OneDrive Offers More Free Storage for iOS Users

Written by Tim Haight

I'm VP of Technology Services for CGNET. I love to travel and do IT strategic planning.

September 22, 2014

OneDriveUsers of OneDrive on the iPad or iPhone will be happy to know they are getting 15 GB of OneDrive storage as a bonus, if they upload their iPhone camera roll to OneDrive. This offer is only good until the end of September, so if you’re interested, act fast. You can get the details at the blog post announcing the offer.

If you’re not yet a OneDrive for  iPhone user, you can download the app and get a total of 30 GB of storage, since the offer is on top of the 15 GB you could already get.

The OneDrive Blog pointed out that the company was moved to announce the storage increase now because people had been reading about difficulties iPhone users were having upgrading to iOS 8. It’s not uncommon to find out you need 5 GB or so of free space on your phone to upgrade, and if all that space is taken up with apps, photos and music, you have an issue. Few people, however, want to delete their photos before they’re backed up. So, thank you, Microsoft!

OneDrive Photo Backup Test

I took OneDrive up on its offer, and I found that most of the process worked well. It’s easy to click the three little “more” dots (…) in the upper right-hand corner of the Files tab and make the arrangements to upload your photos. Unlike some backups, OneDrive doesn’t delete the photos you store online when you delete the photos on your phone, so that’s OK. Once the photos are backed up, you can delete those on your phone.

I would be careful to make sure that all the photos on your iPhone were backed up before I deleted them, however. Some users have had issues in the past with some photos not getting backed up. I suspect this is because Apple puts photos into different folders for things like sharing. For me, however, the simple backup seemed to work.

Being a bit unsure, however, I also downloaded the photos from OneDrive to my desktop computer running Windows 8.1. To do this, you go to the OneDrive website at and log in with your OneDrive ID, which is usually your general Microsoft ID. You then will be taken to your files, and if you right-click on the Pictures folder, you can download its contents to your computer. The files will go into a zipped folder in your Downloads area. You can extract them to anywhere on your PC from there. I put mine on a portable hard drive.

Deleting Photos from the iPhone Photos App

Deleting photos from your iPhone isn’t that simple. You can’t just delete them all, unless you are using another backup method where you’re connected by a cable to a computer and using iTunes. Instead, you have to go to the “Moments” display in the Photos app, tap on “Select” in the upper-right-hand corner, then click on select for each moment you want to delete. Fortunately, you can click on as many moments as you want at the same time. When you get them all selected, click on the trash can, and they’ll be gone.

What I haven’t found yet is a way to restore photos from OneDrive back into my iPhone Photos app. The experience is more like emptying the memory from a camera to make room for more pictures than it is like a server’s backup/restore. So think of the backup as a one-way trip.

OneDrive also syncs the photos to any other devices you’ve set up for that. I now have all my photos in two places on my iPad, one for OneDrive and one for Apple’s photo sync. I hope I have enough storage…


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