An Overview of Photo Stream

Photo Stream lets you view all your recent photos on your devices without having to sync—all you have to do is turn it on.

Note: You must have an iCloud account to use Photo Stream. iCloud requires Mac OS X v10.7.2 or later. For more information about setting up an iCloud account, see Setting Up Your iCloud Account.

How Photo Stream works:

Illustration of the Photo Stream workflow.

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

iCloud stores your new photos for 30 days so your devices have plenty of time to connect and download the photos. Your iOS devices keep a rolling collection of your last 1000 photos, and you can save your favorite shots to your Camera Roll or any other album to keep them on your device permanently. Because your computers have more storage, they can keep all your Photo Stream photos.

Note: Automatic Import must be turned on in Photo Stream preferences in iPhoto or Aperture for your Mac to keep all photos (this option is turned on by default). Your Windows PC keeps all photos no matter what.

To get started, set up Photo Stream on your devices.

For more information about using Photo Stream in Aperture, see Using Photo Stream. For more information about setting up Photo Stream on your iOS 5 devices, see Set up Photo Stream in Mac Help.

Note: 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.