Photo Stream and photo backup

Discussion in 'Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, Apple Services' started by ATC, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. ATC macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    Canada
    #1
    The more I research iCloud Photo Stream the more confused I get. This is a really silly question but here it goes... :eek:

    I have a lot of pictures taken on my iPhone (almost 400 pics + about 30 videos) all saved under my Camera Roll. I looked at my iCloud iPhone backup and my camera roll alone is using up 80% of my 5GB limit.

    Most of the those photos I've taken are also on my Photo Stream so I was thinking, to free up some iCloud storage (since my understanding is that Photo Stream doesn't count towards iCloud storage) I would delete the photos from Camera Roll and leave those in Photo Stream.

    Is that a safe way to free up some of my iCloud storage?

    A related question; on my iPhoto app on my Mac it shows my Photo Stream pics from my iPhone there. Are those backed up into my iPhoto library, or do I need to manually add them to my Library?
     
  2. silvershamrock, Aug 26, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013

    silvershamrock macrumors member

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    Edmonton, AB
    #2
    Not a silly question at all :)

    The way I keep it straight is:
    Camera roll is the equivalent of the SD card in my digital camera. These photos are stored locally on the phone.

    Photo Stream is the equivalent of a short-term drop box. It stores photos temporarily so that you can copy them to other devices, and it links to all your other devices in order to make those photos available for downloading. But it doesn't actually save the photos to the device in question.

    Just because a photo is in Photo Stream does NOT mean it is saved locally on any device. It means the photo is available and can be imported. But the "saved copies" are the ones that are saved OUTSIDE of Photo Stream.

    So if you want the photo on your Mac, you'd need to import it to your iPhoto library. The iPhoto library is the OSX equivalent of iOS's Camera Roll (in the sense that both contain your locally stored photos). I believe the default setting in iPhoto does automatically import photos as soon as you connect your phone to your computer; but, if in doubt, you can check your iPhoto library to make sure the photos are actually there.

    You are correct that your Photo Stream doesn't count against your free iCloud storage, but Photo Stream will not store the photos indefinitely. It keeps them long enough to give you plenty of opportunity to save it to a HDD, SSD, external drive, or permanent cloud service like DropBox.

    What I do, in order to save space on my iPhone, is delete the photos from my phone's Camera Roll as soon as I've imported them to iPhoto. Taking these photos off your camera roll will substantially reduce the size of your iPhone backup (which should save some iCloud space).

    Anything that cuts the amount of data stored on your phone will help with the iCloud storage issue. But if your phone backups are taking up too much iCloud space, another possibility is backing your phone up to your Mac instead of backing it up to iCloud.

    Hope this helps :D
     
  3. ATC thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 25, 2008
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    Canada
    #3
    Thank you, that clears a lot of things up. I was under the misassumption that Photo Stream was permanent. If I understand it correctly, over time some pictures will start disappearing from my Photo Stream (as they are backed up).

    I love the convenience of automatic nightly iCloud backups so I'll keep doing that and also do manual backups to iTunes periodically. The difference between the two is I don't think iTunes backups include photos (whereas iCloud backup does) so I'll have to make sure those are backed up on my mac in iPhoto before deleting them from my phone.
     
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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  5. ATC thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #5
    I hadn't seen that one, but I did see another Apple page explaining Photo Stream but it never mentioned the 30 day limit. Thanks for the link.

    Strangely, I've had pics in my Photo Stream on my iPhone for much longer than 30 days.
     
  6. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #6
    Not so strange if you read the next sentence in that article. ;)

    Personally, I'm not using photo stream. I manage my photos the old school way with the Image Capture program. :)
     

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