It may be news to many that Apple’s My Photo Stream feature is still alive and kicking, but the real news today is that Apple will be turning off the free iCloud feature this summer.
My Photo Stream was originally launched alongside iCloud in 2011 as a free method for syncing photos between iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac. While paid storage is required, the much more robust iCloud Photo Library feature ended up making My Photo Stream a bit of a junk.
For example, My Photo Stream required you to actively save media from your “stream” to your “Camera Roll” or “Library”. The photos were only available in My Photo Stream for a short period of time before disappearing from iCloud.
Most importantly, My Photo Stream did not sync quality photos at their full resolution. A sync system that has downgraded the quality of your photo library may not be the ultimate solution.
iCloud Photos has long been a modern solution – photos and videos in full resolution are synchronized between devices without the need for data entry. The only limit is the amount of iCloud storage in your subscription plan.
However, My Photo Stream has remained a feature that exists for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users who don’t use iCloud Photos. Enabling iCloud Photos can completely hide the secondary My Photo Stream feature.
And while Apple has maintained its measly 5GB of free iCloud storage since 2011, it will no longer sync photos for free from July 26th. That’s when My Photo Stream will turn off. Because My Photo Stream stores photos for 30 days, Apple will stop uploading photos to My Photo Stream on June 26th.
Apple is pointing people to iCloud Photos, and good luck using it with any number of photos and videos without paying for iCloud storage. In the meantime, Apple also includes instructions for saving photos from My Photo Stream:
On your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch
Open Photos and click Albums. Tap My Photo Stream > Select. Tap the photos you want to keep, then tap the Share button. > Save image.
On your Mac
Open the Photos app, then open the My Photo Stream album. Select any photos you want to keep that are not in your photo library. Drag them from the My Photo Stream album to your library.