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die_fledermaus in macintosh


OK, I am totally confused by iCloud/Photo Stream, etc.

My iPhone (5c, version 8.0.2) is constantly telling me I'm almost out of storage. Fair enough, I got the smallest one there was, and am kicking myself for it. Anyway, I am trying to figure out if my photos are actually uploading to iCloud so I can delete them from my phone, and I can't figure it out.

If I go to icloud.com and sign in, it doesn't show me my photos. When I am on my phone, if I delete photos, it says they will be deleted from my Photo Stream on all devices. Well, I don't want that, because I want to keep my photos, I just don't want them on my phone anymore.

When I look up articles related to this online, they all talk about the Camera Roll, and how you can delete photos from the Camera Roll without deleting them from the Stream...But it seems to me that Camera Roll has been done away with, because I do not see the words "Camera Roll" anywhere on my photos or camera anymore. It used to show that, when I first got the phone, but now it does not.

So how do I know that my photos are actually being backed up to iCloud, so I can delete them from my phone? How do I delete them from my phone without deleting them from iCloud and the Stream? Or, if I can't delete them just from my phone, and have to delete them from my Stream, how do I know they are now in iCloud? I just can't figure this out.

I have everything on my phone set so that it backs up to iCloud. Under Settings -> Photos & Camera, I have My Photo Stream turned on. Under Settings -> iCloud, I have iCloud drive and Photos turned on.

I have read that in the newest version of the OS, there is this iCloud Photo Library...But I can't update my phone to the newest version because there isn't enough room.

See my dilemma here? Driving me nuts.

Thank you in advance to anyone who has some insights on this!!!


Photo stream is not meant as a backup system, as it's constraints are defined:

> Last 30 days of uploaded images OR last 1000 items, whichever comes first.

Thirty days is funny, because you can have items that are much older than 30 days, so long as they were added to your stream within the last 30, but even then I think I've seen items persist so long as the 1000 number has not been exceeded.

Point is, Apple makes clear that there are no promises on Photo Stream content. Photo Stream is **entirely meant** for easing the function of sync to other devices and computers.

This provides the two main features of Photo Stream:

- You can take a photo on your iPhone and edit or use it in an app on the iPad in a relatively short amount of time (presuming both have WiFi internet access)
- You can setup a Mac at home to be always turned on, always running iPhoto (or at least every few weeks), and your photos can be auto-imported as you take them.

As you can see, Photo Stream is meant as a buffer, a temporary holding location for items that are being moved from one location to another. On iOS devices, these photos are stored locally in a similarly impermenant folder known as "Photo Stream". In iPhoto, these are imported into events called "December's Photo Stream".

Notice also this excludes Video and Burst photos (treated as individual photos merely collected into a folder called a "burst"). These are too easy for a casual user to take up large storage and bandwith (and therefore battery) on a cloud service, so these are excluded by default until you have oppertunity to sync to a computer.

Which is the main point: Syncing to a computer.

You should do this, and you should make backups, either manually, automatically, and/or to another online service (and/or all three).

The Mavericks & iOS 7 era photo service (which is the same as the iPhoto and Yosemite photo service before Yosemite Photos.app is released in an upcoming version) is built around Photo Stream, and Shared Albums. These services are somewhat similar to Dropbox, in that each device you have enabled will lose the same chunck of storage to those items.

Yosemite and iOS 8 era photo service is called "iCloud Photo Library". Currently is it only available via an iOS devices until a Yosemite update adds the new Photos.app application to replace both iPhoto and Aperture. This can be enabled on iOS under Settings > Photos > iCloud Photo Library (beta). Enabling this (after allowing your phone time on a charger while on WiFi to upload) should mean you will see items appear in your iCloud web portal (including video and burst if enabled).

However, notice that while Photo Stream's definitions excluded talk of file size and is provided at no additional cost above owning an Apple device and having WiFi internet access, iCloud Photo Library does have a total file size contraint and paid tiers of service. Many users get 5 GB free storage with their iCloud account that is shared between iCloud email, documents, device backups, and now Photo Library.

Consider paying for the monthy upgrade to your iCloud size and/or a service like Dropbox, which also has an app that can (if given permission) to upload your photos to a second location.