What is Photo Stream and How to Enable It

Last Updated on June 11, 2023 by Peter Wood

So what is a photostream? Is there anything different to distinguish between my photostream and iCloud Photo Library? And how to use it smartly to deal with iOS images? So many questions are among most forums and many other online question sites. Today I will explain iCloud in detail, which contained my photostream.

Nowadays, people like to record everything in life by photos, to take pictures of pets, babies, or plants daily. If somebody travels abroad or somewhere with good sceneries, they must take many pictures with iPhone, since Apple is the World’s largest smartphone provider. Because of the ability to store many pictures, iCloud has been most people’s choice to share and save all kinds of photos. There are two main aspects you can get on an iOS device, the first one is iCloud Photo Library, and the latter is My Photo Stream. Let’s see the accurate destinations below.

What is Photo Stream

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Part 1. iCloud Photo Library VS My Photo Stream

There is a total of 5GB of free iCloud storage for you to use. It does not mean you can get only 5GB to save photos into iCloud. Once you pay for iCloud storage space improving service, it will enlarge. And iCloud Photo Library will take place in the limited iCloud storage space and keep all your stored videos and photos updated. The videos and pictures stored in the iCloud Photo Library will not get any quality damage. Moreover, most file formats are supported here. In addition, iCloud Photo Library has high compatibility with iOS 8.1 or later, plus OS X10.10.3 or later.

If you want to know what photostream is, you can regard it as the spin-off of iCloud Photo Library. iCloud Photo Library is the upgrade version of My Photo Stream. Both iCloud Photo Library and iPhone Photo Stream can upload your photos automatically. But there are many differences between these two features.


Firstly, you can access iCloud Photo Library on various platforms, including Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Windows PC, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and iCloud.com. But Photo Stream is not available on Apple Watch and its website.

File types

The iCloud Photo Library can sync photos at JPEG, TIFF, PNG, RAW, and GIF and backup MP4 videos. iPhone Photo Stream focuses on JPEG, TIFF, and PNG photos.


The iCloud Photo Library uses your iCloud storage. And Apple offers 5GB of free storage to each iCloud account while Photo Stream, which only uploads the last 30 days and up to 1000 photos, does not seize your iCloud storage. Moreover, the former feature will store the original images, but the latter will only deliver full-resolution pictures on Mac and PC.

You can keep the latest 30 days pictures and not up to 1000. The advantage of using photostream is that it will not cost your iPhone storage space because of the cloud storage. It is hard to tell whether my photostream is helpful to everyone. But there are still certain cases to benefit from it. If you have over 1000 or greater images in my photostream, it will automatically remove your previous photos. It depends on how many pictures you have exceeded.

iCloud Photo Library

Part 2. How to Use My Photo Stream

After knowing what photostream is, it is time to equip the operations. Now let us see the whole process to enable, access, and delete photos in my photostream.

Enable My Photo Stream

If you have no plan to store pictures in iCloud Photo Library but still wanna view recent images on iPhone, iPad, and iPod devices, the following steps are something you have to learn.

Step 1: Go to the Settings application on your iOS device.

Step 2: Turn to the Photos & Camera option.

Step 3: Turn on Upload to My Photo Stream selection.

Once you turn off my photostream, you will disable all previous iCloud images on your iOS device.

Turn Off Photo Stream iCloud

Access My Photo Stream

How to view Photo Streams on iPhone

Step 1. If you have turned on Photo Stream on your iPhone, you can look at the photos on another iPhone or iPad after connecting to Wi-Fi. These two devices should log in with the same Apple ID.

Step 2. Open the Photos app and tap on the Albums.

Step 3. Then you can see an album called My Photo Stream. Open it; you can browse all the photos taken within 30 days on another iPhone.

You can select any photos in this album and delete or share them.

view Photo Streams on iPhone

How to view Photo Streams on Mac

Step 1. Go to System Preferences on your Mac computer, open iCloud, check the Photo Stream box and click on the Options.

Step 2. On the options dialog, check the My Photo Stream option and click on the OK button to enable this feature on Mac.

Step 3. Run iPhoto or Aperture and navigate to Preferences-> Photo Streams-> My Photo Streams. Once turn the Automatic Import option on, you can view the photo stream in iPhoto or Aperture.

view Photo Streams on Mac

How to view Photo Stream on Apple TV

Step 1. After you enable iPhone Photo Stream, open your Apple TV.

Step 2. Turn on Wi-Fi in Settings-> Network on Apple TV.

Step 3. Then go to iCloud in Settings-> Account and check the My Photo Stream option to turn it on. If you have already turned on this feature on Apple TV, you should turn it off and turn it on again.

view Photo Stream on Apple TV

Delete Photos in My Photo Stream

So how to delete the specific image you do not keep but has existed in my photostream already? Do you need to delete the image on all iOS devices or log in to my photostream to delete it for one time? If you have enabled the iCloud photo library on any Apple device, your shoots will upload to iCloud in auto mode. And you have to go to the All Photos section to delete it.

Step 1: Launch the Photos application as usual.

Step 2: Choose Albums and click My Photo Streams.

Step 3: Select the picture you want to remove.

Step 4: Click the Trash icon on the lower right corner.

Step 5: Hit the X option to erase the picture you want to remove from My Photos Streams.

All other Apple devices will not receive the deleted image after the above operation.

Delete Photo Stream from iPhone

Part 3. Troubleshoot of Photo Stream

My Photo Stream feature is useful. But some users complained that the album disappeared or did not work after an update. According to Apple, the My Photo Stream folder will disappear once you enable iCloud Photo Library on the latest iOS. So, if you want to evoke a Photo Stream album, you will need to go to Setting-> iCloud-> Photos and turn iCloud Photo Library off.

When it comes to My Photo Stream not working, you should check:

1. Whether you have turned on the My Photo Stream feature.

2. Whether the battery power is enough. If the battery power is less than 20%, this feature will be disabled automatically.

3. Whether your iPhone or iPad connects to Wi-Fi.

4. Whether you log in with the same Apple ID.

If My Photo Stream is still not working, you can go to the Apple website and ask for help.

Part 4. Best Alternative of Photo Stream

WidsMob Viewer Pro is the best Photo Stream alternative that enables you to browse the media files from Camcorder, iPhone, or other devices. It is the all-in-one media viewer to browse the photos and videos, including JPEG, PNG, RAW, HEIC, MP4, MOV, GIF, and more other video and image formats.

1. Browse and view JPEG, HEIC, RAW files, and the video formats.

2. View, group, convert, edit and manage the media files with an easy process.

3. Provide different viewing modes browse the files in different scenarios.

4. Create slideshows with your favorite photos and media files with ease.

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Step 1: Install the program

Download and install the latest version of WidsMob Viewer Pro. Launch the program on your computer. If you have already set it as the default media viewer, you can double-click any media file to launch the program. It can view all the media files within the same folder.

Launch Media Viewer

Step 2: View the images

Whether it is a HEIC file, RAW format, JPEG, PNG, or other photo files, you can view the file directly within the program. Moreover, you can also convert the photo, add to favorite or apply filters with ease.

View Photos Viewer Pro

Step 3: Play the video files

When you browse the video file, you can also click the Play button to playback the video files. Of course, you can drag the timeline to the desired point to adjust the volume of the video.

Play Videos Viewer Pro

Step 4: Browse media files

Moreover, you can also view media files within a different folder or even add a new folder for the media file, even for the connected device, such as the iPhone, SD card of the camcorder, and others.

View Media by Folder Viewer Pro Win Download Mac Download


With the above paragraphs have mentioned, do you have a clear impression of what is photostream at present? If the answer is clear, I will organize some final descriptions here. My Photo Stream is the feature provided by iCloud, with which you can store recent images in 30 days. Make sure your photo collections are not up to 1000. Moreover, that will not influence your iPhone storage. So you will not face the embarrassing situation of running out of space. All in all, it is worth enabling my photostream to duplicate images without costing anything. It is safe and free to try my photostream, to collect unimportant pictures within a month.