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Photo Stream

The way that Photo Stream works is really simple. First, you take some pictures using your iOS device. Then, these pictures are automatically uploaded to the iCloud server. Other devices that have Photo Stream enabled receive these pictures immediately. Photo Stream only stores pictures that are taken using the Camera app on iOS devices.

Of course, your devices need to be connected to the Internet via cellular data or Wi-Fi. For those who use Wi-Fi-only iOS devices, such as iPod touch and iPad with Wi-Fi, pictures are uploaded later when it’s connected to Internet.

Photo Stream lets you upload unlimited pictures and it won’t count on iCloud storage, but these are stored in Photo Stream for 30 days. After that, your pictures are automatically deleted. Make sure that you have stored all pictures on your Mac or PC so that you don’t lose any. All pictures are uploaded in full resolution, but when they are downloaded to iOS devices, the resolution is reduced and optimized for the devices.

Setting up Photo Stream

All Mac computers with OS X Lion or higher, PCs with an iCloud Control Panel, and iOS devices with iOS 5 or higher are able to store and receive pictures from Photo Stream. To use Photo Stream on your device, you need to activate it on each device. So, you can also decide on which devices you want to store and receive pictures using Photo Stream.

Photo Stream on iOS

It’s hard for me (and maybe for you too), if I don’t enable Photo Stream on my iPhone because Photo Stream is the easiest way to share pictures and screenshots across iOS devices. You don’t need to share them by e-mail or using other apps. Just let iCloud stream them to all devices.

To enable Photo Stream on iOS, navigate to Settings | Photos & Camera. Set the My Photo Stream toggle to the ON position, as shown in the preceding screenshot, and that’s all! Photo Stream is now ready to serve you. You can also enable Photo Stream by navigating to Settings | iCloud | Photo Stream and setting the My Photo Stream toggle to the ON position. To view all pictures stored on Photo Stream, you need to open the Photos app, tap on the Albums tab, and then tap on the My Photo Stream tab at the bottom of the screen. You can browse and view the pictures just like browsing pictures on Albums or Events, as shown in the following screenshot:

You can share pictures from Photo Stream to Mail, Message, Twitter, or Facebook; many other actions are available as well. You can also delete pictures individually from Photo Stream. Tap on Select and tap on the pictures that you want to delete. Then, tap on the Delete icon to execute the process.

Saving pictures from Photo Stream to Camera Roll is really easy. Just tap on Select and choose the pictures that you want to save. If you’re finished, tap on the Share icon and choose the Save to Camera Roll icon at the bottom of the screen to store all chosen pictures to Camera Roll. You must choose whether to keep the pictures in an existing album or in a new album.

Photo Stream on Mac

Photo Stream on Mac is really great. It’s integrated with iPhoto; one of the applications in iLife suite for managing photos and videos. You will have it installed by default when you purchase a new Mac, or you can purchase it by yourself via the Mac App Store. With iPhoto, you can add and delete pictures in Photo Stream. One big advantage of having Photo Stream enabled on your Mac is that you don’t need to plug in your iOS device to your Mac just for copying pictures taken with it.

To enable Photo Stream on Mac, navigate to System Preferences | iCloud and check the Photos checkbox to enable it. You can manage and view your Photo Stream on iPhoto or Aperture. You can also use pictures from Photo Stream on iMovie as part of Media Browser.

Viewing Photo Stream on iPhoto

After you’ve enabled Photo Stream from the iCloud preference pane, launch iPhoto on your Mac. You’ll see the iCloud icon on the left sidebar. Click on it and iPhoto shows a welcome screen, as shown in the following screenshot. Click on Turn On iCloud to enable Photo Stream, and iPhoto will download all pictures stored on Photo Stream automatically. It usually takes longer to download Photo Stream pictures for the first time:

Photo Stream on iPhoto has different behaviors compared to Photo Stream on iOS. All Photo Stream pictures, which have been downloaded to iPhoto, are automatically stored in your iPhoto Library. It’s not only stored but also organized with iPhoto as Event. So, you’ll see something like “Jan 2013 Photo Stream”, which contains Photo Stream pictures from January 2013.

Pictures from Photo Stream behave like other pictures on iPhoto. These are available on Media Browser, which is connected with other apps on your Mac. Everything is organized so there is no more dragging and dropping from your mobile device to your Mac.

By default, every new picture added to your iPhoto Library is uploaded to Photo Stream. You can disable it by navigating to iPhoto | Preferences| iCloud and unchecking Automatic Upload, as shown in the following screenshot:


This article shows how the Photo Stream app is used with iCloud. The article included the setting up of the Photo Stream app and using it with the different apple platforms like iOS and Mac. It also shows how the Photo Stream app is used with iPhoto.

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