Apple’s My Photo Stream Service to Shut Down This July: What to Do

July 5, 2024
Justin Lumiere

Apple is shutting down its My Photo Stream service on July 26, 2023, marking the end of an era for a service that allowed users to upload recent photos for viewing and importing on other Apple devices. This free service, launched in 2011, enabled users to temporarily store up to 1,000 images in iCloud, making them accessible across devices for 30 days without using iCloud storage space. However, with its impending shutdown, users need to take certain steps to ensure their photos are not lost.

Transitioning from My Photo Stream to iCloud Photos

Users who are already utilizing iCloud Photos do not need to take any action, as their photos are already backed up and stored in iCloud. However, for those who have not enabled iCloud Photos, it is crucial to save images from My Photo Stream to their device's photo library before the service terminates. This can be done on iPhones and iPads by opening the Photos app, selecting the My Photo Stream album, choosing the photos to keep, and saving them to the device. On Mac, users can select the desired photos and drag them into their library.

Alternative Methods for Syncing Photos

Once My Photo Stream is disabled, there are several alternative methods for syncing photos between iPhone and Mac:

  • iCloud Photos: Enabling this service will automatically sync the Mac's library with the iPhone's library. However, users may need additional iCloud Drive space, which requires a paid subscription beyond the free 5GB storage limit. To enable iCloud Photos, users can navigate to the Settings app on iOS devices or System Preferences on a Mac.
  • USB Cable Connection: Users can connect their iPhone to their Mac with a USB cable and use the Photos app or Image Capture to transfer photos manually. This method provides a straightforward way to import photos directly to the Mac.
  • Image Capture: This macOS app allows for easy importing of photos from the iPhone without using the Photos app. Users can select specific images and transfer them to a desired folder on their Mac.
  • AirDrop: For transferring a few photos at a time, AirDrop offers a convenient wireless alternative. It enables users to quickly send photos from their iPhone to their Mac without any cables.
person taking picture on mountain covered with snow

Using Third-Party Alternatives

While iCloud Photos is a seamless option for Apple users, there are third-party alternatives available for photo storage and syncing. Applications like Google Photos, Dropbox, and Amazon Photos offer additional storage options and can be particularly useful for families with a mix of Android and iPhone devices. Google Photos, for instance, provides 15GB of free storage, compared to Apple's 5GB, making it an attractive alternative for backing up photos and videos.

Backup and Storage Solutions

Ensuring that photos are backed up properly is crucial. In addition to using cloud-based solutions, users can also back up their photos through other methods. Time Machine and Backblaze are excellent options for backing up an entire device's data, ensuring that photos and other important files are safe.

The shutdown of My Photo Stream may require some adjustments, but a variety of alternative methods and solutions are available to ensure that users can continue to sync and back up their photos effectively. By enabling iCloud Photos, using USB connections, or opting for third-party services, users can seamlessly transition and maintain access to their treasured memories.

MethodDescription
iCloud PhotosAutomatically syncs the Mac's library with the iPhone's library. May require a paid subscription for additional iCloud Drive space beyond 5GB. Enable in Settings on iOS or System Preferences on Mac.
USB Cable ConnectionConnect iPhone to Mac with a USB cable and use the Photos app or Image Capture to manually transfer photos. A straightforward import method.
Image CaptureUse this macOS app to easily import photos from iPhone to a desired folder on Mac, without using the Photos app.
AirDropConveniently transfer a few photos at a time wirelessly from iPhone to Mac, without any cables.
Google PhotosProvides 15GB of free storage, a larger alternative to Apple's 5GB. Suitable for families with mixed Android and iPhone devices.
Dropbox / Amazon PhotosOffers additional storage and syncing options. Great for users looking for third-party backup solutions.
Time Machine / BackblazeExcellent for backing up entire device data, ensuring photos and other important files are safe.

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