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Old Oct 28, 2012, 02:32 AM   #1
richard13
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Photo Stream Confusion

I have an iPhone, iMac and a MacBook Pro. For some reason each of them have a different "version" of "My Photo Stream". The iPhone has the most with 383 photos, my iMac has 295, and my MacBook Pro has only 184.

Here's what I understand about Photo Stream:
  • Photos are kept for 30 days in iCloud
  • Up to 1000 photos can be kept on your device in your Photo Stream

So given that, I'm not surprised that my MacBook Pro has the least because I just set up Photo Stream on it. In theory, photos older than 30 days won't show up. Right? Wrong! There are photos from July, August, October but not September on there.

As best as I can tell the older photos were all taken with my Canon camera, not my iPhone. But what difference should that make? This is breaking the 30 day rule. Is this a bug in Photo Stream? If not, can someone explain the logic here?

Thanks!
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 06:32 AM   #2
rawan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard13 View Post
In theory, photos older than 30 days won't show up. Right? Wrong! There are photos from July, August, October but not September on there.
Well, I'm just guessing here, but it could be that Photo Stream stores photos for 30 days, not the "last 30 days of photos". If that's true, it would explain why photos that were taken longer than 30 days ago still appear in your Photo Stream.

EDIT:

Photo Stream FAQ (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4486) says this:

Quote:
The photos you upload to Photo Stream are stored in iCloud for 30 days to give your devices plenty of time to connect and download them.
While it doesn't give an explicit answer, that sentence could support my theory I guess.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 07:19 AM   #3
richard13
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Thank you for your reply, rawan.

If I follow you, you're essentially saying that iCloud stores photos for 30 days from time of upload rather than 30 days from the time they were taken. In the case of my iPhone this would be the same since my iPhone would upload them as they are taken. However, it is possible that with non-iOS devices, such as my Canon camera, that these dates could be very different depending on when the photos are actually uploaded.

However, I don't believe that's the case with me. I uploaded the photos from my Canon (via SD card on my iMac) at roughly the same time they were taken. So, this would mean that these photos were being kept in iCloud longer than 30 days. What I don't understand is why these photos are being treated differently.

To test my theory, and since I don't think there's a way to see what's in iCloud directly, I'm going to try to "reset" my MacBook Pro so it will re-download what is in iCloud now. I have more photos taken with my Canon which were uploaded in October and see if they are now gone (or still there). If they are gone, then this was just a fluke. If they are still there, this is a bug.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:53 PM   #4
rawan
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I checked my Photo Stream and I definitely have photos older than 30 days. Actually, I have photos that go back around 3 months. So it would seem Photo Stream is keeping photos longer than 30 days. But what I did notice is that all my devices (iPhone, iPad, and MacBook) have exactly 1,000 photos in Photo Stream.

If I were to guess--someone correct me if I'm wrong--I would say Apple is keeping a rolling collection of the last 1,000 images, regardless of age.

EDIT:

Upon looking at the Photo Stream FAQ again, I noticed that there might be a distinction between photos in iCloud and what's on the devices' Photo Stream.

Quote:
How long are photos stored in iCloud?

The photos you upload to Photo Stream are stored in iCloud for 30 days to give your devices plenty of time to connect and download them.

How many Photo Stream photos are stored on my devices and computers?

iCloud pushes all your Photo Stream photos to your devices and computers, and manages them efficiently, so you don’t run out of storage space.

Your iOS devices keep a rolling collection of your last 1000 photos in the Photo Stream album. From there, you can browse your recent photos or move the ones you like into another album to keep them on your device forever.
So photos are stored in iCloud for 30 days, but 1,000 photos are stored on your devices.

Again, if I'm to guess (and I apologize if my help is more guesswork than solid help), I would say iCloud is storing your photos for 30 days, to give your devices a chance to connect to WiFi and download the photos. If a photo was downloaded before the 30 days are over, it will stay in your Photo Stream until you reach the 1,000 photo limit, after which the oldest photos will be deleted to give room for newer ones. If, however, 30 days pass before your device connects to WiFi and downloads a photo, then the photo is deleted and your device's Photo Stream won't have it.

Makes sense to you?
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Last edited by rawan; Nov 13, 2012 at 09:01 PM.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 02:49 AM   #5
richard13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rawan View Post
If I were to guess--someone correct me if I'm wrong--I would say Apple is keeping a rolling collection of the last 1,000 images, regardless of age.
Yep. I mentioned this in my OP and was one of the confusing things for me until I read that FAQ.

In fact, on Macs at least, things get even more interesting.
iPhoto creates digest versions of your Photo Stream by creating an event for each month. I think Apple started doing this to ensure people didn't lose any photos beyond the 1,000 cap.

But that still doesn't explain why there were photos in my iCloud Photo Stream (as opposed to my devices) that were much older than 30 days. And the ones that were, were taken from my Canon camera. Photos that were older than 30 days from my iPhone weren't there as expected.
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