Yinli excelled in academics since childhood. Unlike most of his brothers, he was never involved in any of the struggles for succession to the throne. He was intelligent and cautious, and had his share of political achievements. He was also good in calligraphy and poetry. He also enjoyed touring the country and had visited almost all the famous mountains in Sichuan.
In 1722, Yinli's fourth brother, Yinzhen, ascended the throne after the death of their father, and became historically known as the Yongzheng Emperor. Yinli changed his name to "Yunli" (允禮) to avoid naming taboo because the Chinese character for "Yin" (胤) in "Yinli" is the same as the one in the Yongzheng Emperor's personal name, Yinzhen (胤禛). In April that year, Yunli was granted the title "Prince Guo of the Second Rank" (多羅果郡王) and placed in charge of administrating the institution of scholars. In 1725, Yunli was awarded a higher allowance for honesty and diligence. In February 1728, he was promoted to "Prince Guo of the First Rank" (果親王). He was later appointed to the Grand Council and given greater responsibilities, such as escorting the Dalai Lama back to Tibet and inspecting military forces stationed along the route. Yunli was known to be a patron and scholar of Tibetan Buddhism.
When the Yongzheng Emperor became seriously ill, Yunli was tasked with supporting the heir to the throne, Hongli. The Yongzheng Emperor died in 1735 and was succeeded by Hongli, who became historically known as the Qianlong Emperor. During the Qianlong Emperor's reign, Yunli was empowered with more authority and given more duties with commensurate recognition.
Yunli died in 1738 at the age of 42. He had two children (a son and a daughter) but both of them died prematurely. His princely title was inherited by Hongyan (弘瞻), the Yongzheng Emperor's sixth son, who was adopted as Yunli's heir.