Monday, May 29, 2023

Photo Stream Shutting Down

Juli Clover:

Apple’s “My Photo Stream” service is set to shut down on July 26, 2023, which means customers who are still using that feature will need to transition to using iCloud Photos prior to that date.

You can see why they are consolidating on iCloud Photos, but Photo Stream had some appealing features that will be lost. First, you could backup/sync an unlimited amount of data (for a limited time). There was no need to worry about upgrading your account temporarily or having photo storage crowd out storage for other apps. Second, you could access recent photos and videos on all devices without having to store everything in the cloud.

Stephen Hackett:

Photo Stream is one of the original components of iCloud, and was kept around even after iCloud Photo Library launched in 2014. Here’s how Apple pitched the feature when iCloud was new[…]

Update (2023-06-01): Michael Steeber:

I don’t know if my memory is toast or what, but until the news last week of Photo Stream shutting down, I cannot recall one single time before that it was ever called “My Photo Stream.” I’ve known it as just “Photo Stream” since day one.

I was thinking the same thing.

Update (2023-06-28): See also: Hacker News.

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Yeah, this is a bummer for the reasons you enumerated. I used to use My Photo Stream as a poor-man's quick-and-easy way to sync all my iPhone photos to my Mac (I've never used iCloud Photo Library, and I remain leery of doing so).

Admittedly, upon reflection, quite some time ago I fell out of the habit of launching on Mac to induce the sync… so in reality I suppose I ceased enjoying these effects months or years ago. Nonetheless, for someone who prefers to manage his own data on local devices, this retirement is unfortunate.

This is pretty disappointing. I liked Photo Stream as a quick-and-easy way to grab a recent photo from my phone, although I was initially skeptical. There's no way I'm turning on any iCloud Photo syncing, whatever it's called now, as I've seen too many horror stories of data loss (one is too many, as far as that goes). If Apple had never turned on iCloud Keychain syncing behind my back and trashed years of keychain entries on my Mac, I might feel differently, but here we are: that trust in "syncing" anything is gone forever.

I'm also sad to see Photo Stream go off into the sunset. It really was a nice way to get photo sync across all your devices via WiFi, without worrying about putting everything in iCloud.

For me Photo Stream effectively died years ago because it mysteriously never supported HEIC or live photo data. That was already a dealbreaker. It's a shame Apple let it atrophy and die.

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