Why are my iCloud Link photos not loading?

iCloud enables Apple users to store and retrieve photos and videos in the cloud and save their phone’s storage space. You might want to share some photos from your smartphone or computer.

Sharing photos via iCloud photo links is easy; you can send multiple links simultaneously instead of downloading and sending them one by one.

The problem may come in when the iCloud link does not work, which can be frustrating to an Apple user. It may happen for several reasons, which we will discuss in this article. You will also learn how to fix these problems and retrieve photos from iCloud.

Reasons why your iCloud link is not working

There are a few reasons why your iCloud link is not working, and we will discuss the troubleshooting tips to solve them.

1. Poor network connection

You may be unable to send the iCloud link because of an unstable network connection.

So first, ensure that your device is connected to a stable internet connection. You should also check whether your phone is on Airplane Mode and, if it is, turn it off.

2. The iCloud server is down

Another reason your iCloud link is not working is that the Apple or iCloud servers are down. You, therefore, need to check the Apple server status online using the following steps:

  • Visit the Apple Support system status page.
  • The page will display the updates and systems that are down in Apple. If it is on the list, you must wait until Apple fixes and updates the problem.

READ: How to download Instagram videos to your iPhone

3. Your device is incompatible with the iCloud link

The iCloud link is available on iOS 12 and later versions. Therefore, there are high chances that your iCloud link is not working because your iPhone or iPad is of an earlier iOS version.

To solve this, update your iOS using the following steps:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Go to General.
  • Tap on Software Update.
  • If there is an update, tap on Download and Install and wait until it fully downloads the software.

4. Expired iCloud photo link

When you tap on the iCloud photo link, you may see a message saying “Failed to Retrieve.” Your photo link has expired, so you must create another iCloud link.

Here is you can do it:

  • Open the Photos app.
  • Tap on Photos.
  • Tap on the Share icon at the upper right corner of the screen.
  • On the Options list, select Copy iCloud Link.
  • Open the app you wish to send the link to and paste it.
  • Share the iCloud photo link with your friends or family.

How to retrieve photos from the iCloud link

Instead of sending iCloud photo links, you might want to download the actual photos for offline viewing on your phone. Follow these easy steps to retrieve your photos from iCloud:

  • Open the Photos app.
  • Open the Albums tab.
  • Go to the Shared Albums and choose an album.
  • Select the photos or videos and select the share button.
  • Tap on Save Image or Save Video.

READ: How to remove a Snapchat caption from photos or videos


  • Open the Apple Photos app.
  • Tap on Select at the top right corner of the app to choose the photos and videos to download. If you want to retrieve multiple photos and videos, tap Select All.
  • Select the three-dotted icon on the bottom right corner to display additional options.
  • Tap on Download and select it again to confirm it.

If you want to download photos from iCloud on your Mac:

  • Visit iCloud.com and log in using your Apple ID and password.
  • Click on Photos.
  • Select the photos and videos you want to download. Then, press the cmd button if you want to retrieve multiple photos.
  • Click the Download button that looks like a cloud symbol with a down arrow button at the upper right corner of the site.
  • You can choose the photo format between Unmodified Original or Most Compatible and then click Download again.
  • The Download will display at the bottom of the screen, where you can open, edit or rename it.

How long does it take to upload photos to an iCloud link?

It can take hours, a day, or even more to upload an entire photo or video library to your iCloud photos. The duration of an upload depends on the size of the photos and videos shared.

You can see the status of iCloud link photos being uploaded at the bottom of the Photos Settings on iOS devices and Photos on Mac.