What Is a Photo Stream?


Quick Answer

Apple’s Photo Stream is an offshoot of the iCloud, Apple’s cloud-based storage system, and serves as a centralized hub for sharing photos across multiple platforms. Photo Stream is a free service that replaced USB sync to allow users to access their photos from any iOS device, Mac or Windows computer.

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Full Answer

Photo Stream activates when a user snaps a photo with an iOS device or imports photos from a digital camera to an iOS device or Windows computer. The iCloud automatically sends copies of the photos over an Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection to the user’s devices. The photos are stored in the “My Photo Stream” section on each device.

Photo Stream keeps only users' latest 1,000 pictures on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. However, every picture from Photo Stream can be downloaded and stored on Mac and Windows computers. If the user takes pictures with the image stabilization or burst feature, only the photos the user selects are added to the Photo Stream.

To activate Photo Stream on an iOS 7 device, click Settings, iCloud, then Photos, and click the My Photo Stream icon to activate the service. For Mac computers, navigate to System Preferences, then iCloud, and select the box for Photos. For Windows computers, install and open the iCloud Control Panel, and activate Photos.

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