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If you've signed up for a free or paid iCloud account, you have access to a feature called Photo Stream. Now there are actually two features that have Photo Stream in their name. There's your Photo Stream and there's something called a Shared Photo Stream. Let's take a look at both of them here. Now the one that's called Photo Stream is an iCloud feature that automatically syncs the photos that you take on your iOS device so that they appear on your other iOS devices. So for example if you own both an iPhone and an iPod touch and you shoot some photos on your iPhone, those photos will automatically show up on your iPod touch and vice versa.
Photo Stream also works on iPads, the second generation Apple TV and later, and in iPhoto and Aperture for the Mac. If you're on Windows you can set up Photo Stream by downloading the iCloud Control panel available at apple.com/icloud/setup/pc.html. Okay, so to turn on Photo Stream on your iOS device go to Settings>iCloud and Photo Stream. And here I slide the My Photo Stream switch to On. And then do the same thing on any other iOS devices you want your photos to appear in.
Once it's on, any photos you shoot will automatically be added to your Photo Stream whenever your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network. You can see which photos have been uploaded by going to your Photos app and tapping the Photo Stream button that now appears at the bottom of the screen. I don't have any photos in here yet since I haven't shot any since turning on Photo Stream but this is where they'll be on each device. Just so you can see how this works, I have a friend here in the studio with an iPad on which we also have Photo Stream enabled through the same iCloud account. So I'm going to ask him to take a photo now and in a few seconds we should see the photo shot on the iPad appear here on my iPhone since both devices are currently connected to a Wi-Fi network.
And there it is, pretty cool, right. I can tap it and I can view the photo that was just taken on the iPad. By the way just to be clear, your devices don't have to be on the same Wi-Fi network either. As long as your devices are connected to the Internet the photos will be synced. So if I'm in California with my iPhone and my iPad is back home on the East Coast, the photos will still be downloaded to my iPad as long as it's online. And this does only work on Wi-Fi, photos won't sync over your iPhone's cellular connection so you won't eat up your monthly data plan. Also on iOS devices the most recent 1000 photos will appear in your Photo Stream.
If you want to make sure a copy of the photo stays here on your device, tap Edit, select the photos you want to keep and then tap Share and Save to Camera Roll. If you're running Photo Stream on your Mac or PC, you have a lot more storage space there so all photos in the Photo Stream stay on your computer and won't be deleted unless you delete them yourself. Speaking of deleting images, you can delete items from your Photo Stream by tapping Edit, selecting the photo and then tapping Delete. Once you tapped Delete Photo, the photo will then be removed from the Photo Stream on all of your devices. Be aware though that deleting a photo from your Photo Stream only removes it from the Photo Stream.
The original image will still be in your device's Camera Roll. So for example that photo I just deleted is no longer in the Photo Stream on my iPhone or the iPad that took it, but the original photo itself is still on the iPad's Camera Roll. So you can keep your original where it is if you want to maintain a copy on the original device, or you can go into your Camera Roll and permanently delete it from there. Okay, so that's the Photo Stream which is mainly for sharing your photos across multiple devices for your own use. It's really convenient if you like being able to access all of your photos without having to manually transfer them from device to device or to your computer.
Now you can also take advantage of a feature called a Shared Photo Stream. A Shared Photo Stream is like a regular Photo Stream except, as you might have guessed, you can share this photo stream with others. It's a quick and easy way to share an album of photos with someone directly from your iOS device. To turn this on go back into Settings>iCloud>Photo Stream and here turn on Shared Photo Streams. Note that you don't have to have your personal Photo Stream turned on to do this. Once you have it turned on go back to your Photos app and here make sure that Photo Stream is selected.
You can create multiple Photo Streams for whatever occasion or use you like. Maybe you want to create a stream of vacation photos to share with certain friends. Here you can tap the plus (+) button, then either start typing the names of the people you want to share this photo stream with or use the plus (+) button here to browse through your contacts. Next give this Photo Stream a name. You also have the option here to create a public website. Doing so allows you to send people a URL or web address for the Photo Stream so they can access your stream from a web browser.
You might want to do this if certain people you want to share with don't have iOS devices or if you don't have the email address for everyone you want to share with. Then tap Create. Your Shared Photo Stream shows up immediately, but I don't have any photos in this stream yet so I'll go back to my Camera Roll and I'll tap Edit to select some photos, and by the way you can only add photos and not videos to Photo Streams. Then I'll tap Share and select Photo Stream, and here I'll select the Japan Trip Photo Stream I just created.
If I want to I can add a comment about these photos, and I'll tap Post. So the people I sent the invite to will receive an email with a link to subscribe to this Photo Stream from their iOS devices. Now again, if you want to share the stream with someone who doesn't have iCloud or an iOS device, go back to Photo Streams and tap the blue arrow next to your shared stream. Here if you've enabled Public Website, you can see the address for your site down at the bottom of the screen. But fortunately you don't have to copy that address down. Just tap Share Link and you can choose to share the address of the stream via email, messages, Twitter or Facebook.
You can even copy just to copy the address down so you can paste it elsewhere. I'll just Cancel that for now. This is also where you can delete a Photo Stream, by the way. But once someone has subscribed to your Photo Stream, they'll automatically receive any photos you upload to the stream from that point on, which is nice so you don't have to constantly email individual photos to your friends and family. As long as they're subscribed or they have the address of the public website, they can check for new photos whenever they want. They can even add comments to individual photos which will show up on your devices. In case you're wondering, other people can't upload photos to your Photo Stream, which I think would be great especially if everyone was at the same event and you could create a stream where everyone could upload their photos, but that's not a capability of Photo Streams.
Only you can upload photos to a stream that you create. But Photo Streams are still incredibly fun and useful. So remember you have access to this capability with your free iCloud account.
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