobile network, which are also in full quality, will drain your data plan faster than you can blink an eye.

At the time of writing, Apple sells an iPhone with up to 1 TB of storage and an iPad with up to 2 TB of storage. This much storage space is especially useful if you love to keep all your photos and videos offline so you can quickly get to them when you're creating your next masterpiece on Final Cut, LumaFusion or iMovie.

On the other hand, this amount of storage is also great to have when you don't believe in cloud storage at all. It's a very risky life to live unless you make regular backups on a laptop or desktop computer. Believe it or not, many people are not sold on the idea of cloud storage at all, as there is a potential risk of privacy violations. But not so much if you have the right security measures in place, such as a 6-digit PIN, 2-factor authentication, a feature like Find My enabled, and most importantly, an extremely strong password for your Apple ID . It is best to take every measure available to you to keep your privacy truly private.

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