so i've just upgraded to OS X Yosemite, which comes with the new Photos app. and i am scared! the minute i opened the app, it prompted me to log in to the iCloud and started downloading some old photos, which i have deleted from My Photo Stream looong time ago. for example, i had some pictures from 2012 christmas party which have been in My Photo Stream over TWO YEARS ago, but now they're resting safely on an external HDD. so the question is - how did they end up showing in the Photos app, if I:

a) have definitely deleted them over TWO YEARS ago from My Photo Stream b) backed them up to an iPhoto Library on an external HDD, which I DID NOT CONNECT at any time to my computer

also one more thing worth noting - when i login to the http://icloud.com and go to Photos, I can only see like maybe 5 recently taken pictures - no sign of the old photos, as expected, because, you know, i deleted them TWO YEARS AGO.

the question is: where did those photos come from and why are they showing up in my Photos app? i want to identify the source for those pictures, so I can remove them once and for all.

honestly, this is scary. i am all for cloud-based storage, but only if i have full control over it, whereas it seems Apple is backing up my s*** without my consent.

any advice will be greatly appreciated.

thanks, John

  • Do you have an other device like an iPhone or iPad on which the pictures are stored?
    – Gabkano
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 11:09
  • no. everything has been deleted from my iPhone. like i said - there are only 5 pictures showing in My Photo Stream on both the iPhone and in the web app.
    – goodpixels
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 11:10
  • are you sure the HDD wasn't connected even one time when the photo app was open; it automatically syncs the photos then? Or did you store it otherwise somewhere on the mac? From my experience they don't store any pictures you deleted but I also was surprised where some of my pictures came from, but for everything, there was a logical explication.
    – Gabkano
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 11:14
  • no, the HDD was definitely not plugged in. and i'm pretty sure those pictures are not stored anywhere on my Mac, becuase when i ran a search for them, it didn't bring up any results. even now, i can't find them on my Mac - they seem to exist only in the Photos app.
    – goodpixels
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 11:20
  • Did you still have them in the old iPhoto App or maybe in some kind of folder with deleted fotos, from which you could restore them?
    – Gabkano
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 11:36

1 Answer 1


Note that iCloud.com/#photos is not the same thing as My Photo Stream, and photos that were only in My Photo Stream will not appear in iCloud.com/#photos. (Unless you turn on iCloud Photo Library and sync a Mac Photos library that contains the photos downloaded from My Photo Stream, which would then be uploaded to iCloud Photo Library.) So even though the photos were still in My Photo Stream, it would be expected that they would not appear on iCloud.com.

Deleting from My Photo Stream was, at least for a while, pretty buggy. And, at least when the feature was first made available (remember deleting was not available when My Photo Stream itself launched), "deleting" photos from it meant they were only erased from the device you were using at that moment and not actually removed from the stream.

Also note the following from Apple:

After you delete a photo [from My Photo Stream], you might still see it on your iOS devices if it's more than 30 days old and you have fewer than 1000 photos in My Photo Stream.

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