Set Photo Stream up on your Apple devices

It's easy to see all your photos on all your Apple devices using Photo Stream.

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  • iCloud Photo Options Create iCloud account
  • iCloud My Photo Stream Tick Enable iCloud
  • Turn on Photo Stream iPhone iPhone Photo Stream
  • My Photo Stream iPad iPad Photostream
  • Step 5 Take a picture
  • Step 6 How many pictures
  • Step 7 Sharing a Stream
  • Step 8 Adding photos
  • Photos iOS 8 and Yosemite
  • More stories
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Create an iCloud account on your Mac or iOS device

My Photo Stream is a great way to view your most recent photos on all your Apple devices, and a quick and easy way to back up photos to your Mac.

Photo Steam can be used without turning on iCloud Photo Library, which arrived with Photos for Mac and will allow you to store all your photos - but you will have to pay if your library is more than 5GB in size. If you want to use iCloud Photo Library instead, this article should help

For Photo Stream to work you’ll need to have an active iCloud account. Usually you’ll create this when setting up a new machine, but if you skipped that part it’s easy and free to open one now on your Mac or iOS device.

On your Mac click on the System Preferences icon in the Dock, then select iCloud and simply enter your Apple ID. You’ll be given a few settings to enable, just make sure that you click on Photos and ensure the My Photo Stream box is ticked.

To create an account on an iOS device go to Settings, iCloud, and enter your Apple ID.

Next »

Next Prev iCloud Photo Options

My Photo Stream is a great way to view your most recent photos on all your Apple devices, and a quick and easy way to back up photos to your Mac.

Photo Steam can be used without turning on iCloud Photo Library, which arrived with Photos for Mac and will allow you to store all your photos - but you will have to pay if your library is more than 5GB in size. If you want to use iCloud Photo Library instead, this article should help

For Photo Stream to work you’ll need to have an active iCloud account. Usually you’ll create this when setting up a new machine, but if you skipped that part it’s easy and free to open one now on your Mac or iOS device.

On your Mac click on the System Preferences icon in the Dock, then select iCloud and simply enter your Apple ID. You’ll be given a few settings to enable, just make sure that you click on Photos and ensure the My Photo Stream box is ticked.

To create an account on an iOS device go to Settings, iCloud, and enter your Apple ID.

 

Step 2 of 9: Enable iCloud in iPhoto

Now that your account is created you'll need to give applications permission to use it before any photos will be able to download.

Again, this is every simple. If you're using an older version of OS X than the most recent Yosemite update, you'll still have iPhoto. Launch it on your Mac and look in the left hand column where you'll find the Library, Recent and Sharing categories.

Under the latter is iCloud, click on this and then select the Use iCloud option.

If you've updated to the latest version of Yosemite, you'll find that there is a new icon in your Dock that looks just like the Photos icon on your iPhone. That's the new Photos app that replaces both iPhoto and Aperture. (Find out more here).

Launch it and if you want to set up just My Photo Stream and not iCloud Photo Library (you can always change your mind later), click skip when Apple asks you to sign up.

Now, go to Photos > Preferences in the navigation bar at the top of your screen, and click iCloud, then tick My Photo Stream.

Read: Best cameras for 2015

 

Step 3 of 9: Enable Photo Stream on your iPhone

As the iPhone is likely to be the device you use most for photography, having a working Photo Stream is important.

To do so, you'll need to go to Settings, then iCloud, then Photos. Here, you'll want to make sure My Photo Stream is turned on.

If you own one of Apple's newer iPhones, you may also see the Upload Burst Photos option, which will transfer only your favourite photos from Burst Mode if you enable it.

This is something we'd recommend, otherwise your library would be swamped with duplicates of essentially the same image.

Read these advanced iOS 8 tips you don’t know yet

Read: How to set up Photos for OS X, tips for using Photos for Mac

 

Step 4 of 9: Enable Photostream on your iPad

As the iPad is running the same software as the iPhone, the setup is pretty much identical. The one omission is the Upload Burst Photos option because this is a feature the iPad doesn't have yet.

So to enable Photo Stream go to Settings > iCloud > Photos and then ensure that the My Photo Stream button is green.

 

Step 5 of 9: Take a picture to see how it works

Now that all of your devices are in sync it's time to see just how easy Photo Stream is to use.

With your iPhone or iPad, take a picture of something. It needn't be high art, just a quick shot to test that everything is working properly.

One the picture is taken go to the Photos app on your Mac (or iPhoto if you're still using it) and, as long as you're connected to WiFi, you should see the photo arrive shortly after you snapped it on your iOS device.

It's that simple. As you continue to capture moments, the photos will now sync quickly and quietly in the background.

 

Step 6 of 9: How many pictures can Photo Stream store?

While Photo Stream is very easy to use, understanding how the storage works can be a little more challenging.

Essentially you are entitled to one thousand photos, which is a large amount, and none of these count against your iCloud storage.

One thing to note though is that the photos are only held on the iCloud servers for thirty days. This means that if you buy a new iPhone or iPad and setup Photo Stream, you’ll only see photos from the last four weeks.

Existing devices will hold all one thousand as they’ve already synced them from the servers before they were deleted.

If you want to use My Photo Stream to back up iPhone photos to your Mac don't forget to download the images regularly.

 

Step 7 of 9: Sharing a Stream

First off you'll also need to check that Photo Sharing is enabled by navigating to Settings > iCloud > Photos on your iPhone or iPad and switch on iCloud Photo Sharing.

Then go to the Photos app on your device and tap the Shared icon at the bottom of the screen. After the library has updated you'll see the option to Create New Stream. Tap this, name the Stream, and then add the contacts you wish to share your photos with.

Bear in mind that the recipients will need to have Apple IDs and iCloud accounts to access the Stream.

Now tap Create and your Stream is ready. You can create multiple Streams and add different photos in each. We'll do that next.

Read: How to transfer photos from Mac to Android & Windows tablets

 

Step 8 of 9: Sharing your Stream - adding photos

Tap on the Stream name you’ve created and you’ll see the folder is empty. To remedy this tap the plus box in the top left corner then select the photos you wish to share in the Stream.

You can do this individually or tap on the Select option on the right which will highlight all the images in that particular group.

When you’re happy tap Done, add a note if you want to, and the Stream is now accessible to those you invited.

 

Step 9 of 9: Photo Stream in iOS 8 and Yosemite

With iOS and OS X Yosemite, Apple updated the photo features on iOS and Mac, and you might want to investigate using that service instead.

The 1000-photo iCloud sync limit is history, replaced by an all-encompassing, some storage required iCloud Photo Library.

You can keep your photos on your iPhone locally and continue to use Photo Stream as described in iOS 8, or you can use the new iCloud Photo Library.

If you enable it, any photo or video you shoot will be automatically uploaded to iCloud. That content will be stored at its full resolution and in its original format. (e.g JPG, PNG, Raw.)

All of those images will be viewable on any of your iOS devices or on the web, as well as in the new Photos app on your Mac.

You'll get 5GB of storage space for free as part of your iCloud account, and you'll be able to buy 20GB for 79p per month or £3.49 per month if you want 200GB.

Having your library synced and backed up to iCloud is a great way to keep them safe and make them easily accessible.

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