Apple shutting down free ‘My Photo Stream’ feature that originally launched with iCloud

It may be news to many that Apple’s “My Photo Stream” feature was still alive and kicking, but the real news today is that Apple is pulling the plug on the free iCloud feature this summer.

My Photo Stream originally launched alongside iCloud in 2011 as a free method for syncing photos between iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac.. While requiring paid storage, the much more robust iCloud Photo Library feature eventually made My Photo Stream a bit undesirable.

For instance, My Photo Stream required you to actively save media from your “stream” to your Camera Roll or Library. Photos were only available on My Photo Stream for a short period of time, as well, before falling off and no longer being in iCloud.

Most importantly, My Photo Stream did not sync high quality photos in their full resolution. A sync system that downgraded your photo library couldn’t be the ultimate solution.

iCloud Photos has long been the modern fix. Full resolution photos and videos sync between devices with no input required. The only limitation is how much iCloud storage in your subscription plan.

Still, My Photo Stream has remained a feature that exists for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users who do not use iCloud Photos. Turning on iCloud Photos can hide the inferior My Photo Stream feature altogether.

And while Apple has maintained its measly 5GB of free iCloud storage since 2011, it will no longer sync any photos for free starting July 26. That’s when My Photo Stream will go offline. Because My Photo Stream holds photos for 30 days, Apple will stop uploading photos to My Photo Stream on June 26.

Apple points 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 directions for how to save photos from My Photo Stream:

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

  1. Open Photos and tap Albums.
  2. Tap My Photo Stream > Select. 
  3. Tap the photos that you want to save, then tap the Share button  > Save Image.

On your Mac

  1. Open the Photos app, then open the My Photo Stream album. 
  2. Select any photos you want to save that aren’t currently in your photo library.
  3. Drag them from the My Photo Stream album to your Library. 

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