Today's blog will cover the Photo Stream part of iCloud. Photo Stream was introduced in October of 2011, along with iCloud, iOS 5 and a new version of iPhoto (for those people running OSX 10.7, at the time). Photo Stream was not the first photo sharing software to hit the market (There’s Flickr, Shutterfly, SnapFish, Photobucket and Picasa to name a few), but it was Apple first foray into online pictures. Apple’s take on photo sharing was initially, as you might expect, closed to non-Apple users. Here’s how it worked. You’d snap photos with your iOS device running iOS 5, and when you got into a Wi-Fi zone, those pictures would magically go into the cloud and become available on your other iCloud capable devices. I’ll never forget the first time I tried it. Same day the iPhone 4S came out (Oct 14, 2011, I think!), I was outside taking pictures of my kids playing football. Now I had already updated my version of iPhoto for my iMac, and turned iCloud and Photo Stream on, so when I came into the house, and my iPhone attached to our WI-Fi network, the fifty or so pictures I took, started flowing to the Photo Stream. I came over to my iMac and opened up iPhoto, clicked on the Photo Stream option, and sure enough, the pictures I had just snapped with my brand new iPhone began appearing on my iMac! I didn’t have to plug my iPhone in, and copy those pictures into my computer, thanks to iCloud and Photo Stream I had a copy of those pictures without having to do anything! Nice. I love technology when it works. So, how does it work?
Let’s start with your device(s). Photo Stream works with iCloud, so in order to make use of it, your devices need to be iCloud capable. Your iOS device(s) needs to be running at least iOS 5.1 (if you are not at iOS 6, seriously consider upgrading). Your Mac needs to be running at least OSX 10.7.5, and you’ll need iPhoto 9.2.2 or Aperture 3.2.3 or later. Photo Stream does work with PC’s, but I will not be covering that here. Let’s not forget Apple TV, a wonderful way to share your photos, you’ll need at least the 2nd generation Apple TV, running software updates 5.0 or later.
The Photo Stream option on your iOS devices is located in the iCloud Setting. To start using it, go into Settings, find and tap the iCloud setting, scroll down a bit and you’ll find the Photo Stream option, simply turn it on and start taking pictures with your device! On your Mac, you’ll open up System Preferences, click the iCloud preference, and similar to your iOS device(s), you’ll turn Photo Stream on. Now there is one additional step you’ll need to take on your Mac, you’ll go into iPhoto, or Aperture, and within either of those apps, you’ll turn Photo Stream on there as well.
Now let’s talk about getting pictures in your Photo Stream, how many you can have there, how long they stay there, do pictures count against my iCloud storage etc. Apple states that you can have up to 1000 pictures in your Photo Stream at any given time. Apple also says you can have those pictures in your Photo Stream for 30 days. The pictures in your Photo Stream DO NOT count against your iCloud storage, very important to remember for those who are backing up their devices to iCloud.
Deleting pictures from your Photo Stream on your iOS device is quite simple, and there are two ways to accomplish it. You can delete a single picture by clicking on the picture, then tapping the garbage can (lower right corner of screen). Or you can delete multiple pictures. To do this, you tap the Edit button (top Right), then tap the pictures you wish to delete, then tap the Delete button (bottom right). On your Mac, deleting a Photo Stream pictures is also very easy. Either within iPhoto or Aperture, click on the Photo Stream option. You can delete single pictures, or multiple pictures from Photo Stream, just as you would if you were in an Events/Photos/Faces or Places (iPhoto).
Now let’s talk about sharing your photos from Photo Stream. This is a new option that became available in the fall of 2012 with the release of iOS 6. Shared Photo Streams can also be created on your Mac, running OSX 10.8.2 or later with Aperture 3.4 or later or iPhoto 9.4 or later (you could and some people do, use both). Shared Photo Stream(s) rock!
To turn on Photo Sharing, tap on the Photo Stream option, and make sure the Photo Sharing toggle is set to on. One great feature of the shared Photo Stream is that is can be shared with non Mac or non iOS devices, thank you Apple! When you share a Photo Stream, it becomes a private website that you share by providing email addresses to those you wish to share it with. Here’s how you do it. On your iOS device, you’ll go into the Photo’s app, and choose Photo Stream, then you choose the pictures you wish to share by clicking the edit button (top right), tapping the photos, then choosing the share option, lower left of your screen. When you click share, you have six options to share your pictures. Via Message, another Photo Stream, Facebook, Print, Copy or Save to Camera roll. We are going to click the Photo Stream option. Next, click New Photo Stream, type the email addresses (or if you have them in your contacts, simply type the persons name and pick their email address). Create a name for your Photo Stream, then you can choose whether or not you wish to make this Photo Stream public, or only viewable by those whose email you provided. If the Photo Stream is NOT created as a public website, those people who were emailed your link, MUST be using that email address as an Apple ID in order to view the Shared Photo Stream, this is very important. If you make the Photo Stream public, it can be viewed by anyone, regardless of whether or not their email is an Apple ID or not. To create a shared Photo Stream in iPhoto, from your library, choose the pictures you wish to share, click the Share option (lower right), choose Photo Stream, enter the names (or email addresses) of those you wish to share the Photo Stream with and the rest as they say, is history! Those people who you’ve shared your Photo Stream with, who’s email address is an Apple ID, can view the pictures on their iOS device(s), as long as they are running iOS 6 or later, or on their Mac, in iPhoto 9.4 or later, or Aperture, 3.4 or later. The shared Photo Streams can also be viewed on an Apple TV, running software 5.1 or later. In case you were wondering, there is a limit to the number of photo’s you can share in a Photo Stream, that number is 1000. Also, shared Photo Streams never expire, until you delete them…
So, you now know how to share your Photo Streams amongst your friend/family and me should you choose. Have fun, and until next time, I hope you and your devices are running smoothly!