Photo Stream FAQ

With Photo Stream, when you take a photo on one device, it automatically appears on all of your other devices. And now with Shared Photo Streams, you can easily choose which of your photos you want to share and who you want to share them with.

What do I need to use Photo Stream?

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

  • iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 6.0 or later
  • Mac with OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.2 or later and iPhoto 9.4 or Aperture 3.4 or later
  • PC with Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista (Service Pack 2) and the iCloud Control Panel 2.1 or later for Windows
  • Apple TV (2nd generation) with Software Update 5.1 or later

You can still use Photo Stream without Shared Photo Streams if your devices meet these requirements:

  • 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
  • PC with Windows 7 or Windows Vista (Service Pack 2) and the iCloud Control Panel v2.0 or later for Windows
  • Apple TV (2nd generation) with Software Update 5.0 or later

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

How do I turn on Photo Stream?

Once your devices are up to date and you have set up your iCloud account, it’s easy turn on Photo Stream on any of your devices. Here’s how:

On your iOS devices, go to Settings > iCloud > Photo Stream, and turn on My Photo Stream and Shared Photo Streams.

On your Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud and select the checkbox for Photo Stream. Click the Options button to verify that both My Photo Stream and Shared Photo Streams are enabled. Then, open iPhoto or Aperture to confirm that My Photo Stream and Shared Photo Streams are turned on in the application you want to use with Photo Stream. You can also adjust your Photo Stream settings in iPhoto or Aperture Preferences.

On your PC, open the iCloud Control Panel for Windows and select the checkbox for Photo Stream. You can click on the Options button to verify that both My Photo Stream and Shared Photo Streams are enabled and adjust the settings. Be sure to click Apply.

Does Photo Stream use my iCloud storage?

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

What photo formats does Photo Stream support?

Photo Stream supports JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and most RAW photo formats. Photo Stream does not work with video.

My Photo Stream

When you take photos on an iOS device, or import photos from your digital camera to your computer, My Photo Stream can automatically upload your new photos to iCloud and push them to all of your other devices.

When do photos upload to My Photo Stream?

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

On an iOS device, new photos you take will be automatically uploaded to your photo stream when you leave the Camera app and are connected to Wi-Fi. Note: My Photo Stream does not push photos over cellular connections.

On your Mac, any new photos you import to iPhoto or Aperture will begin uploading automatically when you have a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection. Or, you can change your iPhoto or Aperture preferences so that only photos you manually add to My Photo Stream are uploaded.

On a PC with iCloud Control Panel 2.0 or later, open a Windows Explorer window. Select Photo Stream under Favorites. Open My Photo Stream. Click the “Add photos” button. Select photos to import to My Photo Stream, and 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.

Since your Mac and PC have more storage than your iOS devices, you can choose to have all of your My Photo Stream photos automatically downloaded. In iPhoto or Aperture preferences on your Mac, be sure to select Photo Stream > My Photo Stream > Automatic Import. All of your photo stream photos will be imported into your Events, Projects, Photos, Faces, and Places folders in iPhoto or Aperture. On your PC with Photo Stream enabled in the Control Panel, all of your photos will be imported into C:Users<user name>PicturesPhoto StreamMy Photo Stream. 

How do I view My Photo Stream?

On your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, your photos will appear in the Photo Stream view in the Photos app. If you’re using iOS 6 or later, you can find your photos by tapping the Photo Stream tab and then tapping the My Photo Stream album. In iOS 5, your photos are in the Photo Stream album.

On your Mac, they appear in the Photo Stream view in iPhoto or Aperture. In iPhoto 9.4 or later or in Aperture 3.4 or later, open the My Photo Stream album in the Photo Stream view.

On a PC using Windows 8, from the Start screen, select Photo Stream. On a PC using Windows 7 or VIsta, click theWindows Start button, and then Pictures. Click Photo Stream under the Favorites menu in the panel on the left. Double-click My Photo Stream to view your photos.

On Apple TV, after signing in with your iCloud account, you can view your photos by choosing 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 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 50 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, and tap the trash can icon or click Delete. On your PC, select the photos you want to remove from your photo stream, right-click, and then select delete. When you delete a photo from Photo Stream on one device, iCloud will automatically delete it from the Photo Stream album or view on your other devices. Learn more about deleting photos.

Note: Deleting individual photos from Photo Stream is supported by iOS 5.1 or later, iPhoto 9.2.2 or later, Aperture 3.2.3 or later, and Apple TV Software Update 5.0 or later. You will need to manually delete photos you downloaded to iOS devices using iOS 5.0.1 or earlier after updating to iOS 5.1.

Shared Photo Streams

Shared Photo Streams is an easy way to share select photos with just the people you choose. Friends and family can subscribe to your shared photo streams to view them on all of their devices, leave comments, and get notified automatically when you add new photos.

How do I create a shared photo stream?

Creating a shared photo stream is as easy as selecting the photos you’d like to share and providing email addresses of the people with whom you’d like to share.  You can share from any device using iOS 6 or later; from a Mac in iPhoto 9.4 or Aperture 3.4 or later; from a Windows PC with Windows Vista or later and iCloud Control Panel 2.0 or later installed. Learn more about creating shared photo streams.

How do friends and family view my photos?

Friends and family with iCloud accounts can view your photos in the Photos app on any device using iOS 6 or later; on a Mac in iPhoto 9.4 or Aperture 3.4 or later; on a Windows PC with Windows Vista or later and iCloud Control Panel 2.0 or later installed; or on a second generation or later Apple TV with software version 5.1 or later installed. They can also view your photos on the web if you enable Public Website in the settings or options for your Shared Photo Stream. 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 photo 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 shared photo stream comments.

Can I delete comments from a shared photo stream?

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

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

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

What resolution are the photos in shared photo streams?

Shared Photo Streams deliver photos in a device-optimized resolution that speeds upload and 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. Panoramic photos can be up to 50 pixels wide.

How many photos can be stored in Shared Photo Streams on my devices and computers?

Unlike My Photo Stream, shared photo streams are not rolling collections. Any new photos that you add to a shared photo stream do not replace your older photos. A shared photo stream can hold a maximum of 1,000 photos. When you reach your limit, you must delete some photos before adding new ones.

How do I delete photos from a shared photo stream?

If you are the owner of a shared photo stream, you can delete photos from the stream the same way you delete any other photos from your iOS device or Mac. Just select the photos you want to remove, and then tap the trash can icon or click Delete. On your PC, select the photos you want to remove from your shared photo stream, right-click, and then select delete. The photos will be automatically deleted from the stream on all your devices and the devices of anyone subscribed to the stream. Note that any photos that were previously saved or downloaded from the shared photo stream to another location, such as the Camera Roll, will not be deleted.

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

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

On a device using iOS 6 or later, you can save photos to the Camera Roll. On a Mac, using iPhoto 9.4 or Aperture 3.4, 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 with Shared Photo Streams (and comments or likes associated with those photos) remain in iCloud until you delete them manually, or until you delete the shared photo stream completely.

Do shared photo streams ever expire?

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

How do I stop sharing a a photo stream?

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

You can also delete the photo stream at any time from an iOS device or Mac by visiting the settings for the stream and tapping or clicking Delete Photo Stream. On a PC, select the shared stream, right-click, and then select Delete. When a shared photo 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. Note that any photos that were previously saved or downloaded from the shared photo stream to another location, such as the Camera Roll, will not be deleted.

Do shared photo streams work over cellular connections?

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