My Photo Stream overview

My Photo Stream is the iCloud feature that uploads and stores the last 30 days of your photos and automatically pushes them to all your iOS devices and computers. With My Photo Stream, you can view all your recent photos on all your devices without having to sync—all you have to do is turn it on.

Note: You must have an iCloud account to use My Photo Stream. iCloud requires OS X v10.7.2 or later. For more information, see Set up your iCloud account.

Here’s how My Photo Stream works:

  • First, turn on My Photo Stream on any device that you want to be part of your photo stream.

  • Next, take a photo with your iOS device, or import some photos from your digital camera to your Mac, iPad, or Windows computer.

  • The photos are automatically uploaded to iCloud and then pushed to your other devices (via a Wi-Fi network or Ethernet).

  • The photos appear in My Photo Stream on each device: in the Photos app on your iOS devices, in iPhoto or Aperture on a Mac, or in the Pictures folder on a Windows computer.

Illustration of the Photo Stream workflow.

My Photo Stream is totally automatic, but if you have a Mac, you can choose to turn off automatic uploading when you set up My Photo Stream in iPhoto or Aperture. This can be useful if you regularly import very large numbers of photos.

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. Your iOS devices keep a rolling collection of your last 1000 photos in the My Photo Stream album. To keep these photos on your iOS device permanently, you can save them to your device’s Camera Roll or to another album. Because 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 to your computer.

Note: My Photo Stream is compatible with TIFF files up to 100 MB, JPEG files up to 50 MB, RAW files (in supported formats) up to 100 MB, and PNG files up to 50 MB.