When saving photos from the Photo Stream to the Camera Roll, is the full resolution picture stored?

I ask this because the the Apple FAQ states that iDevices only get an "optimized" resolution (approx 3MP) whereas PC/Mac gets the original full resolution picture. However, it also states that you can permanently save a picture on the device by copying it to an album. It seems that if the picture that is saved is not full resolution, then saving it permanently on the iPad does not make much sense, as it would be better to save it only on the PC.

1 Answer 1


All photos on Photo Stream are stored in the cloud in full resolution. When they are pushed to an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple TV, they are downsized to make the best use of bandwidth available to those devices. So when you save a photo which was taken by another device from Photo Stream to your iPad's Camera Roll, it doesn't receive the full resolution photo.

However, if you take a photo with an iPad (or iPhone/iPod Touch), you will have a full resolution version of the photo in Camera Roll. You will also have a full resolution photo pushed to Photo Stream and on any Mac or PC which is synced with that Photo Stream account and a downsized version on any other iOS devices synced with that account also.

From Apple Support:

On your Mac or PC, your photos are downloaded and stored in full resolution. On your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV, your Photo Stream photos are delivered in a device-optimized resolution that speeds downloads and saves storage space. While actual dimensions will vary, an optimized version of a photo taken by a standard point-and-shoot camera will have a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution when pushed to your devices.

  • I understand that the special Photo Stream album would have the scaled down photos, however, I was expecting (or maybe hoping) that the "Save to Camera Roll" option within Photo Stream would download the full resolution image for that downscaled image. Apple in fact advertises this feature as a way of "permanently saving" the photos, so it makes more sense for the permanent photo saved to be full resolution.
    – rraheja
    Commented Oct 31, 2011 at 17:01

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