Last May, I wrote about Apple’s iOS photo sharing feature, Photo Stream, which automatically syncs photos to a users’ iCloud account where they can be accessed in one or more of a user’s iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) or Mac computer. Since that time Apple has added a few important features and enhancements to Photo Stream that might go unnoticed by new Apple customers.
My last article on this topic also explains how to get up and running with Photo Stream. It basically entails enabling your iCloud account on your supporting Apple devices and then from there managing all the photos you take, which we will discuss later. The most important new feature in Photo Stream is the ability to share photos with other Apple users and non-users, and via online galleries.
Photo Stream On All Devices
Photo Stream is now available on all of Apple’s mobile devices via the Photos app, and in Mac photo applications, iPhoto and Aperture. But the most important thing to remember is that when you enable the feature, all the photos you take with say your iPad camera get automatically synced to your iCloud account. You can however got into Photo Stream and delete selected photos, which also deletes them from your iCloud account.
Each photo added to your account remains there 30 days after they are taken. Photo Stream will store up to 1000 photos in your account, and will start deleting the earliest photos when you go over that amount. Unless you are a pro photographer, you should never have a problem with losing photos from Photo Stream.
Also note that the same photos in your Photo Stream also exist in the Camera Roll of your iOS Photo app, and if you enable Photo Stream in iPhoto or Aperture, those photos will automatically be archived by month in the respective application. So for example, all of the photos you take with your iOS device in the month of November will get copied to an iPhoto or Aperture photo album, labeled “Nov 2012 Photo Stream.” It is however a good idea to add keywords, ratings, and subcategorize your photos as you normally would.
Sharing Photos from iOS Devices
Before the release of iOS 6, there was no way to share a batch of photos with someone or a group of people without either using a third-party iOS app, like Bump, or simply emailing images one at a time. But now Apple has solved that problem. In the Photo Stream album of iOS devices you can select images and share them with other iOS and Mac users, directly to their supporting device.
To share from an iOS device, open the Photos app and tap on the Photo Stream album in the bottom menu. Next, select the Edit button and then tap on the photos you want to share. Now tap on the Share button and select the Photo Stream icon.
From there you can create a new Photo Stream album for your spouse or any other user. What’s great about creating this folder is that it shows up in your recipient’s Photo Stream on his/her device. From now on you can drop images into individual Photo Stream folders to quickly share them with designated recipients. Notice also you that you can make your Photo Stream album public, whereby selected photos will be shared via an online gallery. More about this later.
Sharing Photos from iPhoto/Aperture
The most recent update to Photo Stream is the ability to share images in those applications with other iOS users. So just as you can share say from your iPhone device, you can select (and right- or Control-click) images on Photo Stream and create a folder that sends those images directly to a recipient. You can also share via email, Facebook, and Flickr.com.
As with iOS devices, you need to enable Photo Stream in your iCloud account on your Mac (found in System Preferences > iCloud > Photo Stream, and make sure sharing is enabled under Options.)
You also need to enable Photo Stream in the Mac photo application you use—either iPhoto or the pro application, Aperture. You get other Photo Stream options as well. Notice that you can enable Automatic Upload which sends all new photos you import to say iPhoto, to your Photo Stream account. This is convenient if you take and import photos with a regular non-iOS camera, and you want those photos to automatically show up on your mobile devices.
Photo Stream Web Galleries
The biggest disappoint when Apple discontinued MobileMe is that it took away the ability for members to share their photos online for public viewing. Well, Apple has brought that feature back in Photo Stream. You can tap on the little blue button inside of a Photo Stream folder and not only add subscribers to that folder, but you can also enable Public Website sharing which provides you a link to the gallery of those photos. Here’s a quick example of how one looks.
You can do the same thing with Photo Stream folders in iPhoto and Aperture by right- or Control-clicking on an existing Photo Stream folder and making it public. Of course, the only people who will know your galleries exist are the recipients you send the URL to. However, you cannot create a gallery for your entire Photo Stream of photos, only individual folders/albums in Photo Stream.
With these new Photo Stream updates, users can now share photos without having to use an online account such as Flickr or Facebook. Let us know what you think of Photo Stream and what other features or functions you would like to see added to it.
And for other iOS related photo ideas, check out these articles: