iCloud: My Photo Stream FAQ

Find answers to frequently asked questions about My Photo Stream.

With My Photo Stream, when you take a photo on one device, it automatically appears on all of your other devices. Learn more about sharing your photos with family and friends.

What do I need to use My Photo Stream?

To use My Photo Stream you need an iCloud account, compatible devices, and up-to-date software:

  • iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 5.1 or later
  • Mac with OS X Lion v10.7.5 or later and iPhoto 9.2.2 or Aperture 3.2.3 or later
  • Apple TV (2nd generation) with Apple TV Software Update 5.0 or later
  • PC with Windows 7 or later and the iCloud Control Panel 2.1 or later for Windows

See how to set up iCloud.

How do I turn on My Photo Stream?

After you update your devices and set up your iCloud account, you can easily turn on My Photo Stream on any of your devices:

  • iOS devices: Go to Settings > iCloud > Photos (or Photo Stream in iOS 6), then turn on My Photo Stream.
  • Mac:
    1. Go to Apple () > System Preferences > iCloud.
    2. Select the checkbox for Photos (or Photo Stream).
    3. Click the Options button and make sure that My Photo Stream is selected.
    4. Open the app that you want to use with Photo Stream (iPhoto or Aperture) and make sure that My Photo Stream is turned on in that app. You can also adjust your My Photo Stream settings in iPhoto or Aperture Preferences.
  • PC:
    1. Open the iCloud Control Panel for Windows and select the checkbox for Photos (or Photo Stream in iCloud Control Panel 2.x).
    2. Click the Options button and make sure that My Photo Stream is on and adjust the settings.
    3. Click Apply when you're done.

Does My Photo Stream use my iCloud storage?

No. Photos uploaded to My Photo Stream don't count against your iCloud storage.

Does using My Photo Stream substitute for using iCloud Backup or iTunes to back up the photos in my Camera Roll?

No. Photos in My Photo Stream are saved on the iCloud server for 30 days. To save or back up these photos, you must copy them from My Photo Stream to your Camera Roll on your iOS device. You can then back up your Camera Roll using iCloud or iTunes.

Which photo formats does My Photo Stream support?

My Photo Stream supports JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and most RAW photo formats. My Photo Stream doesn't work with video.

When do photos upload to My Photo Stream?

When you turn on My Photo Stream on your devices, all new photos you take or import to those devices will automatically push to your photo stream.

  • iOS devices: New photos that you take automatically upload to your photo stream when you leave the Camera app and connect to Wi-Fi. My Photo Stream doesn't push photos over cellular connections.
  • Macs: Any new photos you import to iPhoto or Aperture automatically upload when you connect to Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Or you can change your iPhoto or Aperture preferences so that only photos you manually add to My Photo Stream upload.
  • PC with iCloud Control Panel 2.1 or later: Open a Windows Explorer window and, under Favorites, select iCloud Photos if you're using iCloud Control Panel 3.0 or later (or Photo Stream if you're using 2.1 to 2.1.3). Open My Photo Stream. Click the Add photos button. Select the photos to import to My Photo Stream, then click Open.

How long are My Photo Stream photos stored in iCloud?

The photos you upload to My Photo Stream are stored in iCloud for 30 days to give your devices plenty of time to connect and download them.

How many photos are stored in My Photo Stream on my devices and computers?

iCloud pushes all your photos to the My Photo Stream album on your devices and computers, and manages them efficiently, so you don’t run out of storage space.

Your iOS devices keep a rolling collection of your last 1000 photos in the My Photo Stream album. From there, you can browse your recent photos or move the ones you like to your Camera Roll or another album to keep them on your device forever.

Because your Mac and PC have more storage than your iOS devices, you can choose to download all of your My Photo Stream photos automatically.

  • In iPhoto or Aperture preferences on your Mac, select Photos (or Photo Stream) > My Photo Stream > Automatic Import. All of your photo stream photos will import into your Events, Projects, Photos, Faces, and Places folders in iPhoto or Aperture.
  • On your PC with My Photo Stream on in the Control Panel, all of your photos will import into

    C:\\Users\<user name>\Pictures\iCloud Photos\My Photo Stream

    If you're using iCloud Control Panel 2.1 to 2.1.3, the path is

    C:\\Users\<user name>\Pictures\Photo Stream\My Photo Stream

Due to storage limitations, your Apple TV might display only your most recent photos.

Are all of the photos taken with burst mode on my iPhone 5s saved to My Photo Stream?

When you take photos using burst mode, only your favorite photos are saved to My Photo Stream. In iOS 7.1, you can choose to save all photos you take using burst mode to My Photo Stream. Tap Settings > iCloud > Photos, and turn on Upload Burst Photos.

How do I view My Photo Stream?

  • iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch: Your photos will appear in the My Photo Stream album in the Photos app. If you're using iOS, you can find your photos by tapping the Photo Stream tab, then tapping the My Photo Stream album. In iOS 5, your photos are in the Photo Stream album.
  • Mac: Your photos appear in the Shared albums section under iCloud in iPhoto 9.5 or Aperture 3.5. In earlier versions of iPhoto and Aperture, your photos appear in the Photo Stream section. In iPhoto 9.4 or later or in Aperture 3.4 or later, open the My Photo Stream album.
  • PC using Windows 8.1: From the Start screen, click the down arrow Down arrow in the lower-left corner, then click the iCloud Photos app.
  • PC using Windows 8: From the Start screen, select iCloud Photos (or Photo Stream in iCloud Control Panel 2.0 to 2.12).
  • PC using Windows 7: Click the Windows Start button, then click Pictures. Click iCloud Photos or Photo Stream under the Favorites menu in the panel on the left. Double-click My Photo Stream to view your photos.
  • Apple TV: After signing in with your iCloud account, you can view your photos by choosing iCloud Photos or Photo Stream from the main menu (or selecting Internet > Photo Stream in Apple TV Software Update 5.0).

What resolution are My Photo Stream photos?

On a Mac or PC, your photos are downloaded and stored in full resolution. On iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV, your Photo Stream photos are delivered in a device-optimized resolution that speeds downloads and saves storage space. Dimensions will vary, but an optimized version of a photo taken by a standard point-and-shoot camera will have a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution when pushed to your devices. Panoramic photos can be up to 5400 pixels wide.

How do I delete photos from My Photo Stream?

You can delete photos from your photo stream the same way you delete other photos from your iOS device or Mac. Just select the photos you want to remove, then tap the trash icon or click Delete. On your PC, select the photos you want to remove from your photo stream, right-click, then select delete. When you delete a photo from My Photo Stream on one device, iCloud will automatically delete it from the My Photo Stream album or view on your other devices. Learn more about deleting photos.

What happens to my photos if I turn off My Photo Stream?

If you sign out of iCloud or turn off My Photo Stream on an iOS device, all the images in My Photo Stream are removed from that device. The images in My Photo Stream on your other devices aren't affected. Images added to My Photo Stream are saved on the iCloud server for 30 days from the date you added them to My Photo Stream. If you sign in to iCloud with the same Apple ID and turn on My Photo Stream on another device, those photos will automatically download to this device.

Before turning off My Photo Stream, it's a good idea to save any photos that you'd like to keep to your Camera Roll. Learn more about saving your photos to your Camera Roll.

Need help?

Learn more about using and troubleshooting iCloud Photo Sharing and Shared Photo Streams.

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Aug 5, 2014
  • Last Modified: Aug 5, 2014
  • Article: HT4486
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