phone photos

Those with photos and videos stored on Apple’s Photo Stream may wish to back them up elsewhere or lose them when Apple retire Photo Stream on 26 July. 

What Is Photo Stream? 

Apple’s Photo Stream was a feature introduced in 2011 as part of their iCloud service, which allowed users to sync and share photos across their Apple devices. Photo Stream was designed to automatically upload and store the most recent 1,000 photos taken or saved on an iOS device, Mac, or PC for a period of 30 days (after which they are automatically deleted from iCloud). In essence, Photo Stream temporarily uploads the photos taken on one device so users can view them on any other device with My Photo Stream enabled and import them to their library on that device if they wish. 

Replaced With iCloud Photos (iCloud Photo Library) 

Photo Stream was largely replaced by iCloud Photo Library / iCloud Photos, a separate service, which was introduced in October 2014, alongside the release of iOS 8.1, and provided users with a more comprehensive and integrated solution for managing and syncing their photos across Apple devices. 

Photo Stream Being Retired On July 26 

Apple says that Photo Stream will be shut down on July 26, 2023. Users may already be aware that new photo uploads to My Photo Stream from devices were stopped one month before, on June 26. Apple says, “Any photos uploaded to the service before that date will remain in iCloud for 30 days from the date of upload and will be available to any of your devices where My Photo Stream is currently enabled”. 

What To Do 

Users of Photo Stream should already have been emailed about the matter, but a summary of the advice is: 

  • Check whether you use iCloud Photos. Go to Settings > your name > iCloud. Check that it says “On” next to Photos on each device. On a Mac, go to Apple menu > System Settings, click your name, then click iCloud. Make sure that it says “On” next to Photos on each of your devices. 
  • If you already have iCloud Photos enabled on all of your devices, there’s no need to do anything as your photos are already uploaded and stored in iCloud. 
  • If you don’t use iCloud Photos, you can save photos currently in My Photo Stream to your device. To keep your photos synced across your devices, you can turn on iCloud Photos.  
  • If you don’t have iCloud Photos, the photos in ‘My Photo Stream’ will already be stored on at least one of your devices, and as long as you have the device with your originals, photos won’t be lost. However, if a photo you want isn’t already in your library on a particular iPhone or iPad, make sure that you save it to your library on that device. 
  • To set up iCloud Photos (on any iPhone with iOS 8.3 or later, iPad with iPadOS 8.3 or later, or Mac with OS X Yosemite or later), follow the instructions on the Apple website here

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

The iCloud Photos feature essentially replaced Photo Stream many years ago with a more permanent, better alternative – Photo Stream only saves photos/videos in iCloud for 30 days. Apple announced back in May its intention to close down Photo Stream and users should have been told by email. However, some users may still not be aware and may not have iCloud Photos set up so, in order to avoid possibly losing some valuable memories which may include business-related videos and photos, it’s worth checking now to avoid any problems.

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