Asya Karapetyan
Content marketer, who specializes in Mac how-to guides
May 16, 2022
12 minutes to read

Many iPhone users can feel confused when it comes to using Apple Photo Stream. Despite the fact that iOS is easy and simple to use, people have many questions about the Photo Stream.

In this article, you will find all you wanted to know about iPhone Photo Stream.

My photo stream

Contents:

  1. What is My Photo Stream?
  2. How to turn off and turn on Apple Photo Stream?
  3. The difference between Camera Roll and My Photo Stream.
  4. The difference between iCloud and My Photo Stream.
  5. How to fix it when iPhone Photo Stream is not updating.
  6. FAQs
Before we start
Every iPhone user has tons of similar photos on their device, but usually, we need only one or a couple of photos in each series of photos. Since iPhone Photo Stream has limits on uploads, we recommend cleaning up useless duplicate photos in your Camera Roll before you upload them to the Photo Stream album. You can easily do this with a free application from Nektony called Phone Cleaner for Media Files.

Phone Cleaner will help you clean up similar photos and find the largest media files to free up space in your storage.

What is My Photo Stream?

My Photo Stream is an option in the Apple ecosystem that allows users to get access to the photos made on any Apple device during the last 30 days from any of the following devices:

  • On iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch with iOS 5.1 and higher
  • In the Photos app on Mac
  • On Apple TV
  • On Windows-based computers using iCloud

If My Photo Stream is enabled on your iPhone or iPad, once you take a photo on your device, it automatically gets uploaded to the My Photo Stream album. This option works when you have Wi-Fi on your device.

To be able to access My Photo Stream pictures, you need to log in to your iCloud account using the same Apple ID.

My Photo Stream doesn’t support all the extensions. For example, it doesn’t upload Live photos. It supports JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and RAW file formats only.

The iPhone Photo Stream stores up to 1K photos in its gallery. While on iPhone and iPad, the photos get optimized and have a maximum size of 2048x1536px, while on Mac and Windows computers they are uploaded in the original size.

Note, pictures in the Stream gallery don’t use iCloud storage. After 30 days of being stored there, they get deleted.

Where is Photo Stream on iPhone?

If the Photo Stream option is enabled on your iPhone, you will see an album in the Photos app called My Photo Stream. Tap it to see your photos taken during the last 30 days.

iphone screen showing My Photo Stream album

How to turn off and turn on Apple Photo Stream?

Despite the fact that iPhone Photo Stream doesn’t take up iCloud storage space, many users might find this option useless and want to turn it off. For this, follow the steps below:

  1. On iPhone, open Settings.
  2. Go to the iCloud section.
  3. Tap Photos.
  4. Turn off the toggle button for the Photo Stream option.
Phone screens showing how to turn off photo stream

If you want to turn My Photo Stream on, go back to iCloud→ Photos on your device and enable the toggle button for the appropriate option.

Note that by default, burst photos are not uploaded to My Photo Stream. However, in Settings, you can enable the option to upload your favorite burst photos. Then, once you tap the heart icon on a series of burst photos in your Photos album, they will upload to the Photo Stream album.


The difference between Camera Roll and My Photo Stream

Camera Roll is a place on an iOS device where all your photos, screenshots, and downloaded pictures are saved. My Photo Stream is an option for Apple devices that needs to be turned on to work. It allows the users to access the last 1K photos taken made during the last 30 days from any Apple device and even from a Windows computer.

In short, Camera Roll shows all the pictures that are physically stored on your device. My Photo Stream shows only some photos.


The difference between iCloud and My Photo Stream

Despite the fact that you can access My Photo Stream with your iCloud account, there are some differences.

  • My Photo Stream doesn’t support videos or live photos. Also, it supports only four extensions: JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and RAW. Files in iCloud support eight extensions, including HEIF, HEVC, GIF, and MP4. In iCloud, you can store videos and any other files from your devices.
  • By default, every iCloud user has 5 GB of free storage space. If this storage is not enough for you, you can buy a subscription to get more space. In My Photo Stream, you can see only up to 1K photos taken during the last 30 days, and these files don’t take up any iCloud storage.
  • In iCloud, the photos are saved in their original sizes. In My Photo Stream, pictures get optimized.
  • Changes made in iCloud automatically synchronize with other devices. Changes made in My Photo Stream don’t synchronize with other devices.

How to fix it when iPhone Photo Stream is not updating?

  • Ensure that Wi-Fi is turned on. My Photo Stream works only with Wi-Fi on your device.
  • Ensure that My Photo Stream is turned on. You might have accidentally turned off this option in your device’s settings. Go to Settings → iCloud → Photos and turn on the toggle button for My Photo Stream.
  • Close the camera after taking a photo. Only after the camera is closed will the photo get uploaded to the Photo Stream album.
  • Charge your device. When you have a low battery charge (less than 20%), the system turns off this option to save your battery.
  • Turn off Low Power Mode. Even if you have a full battery, but you turn on Low Power Mode, the system will switch off uploading pictures to the My Photo Stream album.
  • Update My Photo Stream. The problem of not updating files in My Photo Stream can be connected with some system crashes. Try to turn off My Photo Stream, wait for 30 seconds and turn on it again.
  • Update iOS. Ensure that you use the latest iOS on your device. To check it, open Settings on iPhone or iPad → scroll down and tap General → tap Software Update. If a new update is available, tap to update your system.
  • Re–log n to your iCloud account. The issue might be connected to iCloud errors. Try to sign out from your account, wait for 30 seconds and then log in again to iCloud. You can do this in the Settings → User Account section.

Conclusion

Now you know all about My Photo Stream. Use it if you want to have access to your last photos on any other device. Also, we want to remind you periodically clean up all duplicate pictures on your iPhone. You can do this with a free application called Phone Cleaner for Media Files.



What happens if I turn off Photo Stream?
Will deleting My Photo Stream delete my Camera Roll?
Does My Photo Stream use iCloud storage?
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