June 7, 2011

∴ iCloud Feature: Photo Stream

iCloud incorporates a feature that has until now required third-party apps to accomplish: easily getting your photos off your phone and onto your other devices. Apple calls this feature Photo Stream.

Shoot a photo on your iPhone and it's instantly pushed to your iCloud library. From there it's automatically pushed to your other devices. Since iCloud demotes your desktop and laptop machines from the center of your data world, they become devices like your iPhone and iPad. They get a copy of your photo, too, in an iPhoto album for Macs and the My Photos folder for Windows PCs.

Now you can use whatever device you wish to edit, copy, post, save and incorporate your photos. Tweet or post to Facebook from your phone, post to your blog from your desktop, show your friends on your iPad. Your photos are everywhere, all the time.

iOS will keep a rolling last-1000 photos on your mobile devices, while OS X will preserve all of your photos on your Mac desktop and laptop machines. You can copy your photos from the Photo Stream album to another on your mobile device if you'd like to keep them on the device longer. iCloud will keep all of your photos, too, but only for 30 days, long enough for them to be pushed out to all of your devices.

Photos moved in Photo Stream don't count toward your 5-gigabyte iCloud limit, but they do if you move them to separate directories within iCloud.