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Mac users complain of low-quality images in Photos app, here’s how to fix it

Updated 2 weeks ago
macOS Ventura iCloud Photos
Image: José Adorno for BGR

With iCloud, Apple did a clever trick so users can have all their photos on all devices, even if they don’t have enough storage. That said, Mac users are complaining about low-resolution images when they download an original file from the cloud to its macOS library.

Here’s how the creator of a Reddit thread with over 400 comments brought this issue to people’s attention:

Before macOS Ventura, when viewing my iPhone videos in the Photos app on macOS I would be able to just watch them in 4k as you would expect. However, since macOS Ventura to save money on server costs, Apple only downloads a 720p or max 1080p version of those videos.

I own the newest MacBook Pro with M1 Max, the Apple Studio Display and an iPhone 14 Pro Max. I also own the most expensive Cloud storage plan for 2TB and have 1 Gigabit internet speed. So when I view something on my device, I want it to look incredible – that’s why I literally spent thousands of dollars on my devices.

Although the related issue has existed for more than macOS Ventura launch, Apple offers two ways to store content on any device: Having all the original files or a preview of the images. Although these options don’t seem ideal because downloading all photo libraries can be impractical, Apple could also let users download the original file instead of a preview more easily.

Here’s the workaround to download the default resolution of photos and videos on macOS

As noted by 9to5Mac, there are a few options to trigger the original image. If you’re talking about a video, you can simply tap “Edit” in the upper right corner, and the video will download in full. After that, you’ll have a while to use the original file with no problem.

You can also export the original media by clicking the File menu and then Export > Export Unmodified Original. Last but not least, zooming in will likely make Apple download the original photo file.

Although neither of these options is ideal, users keep hoping Apple will add the ability to download certain contents in full, such as “2022 photos” or images selected as favorites. Maybe with macOS 14.

José Adorno
José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin American broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.