iCloud: Shared Photo Streams FAQ

Find answers to frequently asked questions about Shared Photo Streams.

With iOS 6, iPhoto 9.4, Aperture 3.4, iCloud Control Panel 2.x, Apple TV Software Update 5.1, and Shared Photo Streams, you can easily choose which of your photos you want to share and who you want to share them with. Friends and family can subscribe to your shared streams to view them on all of their devices, leave comments, and get notified automatically when you add new photos.

If you and your subscribers update your software to iOS 7, iCloud Control Panel 3.0, or Apple TV Software Update 6.0, you can also add and view videos with your shared streams. Learn more about iCloud Photo Sharing.

What do I need to use Shared Photo Streams?

To use Shared Photo Streams, you need an iCloud account, compatible devices, and the following software:

  • iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 6.0 to 6.1.4
  • Mac with OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.2 or later and iPhoto 9.4 to 9.4.3 or Aperture 3.4 to 3.4.5
  • PC with Windows 7 or later and the iCloud Control Panel 2.1 or later for Windows
  • Apple TV (2nd generation) with Apple TV Software Update 5.1 or later

And if you have selected the Public Website option when setting up your shared stream, your friends and family can view your photos from any current web browser using a link that you provide.

For complete iCloud setup instructions, visit How to set up iCloud.

How do I turn on Shared Photo Streams?

After your devices are using the appropriate software and you have set up your iCloud account, it’s easy to turn on Shared Photo Streams on any of your devices:

  • iOS devices: Go to Settings > iCloud > Photo Stream, then turn on Shared Photo Streams.
  • Mac: Go to System Preferences > iCloud, then select the checkbox for Photo Stream. Click the Options button to verify that the Shared Photo Streams checkbox is selected. Open the application you want to use with Photo Stream (iPhoto or Aperture) and confirm that Shared Photo Streams is turned on in that application. You can also adjust your Photo Stream settings in iPhoto or Aperture Preferences.
  • PC: Open the iCloud Control Panel for Windows and select the checkbox for Photo Stream. You can click the Options button to verify that Shared Photo Streams is enabled and adjust the settings. Be sure to click Apply when done.

Do Shared Photo Streams use my iCloud storage?

No. Photos uploaded to Shared Photo Streams do not count against your iCloud storage.

Which photo formats and sizes are supported in Shared Photo Streams?

Shared Photo Streams supports JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and most RAW photo formats. On your Mac or PC, your photos are downloaded and stored in full resolution. On your 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. While actual dimensions will vary, 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 many photos can be stored in a shared stream on my devices and computers?

A shared stream can hold a maximum of 5000 photos. When you reach your limit, you must delete some photos before adding new ones.

How do I create a shared stream?

Creating a shared stream is as easy as selecting the photos you'd like to share from a compatible device, then providing the email addresses of the people with whom you'd like to share.  Learn more about creating a shared photo stream.

How do friends and family view my photos?

After your friends and family have accepted your invitation to your shared stream, they can use any compatible device and application to view your photos. Learn more about inviting people to view your shared photo streams.

Can I share with people who don't have an iCloud account?

Yes. If you enable Public Website in the settings or options for your shared stream, your photos will be published to a website that anyone can view in an up-to-date web browser. Learn more about inviting people to view your shared photo streams.

Can people comment on my photos?

Yes. Friends and family with an iCloud account and a compatible device can leave comments and Like photos from your shared photo stream. You will be notified automatically when they do, and they will be notified if anyone comments back. Learn more about comments in shared photo streams.

Can I delete comments from a shared stream?

Yes. The owner of a shared stream can delete any comments added to the shared stream. In addition, subscribers can delete any comments that they personally added to the shared stream. Learn more about comments in shared photo streams.

Can I add new photos to a shared stream I've already created?

Yes. You can add more photos any time you like. Subscribers to the shared stream will be notified automatically.  Learn more about adding photos to a shared stream.

How do I delete photos from a shared stream?

If you are the owner of a shared stream, you can delete photos from the stream in the same way you delete any other photos from your iOS device, Mac, or Windows PC.  The photos will be automatically deleted from the stream on all your devices and the devices of anyone subscribed to the stream. Any photos that were previously saved or downloaded from the shared stream to another location, such as the Camera Roll, will not be deleted from that location. Learn more about deleting shared photos.

Can photos be saved or downloaded from a shared photo stream?

Yes. After photos are shared, anyone who can view the shared stream can download and keep them permanently.

On a compatible iOS device, you can save photos to the Camera Roll. On a Mac, using iPhoto 9.4 or Aperture 3.4 or later, you can save photos from the shared stream to your local Photo Library or any other location on your Mac. On a Windows PC, you can copy photos from a shared photo stream to any folder. On the web, photos can be downloaded directly to your computer from the detail view of each photo.

How long are Shared Photo Stream photos stored in iCloud?

The photos you share (and the comments or Likes associated with those photos) remain in iCloud until you or the contributor delete them manually, or until you delete the shared stream completely.

Do shared streams ever expire?

No. Shared streams are removed from iCloud only if you delete the photo stream.

How do I stop sharing a photo stream?

As the owner of a shared stream, you control with whom you share your stream. You can remove subscribers to your stream at any time. Learn about removing subscribers.

You can also delete the stream at any time. When a shared stream is deleted, it is automatically removed from all of your devices as well as the devices of all your subscribers. If Public Website was enabled, the shared photo stream will also be removed from the web. Any photos that were previously saved or downloaded from the shared stream to another location, such as the Camera Roll, will not be deleted from that location. Learn more about removing a shared stream.

Do shared streams work over cellular connections?

Yes. You can share photos over both Wi-Fi and cellular data connections.

Last Modified: Aug 6, 2014
  • Last Modified: Aug 6, 2014
  • Article: HT5903
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