Apple Has Had Unlimited Photo Storage Option All This Time

Zelmung

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 24, 2014
72
132
Vancouver
In light of the recently announced Google Photos app, I just wanted to let everyone know that Apple has long had unlimited photo storage option on iCloud in the form of Shared Streams (not photo stream or photo library, but shared streams). You can enable it under Settings > iCloud > Photos > iCloud Photo Sharing.

IMG_0109.jpg


Once it's enabled, you can put up to 500,000 photos/videos, regardless of quality and size into the streams and have it permanently uploaded onto the cloud without taking up any iCloud storage. When you open your photos app, the tab in the middle (Shared) lets you create new shared streams, which are independent of iCloud Photo Library Beta. These streams can be created to share or just for yourself to use, and the content does not eat up any iCloud space.

Why Apple has allow this, I don't know, but it works and it's completely free. For most users, 500000 photos is impossible to fill up, so it's basically as good as unlimited. Plus, none of the data is shared with Apple, and you get to choose which photos you share with your family and friends through invitations.
 

Sym0

macrumors 6502
Jun 6, 2013
394
44
Then how do you explain this?

https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT204264

How many photos and videos can I store in my iCloud Photo Library?
The number of photos and videos you can store depends on your available iCloud storage. When you sign up for iCloud, you automatically get 5 GB of free storage, and several iCloud storage plans are available from 20 GB for $0.99 up to 1 TB.
 

The.316

macrumors 65816
Jul 14, 2010
1,326
131
25100 GR
Whether its free or paid, I think Apple needs to improve on their data pricing. There are much better options out their for the price, and I would like to see an improvement in that area at WWDC.
 
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Zelmung

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 24, 2014
72
132
Vancouver
Then how do you explain this?

https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT204264

How many photos and videos can I store in my iCloud Photo Library?
The number of photos and videos you can store depends on your available iCloud storage. When you sign up for iCloud, you automatically get 5 GB of free storage, and several iCloud storage plans are available from 20 GB for $0.99 up to 1 TB.

This storage only applies to photos you have under icloud photo library, not under shared streams. Everything under shared streams is not counted towards your icloud storage. I have 20000 photos under shared streams and have not paid a cent for icloud space.

If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself and create a new shared stream under the ‘shared’ tab. Add some photos to it, and watch your icloud space stay unchanged.
 

Zelmung

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 24, 2014
72
132
Vancouver
Then how do you explain this?

https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT204264

How many photos and videos can I store in my iCloud Photo Library?
The number of photos and videos you can store depends on your available iCloud storage. When you sign up for iCloud, you automatically get 5 GB of free storage, and several iCloud storage plans are available from 20 GB for $0.99 up to 1 TB.

The official Apple Icloud support outlines this in the article:

https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT204264
 

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Sym0

macrumors 6502
Jun 6, 2013
394
44
If you read the next two paragraphs you'll also see its limited in size to 2048 pixels and 720p video and only allows 5000 images per share. You might get around this but its all a bit pointless.

I used to use Google Photos, and to my surprise all my old images are still there, there is only a three year gap from when I transitioned to iPhoto on my first mac.

Personally I wouldn't use any of them, I have my library stored locally on my PC and backed up to a time capsule and part of my crash plan online back up.

This way there is only one source that is curated and used, and it's backed up two ways including one off site with no restrictions or alterations to the image.

Win Win.
 

Joewilliamsca

macrumors member
Mar 31, 2011
32
2
Pretty cool, but I don't want to try it. Might be one of those things Apple will fix in an update if this was not an intended feature.
 

garylapointe

macrumors 68000
Feb 19, 2006
1,552
863
Dearborn (Detroit), MI, USA
In light of the recently announced Google Photos app, I just wanted to let everyone know that Apple has long had unlimited photo storage option on iCloud in the form of Shared Streams (not photo stream or photo library, but shared streams). You can enable it under Settings > iCloud > Photos > iCloud Photo Sharing.

View attachment 558576


Once it's enabled, you can put up to 500,000 photos/videos, regardless of quality and size into the streams and have it permanently uploaded onto the cloud without taking up any iCloud storage. When you open your photos app, the tab in the middle (Shared) lets you create new shared streams, which are independent of iCloud Photo Library Beta. These streams can be created to share or just for yourself to use, and the content does not eat up any iCloud space.

Why Apple has allow this, I don't know, but it works and it's completely free. For most users, 500000 photos is impossible to fill up, so it's basically as good as unlimited. Plus, none of the data is shared with Apple, and you get to choose which photos you share with your family and friends through invitations.
But you have to have all those photos on all the devices that you sync with iCloud.

If your photos were 1MB each you'd need 500GB on a device to store them all.
I just looked at a few dozen photos from my iPhone 5s and I'd say they average 40%-50% MORE than that.

Gary
 

Michael CM1

macrumors 603
Feb 4, 2008
5,677
273
But you have to have all those photos on all the devices that you sync with iCloud.

If your photos were 1MB each you'd need 500GB on a device to store them all.
I just looked at a few dozen photos from my iPhone 5s and I'd say they average 40%-50% MORE than that.

Gary
The photos I take on my iPhone 6 are about 4MB. People clamoring for a 12MP camera are going to get 6MB files. It's nice and all, but I'm already too far to where I could store on iCloud without shelling out about $100 each year. What they need to do is bump the capacities a bit and, more importantly, introduce family storage options. If five or six of us could store our entire photo libraries online for $240, that might be worth it. I think we lost the pictures taken around Christmas the last one my grandma was alive, and that's one thing my mom has really hated about going all digital. I wasn't quite so Mac-centric yet then and all this iCloud and Time Machine stuff hadn't come around, but the need for thoughtless backups is huge. It's just a wee on the expensive side for most of us.
 

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