I'm listing some items for sale online, and have taken a bunch of pictures with my iPhone. About half-way through the process, iPhoto '11 stopped downloading new photos into its local Photo Stream. I've quit iPhoto and re-opened it. I've gone into the Photos app on my iPhone and confirmed all the pictures are there.

Is this normal behavior? Is there any way to tell iPhoto to download my pictures?

  • No marked answer yet?
    – Rob
    Aug 17, 2013 at 10:56
  • I hope there's a 2016 question for the same thing for Photos.app which has (pointlessly) replaced an excellent iPhoto app. Nov 29, 2016 at 22:41

4 Answers 4


I have found a better way. One that doesn't involve resync'ing the entire stream.

  1. Quit iPhoto
  2. Open up Activity Monitor
  3. In the search field enter: photostreamagent
  4. Select all the PhotoStreamAgent processes listed
  5. Click the Quit Process button
  6. In the confirmation dialog that pops up click the Quit button
  7. Confirm that all the PhotoStreamAgent processes are no longer alive by waiting for the Activity Monitor window to show no processes with that name
  8. Re-start iPhoto

When you restart iPhoto it will re-start the PhotoStreamAgent process for your iPhoto session and kick off a new Photo Stream sync. You'll get your lastest pictures updated and you won't have to sit through a full re-sync of all your Photo Stream.

Activity Monitor

Update for Yosemite where the process name has changed to iCloud Photos. This is the what you want to kill:

Activity Monitor

Update for Yosemite 10.10.4 where the process name has changed to Photos Agent. This what you want to kill:

Activity Monitor

You can also do this, quickly, from the command line like so:

sudo pkill cloudphotosd
sudo killall cloudphotosd
  • 1
    nice! That saved me a lot of time.
    – Daniel
    Apr 15, 2012 at 20:56
  • 1
    In OSX Yosemite the process is named iCloud-photo's
    – user107243
    Jan 4, 2015 at 6:41
  • 1
    As of OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 (at least) this is now Photos Agent with the icon matching the new Photos app.
    – Colin M.
    Jul 19, 2015 at 1:26
  • 2
    This is perfect!! I've been looking for a solution like this. By the way, from the command-line you can also issue: sudo pkill cloudphotosd or sudo killall cloudphotosd
    – Andrew
    Oct 1, 2015 at 0:05
  • 1
    on Big Sur it seems to be called cloudphotod but killing it doesn't seem to make iPhotos update my photos
    – ekkis
    Jan 31, 2022 at 21:36

In iPhoto, turn Photo Stream off then on.

Go to Preferences > Photo Stream. Uncheck "Enable Photo Stream". Close the preferences window. Click Photo Stream in the left-hand navigation pane and confirm there are no photos. Turn Photo Stream back on in preferences (check "Enable Photo Stream"). After a few seconds, iPhoto will start to download all the photos again. Depending on the number of photos, and your bandwidth, it may take awhile.

  • 1
    Sadly, I've not been able to find a better way to get iPhoto 9.2.1 to refresh it's Photo Stream photos.
    – Ian C.
    Dec 18, 2011 at 2:17
  • This method worked for me in Photos 1.3 when restarting it and quitting the Photo Stream processes didn't. If other people have similar results, this answer might should be edited to reflect that.
    – intcreator
    Jan 9, 2016 at 23:12
  • on Big Sur there is no Preferences > Photo Stream. I only see "General" and "Cloud" and nothing like looks like what you suggest
    – ekkis
    Jan 31, 2022 at 21:34

Turning off Photo Stream and turning it back on seems to work even with OSX Yosemite 10.0! And yes, since I have a ALOT of streams it took a long while to download and refresh them all.


It depends on whether the photos have made it to iCloud or not. If not see my answer at https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/103856/33389 ... if so the existing answers are adequate.

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