I have some questions about Photo Stream:

  1. Are the photos that I take with my iPhone kept in the camera roll and PhotoStream folders? (Sometimes I take a photo and it appears in camera roll but not on Photo Stream, why?)

  2. Are all the photos I take on my iPhone automatically uploaded and saved on my iPhone? How can I be sure?

  3. What happens when I delete a photo from the camera roll or Photo Stream? Do they disappear from my iPhoto library?

2 Answers 2


How Photo Stream Works

If you have Photo Stream enabled on both iPhone and iPhoto, any picture you take on iPhone is automatically uploaded to Photo Stream, and the automatically downloaded to iPhoto. iPhoto must be open for this to occur (but don't worry, the photos stay in Photo Stream for 30 days or until 1000 more pictures are taken, whichever comes first, so you don't have to have iPhoto running constantly).

Uploading Photos to Photo Stream

Photo Stream only uploads from iPhone while connected to WiFi. Occasionally a picture is missed, and as of now (August 2013) videos are never uploaded. There is no way to trigger an upload later if a photo fails to upload to Photo Stream. You can, however manually sync iPhone with iPhoto to sync videos as well as any missed photos.

Syncing iPhone with iPhoto Manually

Plug iPhone into your Mac then in iPhoto, click on your device in the left sidebar. There will be an Import button. It will automatically skip any photos previously imported from Photo Stream. Once imported you can choose whether to remove them from Camera Roll on the phone. If you do this, make sure you are syncing them back to iPhone in iTunes if you want them on the phone in albums.

Deleting Photos

Deleting from Photo Stream

When you delete a photo from Photo Stream, it removes it from Photo Stream entirely. If it was already downloaded into iPhoto it will remain there under the (MonthName Year) Photo Stream album, but not in Photo Stream itself.

Deleting from Camera Roll

When you delete a photo from Camera Roll it removes it from that area but does not delete it from Photo Stream.

  • Thanks for the info. Still, there are things that I do not understand:1) If photostream uploads every picture I take with my phone: how can the last pictures in the camara roll and the photo stream be different? 2) how can I know which picutres the photo stream upload into my iPhoto library and which ones doesn't? 3)am I duplicating the storage by synchronizing the iphone with iphoto and also having photo stream downloading my pictures into iphoto automatically? tks!!!
    – Mila
    Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 3:38
  • 1) Per my answer, sometimes pictures are missed. There is no way to trigger it to upload later. 2) Other than manually comparing them, the only way is to plug your iPhone into the Mac, and use the steps described above for manually syncing iPhone with iPhoto, and it will import any photos that were not uploaded to Photo Stream. 3) No, as noted in the answer, the iPhone import skips any photos already imported from Photo Stream.
    – tubedogg
    Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 1:14
  • What the above is avoiding saying is that basically, Apple's software is really buggy. Yeah - how could it possibly repeatedly fail to upload photos to iCloud from Camera Roll? And yet, from the very first day the feature was introduced right up until the time I'm writing this, it happens all the time. There's no UI to retry, there's no UI to indicate that it failed; it just sucks. The bottom line is that the software engineering quality of this feature is very poor I'm afraid. Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 1:36
  • @AndrewHodgkinson Not having UI to show something (an upload failing, perhaps) is not a bug by any reasonable definition of the word. What you describe is a feature request. I don't necessarily disagree that it would be a good feature to have. Some might even call it essential. But its absence is not a bug unless there is code to cause the UI to appear and it is not for some unintended reason (and there is no evidence this is the case).
    – tubedogg
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 4:40
  • Strongly disagree; any tester I've ever worked with would classify photos simply missing, with no explanation or indication, from photo stream as a bug. It's a serious issue for any user. They just don't see some images. Or, in some cases, they see an image but it's black, because it's broken. Lack of user feedback whether intentional or otherwise can most definitely be categorised as a GUI bug. Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 0:10

the discrepancy may occur due to you taking the photographs whilst using cellular data. Unless you specifically tell your iPhone to upload the photos using cellular data, they won't upload until you have a WiFi connection. if you take a bunch of photographs whilst you have no WiFi, connect your iPhone to WiFi, (this will automatically happen anyway) open photos and go to your photo stream. scroll to the bottom and you will see all your photographs uploading one by one (they will appear at the bottom). I hope this goes some way to explaining! In my own experience, I have never experienced photo stream missing any photos however, it does not work with videos!

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