My Photo Stream FAQ

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

What do I need to use My Photo Stream?

Here's what you need to use My Photo Stream:

  • iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 7 or later
  • Mac with OS X Lion v10.7.5 and iPhoto 9.2.2, Aperture 3.2.3, or Photos for OS X 1.0 or later
  • Apple TV (2nd generation) with Apple TV Software Update 5.0 or later
  • PC with Windows 7 or later and iCloud for Windows
  • iCloud set up on all of your devices

How do I turn on My Photo Stream?

Find your device below and follow steps to turn on My Photo Stream.

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Go to Settings > iCloud > Photos, then turn on My Photo Stream.

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.

Windows PC

Before you can turn on My Photo Stream on your PC, you need to download iCloud for Windows

  1. Open iCloud for Windows.
  2. Select Photos, and then My Photo Stream will turn on automatically. 
  3. Choose the iCloud Photos folder location on your computer. Click Options > Change and choose the folder where you want to organize and keep your iCloud photos.
  4. Click OK > Apply.

How does My Photo Stream work with iCloud Photo Library?

My Photo Stream uploads your most recent 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 automatically. Once you turn on iCloud Photo Library on your device, any photos you add to My Photo Stream from other devices will appear in the All Photos tab in the Photos app, and organized in Moments, Collections, and Years.

How do I see photos in My Photo Stream?

Find your device below and follow steps to see your photos on My Photo Stream.

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

  • iOS 8: 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.

Apple TV

After you sign in to iCloud, you can view your photos when you choose iCloud Photos or Photo Stream from the main menu. Or you can select Internet > Photo Stream in the Apple TV Software Update 5.0.

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.

 

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

  • Windows 8.1: From the Start screen, click   in the bottom-left corner, then click the 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 or Photo Stream under the Favorites menu in the panel on the left. Double-click My Photo Stream to view your photos. This also shows up as a folder in the window that appears.

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 work with video.

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 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.

When do my photos upload to My Photo Stream?

Photos that you take on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch will 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. Open My Photo Stream, and click the Add photos button. 
  4. Select the photos you want to add to My Photo Stream, then click Open.

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 will 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. Select the photos and choose Share > Save Image. You can then back up your photos using iCloud or iTunes.

Where are my burst mode photos in My Photo Stream?

When you take photos using burst mode, only your favorite photos are imported to your device. In iOS 7.1 or later, 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 delete photos from My Photo Stream?

You can delete photos from My Photo Stream on your iOS device or Mac when you tap   or click Delete.

On your PC, select the photos that you want to remove from My Photo Stream, right-click, and then select Delete. When you delete a photo from My Photo Stream on one device, it will be removed from Photos and iCloud. The photos 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?

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 be removed.

The photos from My Photo Stream on your other devices aren't affected. Photos from My Photo Stream will 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 will automatically download.

Before turning off My Photo Stream, you should save any photos that you'd like to keep to your device. Learn more about saving your photos.

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