Apple’s free My Photo Stream service technically provides one way to download the latest photos, but the service has been deprecated and Apple is finally ready to fully transition to iCloud Photos for all users.
Apple confirmed on Friday that the My Photo Stream service will be shutting down on July 26, 2023. The company also announced that uploads using My Photo Stream will end one month prior on June 26, 2023.
My Photo Stream was launched alongside iCloud in 2011 and has been showing its age for quite some time now. Saving photos is cumbersome, forcing users to select photos from their stream and manually save them to their library or camera roll.
The worst part of the service is the inability to save photos in full resolution. This deterioration in quality is one of the reasons Apple abandoned the service and switched to iCloud Photos in 2015.
iCloud Photos is the best option, not only because of its simplicity, but also because it saves high-quality, full-resolution photos and videos. The only potential downside to this feature is the availability of iCloud storage.
My Photo Stream automatically uploads photos and videos from the last 30 days (up to 1,000) to iCloud. However, this is a feature that must be enabled.
In an Apple support document released on May 26, the company says there should be no loss of photos in such a transition. Users just need to make sure they have a device with original photos.
“The photos in My Photo Stream are already stored on at least one of your devices, so as long as you have a device with your originals, you won’t lose any photos during this process. If the photo you want isn’t already in your library on that specific iPhone, iPad, or Mac, make sure you save it to your library on that device.”
Apple notes that any photos uploaded before June 26 will remain available in iCloud for 30 days from the upload date and will be accessible from any device that currently has My Photo Stream enabled. However, after the service is closed, these photos will no longer be available in iCloud through My Photo Stream.
Apple recommends switching to iCloud Photos from now on to make sure your photos and videos are saved correctly in the future.
Apple describes how to save photos currently in a user’s 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 Share > 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.
iCloud Photos already makes it easy to store your photos and videos in the cloud. It’s also easy to share this content with others, especially with the iCloud Photo Sharing Library that was launched with iOS 16.1.