I have an iPhone with a large amount of storage. I have two iPads with a small amount of storage, which is close to depleted because I have several GB of iCloud photos.
I don’t want to use different Apple accounts. That would mean paying for apps again.
Is it possible to backup photos using iCloud Photo, without other iDevices using the same Apple account mirroring your photo collection? | Quora
Go to iCloud.com (http://www.icloud.com) on the web (you can do this via mobile web but it is a little clunky so I recommend using the Mac that you need to enable the photo library….or a PC works just as well.
Open the Photos web-app on the dashboard and select all of those photos and copy them to an iCloud Drive folder. Either create one or use an existing folder.
Once the transfer is complete, delete the photos in the photos web-app.
On the devices, enable the iCloud Drive app on the springboard.
You will now have access to all the photos across all devices without the physical bit-bucket for each binary. The limitation is that each device will need internet access to view the photo, and there is a small cost for iCloud photo storage above 5GB (you probably already knew this).
On my current 200GB iCloud Drive space, I have 77GB left. At least 100GB of that is Photos and videos I have pulled from Photos and placed in ‘Photos’ folders in iCloud Drive.
When enabling the iCloud Photo Drive, Apple will carve out some HDD space on the Mac as the base for the 30 day buffer you get when you delete photos from your iPhone or iPad. This storage space is then replicated across devices, and iCloud whether or not you have optimization enabled. The Mac is used as a reference and once it is synced with iCloud, changes in the library will get pushed across iDevices for the space reduction.
When you use a user created iCloud Drive folder, that is iCloud driven….not Mac driven, even though the Mac will have that folder in the iCloud Drive Mac app as well.
Theoretically….you can do accomplish this same ‘hack’ using the Mac desktop. Because the latest macOS versions will replicate any file or folder that is on the Desktop into a folder in iCloud Drive called ‘Desktop’, creating folders on your Mac desktop or placing photos on your Mac desktop will also work.
Also published on Medium.