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I want to transfer pics from my iPhone to my Mac. I've had Photo Stream on for over a year, and I had it turned on my Mac as well. I don't use iPhoto. I have a Smart Folder setup so that I can access my pics that way. When I delete a picture from my Photo Stream on my iPhone, is it supposed to delete from the Smart Folder? I experimented with it this morning and the image remains in that Mac folder. This makes me think that the images, once synced to the Mac, are permanently there until I manually delete from the Mac (even if it's no longer in my iPhone Photo Stream album).

Additionally, there are over 1000+ images, plus images older than 30 days in this current Mac folder. I've tried reading up on Photo Stream, but everything I've read makes me think that the images should be deleted from the Smart folder.

Does this mean that I can safely delete images from my iPhone since I have a permanent copy of these images on my Mac - or should I copy the images from the Smart Folder to a regular folder? I don't want to make unnecessary duplicates of the images, but I don't want to lose them either!

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Once Photostream images are exported to the Mac, they can safely be removed from your iPhone camera roll or from the Photostream itself. The images on the computer are local copies and are no longer directly tied to the Photostream. The photos will remain on your computer until you delete them.

Since your Mac and PC have more storage than your iOS devices, you can choose to have all of your My Photo Stream photos automatically downloaded. In iPhoto or Aperture preferences on your Mac, be sure to select Photo Stream > My Photo Stream > Automatic Import. All of your photo stream photos will be imported into your Events, Projects, Photos, Faces, and Places folders in iPhoto or Aperture. On your PC with Photo Stream enabled in the Control Panel, all of your photos will be imported into C:\Users\\Pictures\Photo Stream\My Photo Stream.

ᔥ Apple Knowledgebase: iCloud: Photo Stream FAQ

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Thanks so much, I needed that clarification! –  Kara Jul 23 '13 at 14:30
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