Photo Stream in iCloud Review

Photo Stream in iCloud

As part of Apples huge wave of updates yesterday (iOS 5, 10.7.2 and many app updates and new apps like Find my Friends and Movie Trailers) Apple released the long awaited replacement of Mobile Me. iCloud doesn’t has some of the same features Mobile Me had like a Calendar and Address book but also now adds a few cool new features one being the Photo Stream. With the convenience of the iPhone combined with pretty decent quality and some great editing apps iPhoneography has really taken off over the past year. I have been using my iPhone to replace my Canon P&S for a few years now and love it for spur of the moments shots when I am out and about. Photo Stream now gives you a easy way to share your iPhone photos to all of your other apple devices right away and on the fly.

So what exactly is Photo Stream? It’s basically a cloud storage for your iPhone photos. You can setup a free iCloud account and when you start taking photos with your iPhone on iOS 5.0 the photos will also wirelessly sync with the cloud. Now you have a copy of your photos in the cloud and from here they can be automatically pushed to your other devices. I have an iPad and Apple TV that I use all the time and setup those devices to automatically retrieve my photo stream. It will also push the photos to your computer. Setting up the Photo Stream is pretty quick and easy. First sign up for an iCloud account if you don’t already have one. Then on your iPhone go to the Settings –> iCloud button and turn on Photo Stream. From now on any photo you take with your iPhone will be automatically streamed to the cloud. Then on any other iOS devices just do the same, go to the iCloud section in settings and turn it on.

On your computer you will have to go into the settings tab and add your iCloud account and then check the Photo Storage button. When your photos are streamed to your iPhoto application you will now see a Photo Stream tab on the left so you can browse the images on the cloud, as well as a new event that is sorted by month (Oct 2011 Photo Stream). In order to automatically store the images in your events library so they will be saved as a copy on your computers hard drive you will have to go into the iPhoto preferences (click iPhoto from the top and then Preferences) and click on the Photo Stream icon. From here just click on the automatic import and your photos will be automatically added to your iPhoto library.

iCloud photo stream

There are a few restrictions though to using Photo Stream. The first thing is that the photos that are stored in the cloud are limited to 1000 photos or a months worth of photos. After that they will be deleted from the cloud and replaced with your new images. 1000 does sound like a lot of photos but they do add up quick so many people will hit that limit fairly fast. Your photos are still stored in your camera roll though and also if you setup a sync and download with iPhoto they will be on your computer already so it isn’t a huge deal but still would have been nice for a larger limit. Say you were traveling and taking thousands of photos of a trip but your family who was stuck at home wanted to keep following along from the photo stream on the Apple TV. In these types of cases it would be nice to have a few thousand images that could be stored. But for a free service you really can’t complain. The other restriction with syncing on your computer is you have to have a current version of iPhoto. Only version 9.2 will work with Photo Stream.

Overall I think it’s a pretty cool and convenient way to share your mobile photos. What are your thoughts about iCloud and Photo Stream? Let me know in the comments below…

Also if you want to see some real world examples of the iPhone 4S camera check back tomorrow for some good stuff :)

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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1 Comment

  1. It has now been a few months since the debut of Photo Stream. For the most part I really do like it.

    Being able to view pictures on multiple devices is so convenient.

    But I do wish that we could delete unwanted pictures. My understanding is that it might be a possibility in the near future.

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