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Cloud storage services are excellent options for users who need to store large amounts of data but don’t have drive space to do so. With a cloud server, documents, images, videos, and more have ways to be preserved, and the storage space on physical devices can be kept free for other things.

The iCloud is one such service, and it began with Apple in 2011. Thanks to iCloud, users can store a host of data files on remote servers. They can also download them to any of the iOS devices for retrieval, use, or viewing later.

Because it is such a popular service, some users may wonder if the photos they upload to iCloud can lose some of the resolution that they have at the time when they are taken. We will discuss whether photos might lose some level of quality after you upload them to iCloud, why it might happen, and how you can fix issues such as blurriness.

Furthermore, we’ll go into the actual process of putting photos on iCloud, and we can look at some ways to speed things up there. Although our article focuses on photos, you can upload a variety of files to the servers this way.

Depositphotos_85715046_S Taking photo of a meal using smartphone

Do Photos Lose Quality When Uploaded to iCloud?

There may be a bit of confusion when it comes to how photos look once they are uploaded to iCloud, and this confusion is, in part, due to a process called optimization.

Before we get into how that works, we should mention that by default, any photos you upload to iCloud are stored at the original resolution in which you took them. In other words, there is no optimization involved, and the cloud service should render your images just like you would expect them to be given the quality level they were at when you created them.

However, there are some settings that can make it seem like photos might lose some of their original quality once you view them in cloud storage.

This may be because you have some optimization settings active on your device. Usually, this will only happen if your device starts to run out of space. When it does, this setting may activate as a way to conserve what little space remains.

Optimization compresses files to make them smaller, and this can have a noticeable impact on the resolution quality of the images you might take. When you visit iCloud.com, you may notice that the photos could appear blurry, or perhaps they seem to have a lower resolution than you expected.

In either case, the photos are still at the same quality level, but they are displayed in a compressed format. The display may seem like the resolution is lower, but you should be able to see the photo in its highest quality once you open or download it.

That said, there can still be some issues or glitches with photos looking blurry or bad, so we’ll cover what to do about these specific use cases in the following sections.

How Can I Fix Quality Loss on iCloud Photos?

Under normal circumstances, there should be no actual loss of quality in iCloud photos. Even if they tend to look worse than the resolution at which you took them with your preferred device, the photos uploaded to the cloud service are kept in their original quality.

Once you go to your storage space, you should have the option to download the unmodified original. This will put a copy of the photo on whatever storage device or iOS device you choose, and you should be able to see things in the original resolution once this is done.

Similarly, you can ask the service to keep the highest resolution possible for display. If this setting is checked, you shouldn’t notice any issues with your photos. Where you may run into some problems is in viewing the photos on the storage space from your device. If it optimizes things, the photos can appear at a lower quality as a way to save space.

This can make it seem like iCloud itself is causing a problem, but it has less to do with the cloud service than the available space on your device. There is a possible exception to this, but it seems to be the result of some kind of incompatibility or error when you are trying to use iCloud on a Windows PC.

iCloud is an Apple service, but the company has an app that allows you to use it on a non-iOS device, too. It can be great for users who might have mobile devices from Apple but desktop rigs that aren’t Macs.

In this way, one could still take photos with Apple smartphones, upload them to the cloud service, and retrieve them on a PC rather than a Mac. This opens up a lot of flexibility when it comes to taking and storing photos or other files. However, it can come with a problem.

The iCloud for Windows app has automatic downloads that allow you to bring photos from the cloud to your PC. However, some users may find that the file size and resolution are considerably lower once the photos arrive on the computer. While their original quality is retained in the cloud, the sync operation between the Windows app and iCloud appears to cause some issues with quality loss.

Furthermore, this does not seem to be the case if the transfer is from the cloud service to native Apple devices. One possible fix might be to use an older version of the Windows client, but it appears to be an issue that could still persist.

Depositphotos_78965440_S Blured empty evening street at the city. Urban background

Why Are Photos on iCloud Blurry?

Photos on iCloud shouldn’t appear as blurred images in normal circumstances. If you find that this is the case, it is likely because of having the optimization we mentioned earlier enabled on your local device.

To save space on your devices, photos you view or download from the cloud service might be at a resolution that is low enough to cause the images to seem blurry.

This should only happen if optimization is enabled and the storage space in your local library is low already. Should you find this to be the case, you can try freeing up storage on your device and downloading the photos again.

Be aware that downloading a photo in a lower resolution thanks to optimization might mean that it will still look blurry when you upload it to post elsewhere. If this is so, you may need to force iCloud to give you the unmodified original of the image that you would like to post.

Furthermore, turning off optimization for the storage space on your phone or other device could require a great deal more in storage in order to work properly. Make sure that you have important files backed up elsewhere before you delete enough content to make more room on your Apple device.

Why Does It Take So Long To Upload iCloud Photos?

Some users may notice that it can take a long time for iCloud to complete uploads of the photos you want to store there. While this shouldn’t be the case for one or two photos at a time, it is standard for what we might call bulk uploads.

If you are uploading a huge album of photos at once, it can be a very slow process. Keep in mind that iCloud is keeping the original resolutions of the photos you took, so the server is trying to retrieve many photos that are all at high resolutions.

This all takes time, but there may be a few measures you can take to speed things up a bit.

How Can I Speed Up the iCloud Photo Upload?

Even with a good upload speed and a stable connection, the process of uploading photos to iCloud can be noticeably sluggish. In most cases, you should only have this problem during an initial bulk upload, particularly if you want to upload albums that are several gigabytes in size.

After this, you can upload photos to the cloud service as you take them, and that should make the process quicker and more efficient. There isn’t a lot you can do to speed this up, but here are a few things you can look into:

1. Make sure your computer is plugged in during the upload. It isn’t uncommon for the device to pause this intense process as a way to preserve battery life.

2. Check your system processes to make sure there are no other things that might be using your network for downloads or uploads. Keep it as free as possible to use what you have just for the photo upload process.

3. Keep the photos app in an ’active’ state to ensure that the computer doesn’t try to put it to sleep if the upload process is taking a long time.


Having extra storage space to share all of life’s memories and experiences is great. iCloud is one of the most popular ways you can do this, but it comes with a few settings that you may need to tweak to get the most out of your photo uploads.

Furthermore, there might be glitches with specific apps that can cause some problems, but there are workarounds at your disposal. This cloud service should always store your photos in the highest quality, ready for you to download just as you took them.