Shared Photostream is a mess

Discussion in 'iOS 6' started by curtoise, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. curtoise macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2010
    I'm hoping for a good soul to help me with this, I have family members that I share albums with and they share albums with other family members and all the shared photos no matter if they own them or they are shared "to" them are eating the whole phisycal storage in the devices (iPad, IPhone, iPod touch), my parents have only 8GB iPhones and with all the albums shared by them and to them with multiple friends and family members they run out of storage almost every day and they need to delete apps or photos.

    It does not make sense, a photo"stream" needs to be just that, a streaming of photos from iCloud, on demand as needed, exactly the way that all the photo apps work on the App Store, you open the app and it will load all photos from that service but not actually "download" or store the photo on your device.

    I hope this issue gets resolved soon and we can use this feature without eating storage space.

    PS: Apple TV does not have any hard drive ir storage for photos and all Shared Photostreams will show correctly "streaming photos" instead of downloading them.
  2. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    AppleTV 2&3 have 8GB flash storage.
  3. curtoise thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2010
    And what if all family members and friends share more than 8GB of Photos to you, Apple TV is going to explode? this is not working correctly, people with 8GB phones and iPods sharing with 6-8 family members will be unable to use their devices as all photos from all family members are phisically stored in all devices, it does not make sense, that's why we have iCloud, I'll be glad to pay for extra storage if this works correctly.
  4. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    It keeps a revolving cache, probably based on storage space or time.

    Looked at mine, 512MB in use by photostream, thats such a common well rounded number I'd bet thats what it limits it roughly to.

    512MB of photos isn't that much.

    What to tell family members? Tell them to stop short changing themselves on device specs for what they want to use it for. You wouldn't blame Ford if your fiesta's frame cracked when towing an RV because you cheaped out vs. An F250.
  5. r2shyyou macrumors 68000


    Oct 3, 2010
    Paris, France
    As I understand it (and as is detailed by Apple, at least in part), Photos Streams - shared and not - work as follows:

    Shared Photo Streams
    Photos added to a Photo Stream that is shared with you and that you have "joined" are automatically downloaded to your device "in a device-optimized resolution that speeds downloads and saves storage space," which, therefore, take up space on that device. One could certainly argue, as it appears you are, that this is not the best implementation of this feature. However, what this current implementation does do, in my opinion, is make the experience of viewing photos shared via Photo Stream much faster than, say, having to load each individual photo as you select it.

    Photo Stream (personal)
    Photos in your own Photo Stream also take up space on your device (see attached screenshot) but (and I'm speculating here) only as thumbnails.

    My suggestion, as obvious as it may sound, would be to not share so many photos via Photo Stream or to delete each Shared Photo Stream after, say, a week, in order to give others time to download the photos onto a computer or external hard drive.

    Attached Files:

  6. curtoise thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2010

    it is not working correctly, we know the geeky stuff and we can wait for a fix but iPhone and iPod touch family members, kids, mothers and the average Joe will share what they want (that's billion of photos) , that is why their iOS device have the feature to share photos on shared Photostreams, if you think about it...10 family members located all over the world sharing albums with each other will result on the sum of all albums stored on each of those iDevices (!) but the more intriguing part is that the photos are actually in iCloud, all of them are stored on Apple servers.
    Try making several Shared Photostreams Albums and share with your family, then go to each family member iDevice and reset-delete their devices to factory default fresh iOS6, add their iCloud accounts and turn Shared Photostreams...voila! all photos will "stream" to all devices from Apple servers and unfortunately they will be fully downloaded on those devices.
    All photos are already on iCloud as soon as you first share them, it does not make sense that they need to be in your and all your shared members devices too.
    Look at Picasa (Web Albums app), Adobe Revel or any other photo app, there is very little amount of data on your device, maybe thumbnail caching or meta data info but all photos will stream every time you open the app.

    Hopefully they will fix this soon.


    Apple mantra is not to tell family members anything, it just works...if you need to tell each of your family members and friends of friends of family members that will share photos to "Tell them to stop short changing themselves on device specs for what they want to use it for" then there is a problem right there, regular people will not go to an obscure link on Apple support pages to check how Shared Photostream works or not, they will just use it and stop using it when it does not work anymore or eat the whole available space in their phone.

    I understand it is a new service and we'll probably see a fix soon as the millions of new and old iPhones and iPod touch owners start using the feature.
  7. r2shyyou macrumors 68000


    Oct 3, 2010
    Paris, France
    That's the thing, though: I don't think we'll see a "fix" because it isn't broken. This appears to be how Apple intended for it to work. Apple may decide to change how it works at some point but I'm guessing they'd argue that no "fix" is currently needed.
  8. curtoise thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2010
    Of course there will not be a fix, it will be an improvement probably in the lines of "We are noticing that people share millions of photos on our new Shared Photostream service and it is amazing, magical...Boom! so we will "improve the service will real photo streaming and it will be free ...etc"

    if you go to the iOS page on you will see:

    ""Share as much as you like: Shared Photo Streams don’t count against your iCloud storage, and they work over Wi-Fi and cellular networks.""

    Of course they don't count against your iCloud storage, it does not count against apple iCloud servers either, they are all in your device, all of them eating your iDevice storage.
  9. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    That same argument could be used by someone who wants 500 apps on the app store, plus music, plus some movies for trips and only buys the 8GB model.

    Users have to have SOME basic grasp or technology.
  10. chazcron macrumors member


    Aug 28, 2012
    Yeah, count me in as one who thinks shared photostreams should work as links to the cloud as an option for subscribing, NOT downloaded to devices. Heck, the weblink is so tiny in the invite, I'd bet most people don't even notice it.

    Further, I tried to add 80 images to one subscribed by my family in iPhoto. I saw that only five were added at first, so I added all 80 again, and again and again, each time it seemed as if only 5 were added. iPhoto doesn't just move them into the "shared photostream" folder in iPhoto and then upload to the cloud as you would expect. It uploads them to the cloud five at a time, THEN downloads them back to iPhoto. How stupid is that?

    So then I see that I have added 300 images to my shared photostream, because it DOESN'T recognize duplicates and ask if you want to add replace or cancel, like iPhoto does when importing dupes from an SD card.

    Yes, Photostream is a mess. I had hear complaints from all my subscribers about the huge mess I created. Now I have to suggest they decline the subscription and only click the link, which defeats the whole purpose of the notifications for comments and additional pictures.
  11. curtoise thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2010
    Not true in this case..I agree with you on device storage limitations and what you can add to the phone but with this service is different..imagine your daughter, son, brother and 2 sisters, mother, father , mother and father in law and grandparents plus 10 friends sharing JUST 5 albums with you with 20 photos per album, then you have 2000 photos downloaded (!) to your device.

    This is just a hypothetical situation with a close circle of family and friends but teenagers and bigger families have a higher amount of people sharing photos and they will not do just 20 per album, a normal 7 days trip for a family vacation will produce hundreds of photos.

    I'm not looking for free storage, I'll gladly pay the price to have photos in iCloud to share with everybody but they should stay there (as they actually are) and "stream" to the shared devices as required.
  12. curtoise thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2010
    Photostream a Mess

    Another issue I've discovered is the lack of option to have Shared Photostream to work only on Wi-Fi, we should have a switch to turn on/off like FaceTime have.

    I'm subscribed to 3 photostreams shared by my parents, 4 from the wife and several other (10 or more) from friends, bad news is that I'm in a mobile share plan on AT&T and just discovered that all my monthly allowed data is gone(!).

    Shared photostream was the issue for this, once you've subscribed to a photostream, it can have just 2-3 photos at the beginning but people can keep adding more and more photos and if you are on 4G or LTE all the photos will download to your phone without asking you and they will eat your data plan in a couple of days.

    Once you are subscribed to a photo stream, all new photos will download automatically to your phone without asking for permissions or without the choice to select "only on wi-fi".

    Not good as I'm paying $15 extra for data until the end of the month and I've turned photostreams off until a solution or this simple switch is added.

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