My Photo Stream FAQ

With My Photo Stream on your Mac and PC, you can access the recent photos that you took with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

What do I need?

If you set up iCloud on all of your devices, then you can use My Photo Stream with these devices: 

How do I turn on My Photo Stream?

Find your device below and follow the steps.

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

For iOS 10.3 or later, tap Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Photos, then turn on My Photo Stream. For earlier versions of iOS, tap Settings > iCloud > Photos, then turn on My Photo Stream.

Turn on iCloud Photo Library on iPhone

Mac

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Click iCloud. Then select Photos.
  3. Click the Options button and make sure that My Photo Stream is turned on.

Turn on iCloud Photo Library on Mac

Windows PC

Before you can turn on My Photo Stream on your PC, you need to follow these steps: 

  1. Download and install iCloud for Windows.
  2. Open iCloud for Windows.
  3. Next to Photos, click Options.
  4. Select My Photo Stream.
  5. Click Done, then click Apply.

Turn on iCloud Photo Library on PC

How does My Photo Stream work with iCloud Photo Library?

My Photo Stream uploads your most recent photos (except Live Photos) so you can view and import them to all of your devices. Photos are stored in My Photo Stream for 30 days. iCloud Photo Library uploads all of your photos and videos to iCloud and keeps them up to date across your devices. After you turn on iCloud Photo Library on your device, any photos that you add to My Photo Stream from other devices appear in the All Photos tab in the Photos app, and organized in Moments, Collections, and Years.

Learn the differences between iCloud Photo Library and My Photo Stream.

How do I see photos in My Photo Stream?

Find your device below and follow the steps.

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

  • iOS 8 and later: Tap Photos > Albums > My Photo Stream.
  • iOS 7 or earlier: Tap Photo Stream > My Photo Stream.

Mac

  • Photos 1.0 or later: Go to Photos > Albums > My Photo Stream.
  • iPhoto 9.5 or Aperture 3.5: Open iPhoto > iCloud > My Photo Stream.
  • iPhoto 9.4 or earlier or in Aperture 3.4: Open iPhoto > My Photo Stream or Photo Stream.

View My Photo Stream on Mac

Apple TV

  • Apple TV (4th generation): After you sign in to iCloud, go to Settings > Accounts > iCloud and turn on My Photo Stream.
  • Apple TV (3rd and 2nd generation): After you sign in to iCloud, go to Settings > iCloud > iCloud Photo Settings > Turn On My Photo Stream.

Windows PC

When you turn on Photos, iCloud for Windows creates a Photos folder in File Explorer called iCloud Photos. My Photo Stream automatically downloads any new photos that you take on your iOS devices to the Downloads folder.

 View My Photo Stream on Windows

You can also use these steps to see your photos on your PC:

  • Windows 10: Enter iCloud Photos in the Search the web and Windows bar. When you see it in the search results, select iCloud Photos Desktop app.
  • Windows 8.1: From the Start screen, click Download in the bottom-left corner, then click iCloud >iCloud Photos app.
  • Windows 8: From the Start screen, select iCloud Photos.
  • Windows 7: Click the Windows Start button, then click Pictures. Click iCloud Photos under the Favorites menu in the panel on the left.

Which photo formats can I use with My Photo Stream?

My Photo Stream supports JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and most RAW photo formats. My Photo Stream doesn't support video or Live Photos.

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 photos are delivered in a device-optimized resolution that speeds downloads and saves storage space.

Dimensions 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.

When do my photos upload to My Photo Stream?

Photos that you take on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch automatically upload to My Photo Stream when you leave the Camera app and connect to Wi-Fi. And new photos that you import on your Mac to iPhoto or Aperture automatically upload when you connect to Wi-Fi or Ethernet. You can change your iPhoto or Aperture preferences so that only photos you manually add to My Photo Stream upload.

To upload photos to My Photo Stream on your PC, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Windows Start button, then click Pictures. 
  2. Select iCloud Photos under the Favorites menu in the panel on the left.
  3. Click Upload photos.
  4. Select the photos you want to add to My Photo Stream, then click Open.

You can also drag and drop photos from your PC into the Uploads folder in iCloud Photos.

How many photos can My Photo Stream store?

You can choose to download all of your photos from My Photo Stream to your Mac and PC automatically.

  • Photos 1.0 or later: Open Photos and go to Preferences > General. Select Copy items to the Photos library.
  • iPhoto or Aperture: Go to Preferences > Photos (or Photo Stream) > My Photo Stream > Automatic Import. All of your Photo Stream photos import into your Events, Projects, Photos, Faces, and Places folders in iPhoto or Aperture.

To save storage space, your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch keep your most recent 1000 photos in the My Photo Stream album. From My Photo Stream, you can browse your photos or move the ones you like to another album to keep them on your iOS device forever. And if your Apple TV has limited storage, you'll see only your most recent photos.

Does My Photo Stream use my iCloud storage?

No. The photos you upload to My Photo Stream don't count against your iCloud storage.

Can I use My Photo Stream to back up my photos instead of iCloud Backup or iTunes?

No. Photos in My Photo Stream are saved on the iCloud server for 30 days. To save or back up these photos, you must save them from My Photo Stream to your iOS device. Here's how: On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, open Photos and tap Albums > My Photo Stream > Select. Tap the photos that you want to save, then tap Share icon > Save Image. Then you can back up your photos with iCloud or iTunes.

Where are my burst mode photos in My Photo Stream?

When you take photos with burst mode, only your favorite photos import to your device. In iOS 7.1 or later, you can choose to save all photos you take with burst mode to My Photo Stream. Here's how:

  • For iOS 10.3 or later, tap Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Photos and turn on Upload Burst Photos.
  • For earlier versions of iOS, tap Settings > iCloud > Photos and turn on Upload Burst Photos.

How do I delete photos from My Photo Stream?

Select one or more photos from My Photo Stream on your iOS device or Mac, then tap Trash icon or click Delete.

On your PC, select the photos that you want to remove from My Photo Stream. Right-click, then select Delete. When you delete a photo from My Photo Stream on one device, the photo will be removed from Photos and iCloud. The photos that you import from My Photo Stream to your other devices won’t be deleted.

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

Before you turn off My Photo Stream, save any photos that you want to keep on your device. If you sign out of iCloud or turn off My Photo Stream on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, all of the photos in the My Photo Stream album are removed from that device. Any photos from My Photo Stream that you imported to the All Photos album and the Photos tab are also removed.

The photos from My Photo Stream on your other devices aren't affected. Photos from My Photo Stream stay on the iCloud server for 30 days from the date you upload 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, the photos automatically download.

Learn more

Information about products not manufactured by Apple, or independent websites not controlled or tested by Apple, is provided without recommendation or endorsement. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance, or use of third-party websites or products. Apple makes no representations regarding third-party website accuracy or reliability. Risks are inherent in the use of the Internet. Contact the vendor for additional information. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Published Date: