There is one positive upsides that came from the recent ‘incident’ of celebrities iCloud account got hacked, that deleting your photos from your Camera Roll doesn’t mean that they have disappeared from the internet. There is still a chance (if you turn on this option) that they are still lingering inside My Photo Stream, an iOS 7 feature that was designed to store your 30 days worth of your latest photos you’ve taken with your iPhone (limited to 1000 latest photos in mobile devices). I’ve written about how to get rid off those photos once and for all here.
But what if you do want to use Photo Stream and want to download and store those photos locally in your PC or Mac. As I mentioned above, only the latest 1000 photos will be stored in the device’s Photo Stream (this is now called Recently Added in iOS 8 by the way). If you add more photos exceeding this limit, older photos will be deleted. But if you download them to your PC or Mac you won’t have this limitation.
This is a very good trick to backup your Photo Stream photos automatically without fear of losing them.
Moreover, I recommend to do this for anybody who are planning to bite the bullet and upgrade to iOS 8. Backup your Photo Stream first before you do the upgrade, it will make your life saner, trust me.
Here are step-by-step guide on how to download your Photo Stream (A.K.A Recently Added) photos, for PC and then for the Mac.
1. First you need to download iCloud control panel software to your PC and install it
2. Run the iCloud software and turn on Photos -> My Photo Stream.
As you can see from the screenshot above, the photos in My Photo Stream (and also in this case any photo that shared via Photo Sharing feature), will be stored in the path set in the iCloud Photos location. You can change this by clicking on the change button so that you can control where the photos are going.
Click Ok and Apply to confirm the settings.
3. Go to the Windows Explorer. You can now see on the sidebar, under the Favorites branch there is a new folder called iCloud Photos. You can see this too if you click on the Computer branch. Alternatively, you can go directly to the path you have set previously in the iCloud options.
If you open any of this folder you will see My Photo Stream and other Shared Album folders.
Your Photos should start to appears now as they are downloaded to your PC.
4. Open My Photo Stream and you should see all the photos.
For Mac users the process is similar.
1. Ensure that you are running the latest OSX, you should then already have iCloud installed.
2. Open iCloud and turn on Photos -> My Photo Stream.
Unlike iCloud options in the PC, the Mac version doesn’t have an option to configure the path where photos are stored. So where are they going? Nowhere really, unless you use application like iPhoto or Aperture.
3. Open iPhoto.
Go to Preferences and open the iCloud tab. You then need to turn on My Photo Stream and Automatic Import.
You should now see the iCloud folder under the Shared section. Click on this and you can find My Photo Stream folder along with other Shared Albums.
Your photos should start to be downloaded automatically. From here you can do what ever you want with your photos as per usual.
Since you’ve turned on iCloud in your device (PC or Mac), every time you take a new photo, it will be automatically downloaded to the PC or Mac.
Perhaps crucially and more importantly is that in a PC or a Mac you are not limited to 1000 photos, you are only limited to the hard-drive space you have in that machine, and that is sweet 🙂
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