Apple cancels the previous iCloud photo service

After nearly twelve years, Apple is shutting down one of its most innovative cloud-based photo services, with all uploaded photos set for deletion by July 26, 2023.

Launched alongside iOS 5 in October 2011, My Photo Stream was introduced as part of Apple’s new iCloud service, providing an easy way to automatically share users’ most recent 1,000 photos across all their devices and keep them stored in the cloud until at 30 days.

Following a recent announcement from Apple, uploads to My Photo Stream will stop on June 26, meaning no photos will remain past July 26, thirty days later.

Also, users who only recently created their Apple ID may already find that My Photo Stream is no longer available. This is all part of Apple’s push to move people away from My Photo Stream and switch to iCloud Photos.

Will I lose my photos?

My Photo Stream automatically deletes uploaded photos after 30 days, but you can ensure that no photos are permanently lost by saving them to your device’s local storage before they eventually disappear from the service. To keep the best quality versions of your photos, download them to a Mac or PC, rather than an iOS device to receive the highest quality images.

My Photo Stream has become somewhat outdated, with the vast majority of features better supported by iCloud Photos. However, there are some instances where users might lose.

People who don’t have adequate available iCloud storage will no longer be able to use My Photo Stream to sync photos between devices. This is because photo uploads to iCloud Photos count against your iCloud storage quota, but uploads to My Photo Stream do not. If you run out of iCloud storage, you won’t be able to upload your photos to share.

Even My Photo Stream users with very old (and, by now, unsupported) devices may not be able to run iCloud Photos. My Photo Stream requires a device that supports at least one of the following operating systems: iOS 5.1, OS X Lion 10.7.5, tvOS 5.0, or Windows 7. Conversely, iCloud Photos requires iOS 8.3, OS X Yosemite 10.10.3, or Windows 10 .

If you’re still using an unsupported device, you’ll need to upgrade or find a new way to sync your photos.


My Photo Stream was designed to help you sync or transfer photos between all your iCloud-enabled devices. It’s not a photo library as such as it only provides temporary storage, keeping only the last 30 days of uploads. It’s also limited to a total of only 1,000 photos at a time.

More importantly, it doesn’t support video, live photos, GIFs, or modern formats like HEIF, and downloads to iOS devices are limited to low-resolution copies of the original photos. Also, any changes you might make to your photos aren’t updated on other devices.

While iCloud Photos requires a paid subscription to use beyond the initial 5GB free allocation, its range of supported features far outclasses My Photo Stream and is a much more powerful service.

You can read a complete list of the differences between the two services in this Apple support document.

Don’t panic

The My Photo Stream loss is likely to affect relatively few people, and more importantly, no photos will be suddenly deleted that wouldn’t have been removed anyway after the usual 30-day retention limit.

However, if you’re still using My Photo Stream, it’s time to move on.

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