Apple announced in a support document that it’s pulling the plug on My Photo Stream on July 26, 2023. The service has been available for over a decade and allows users to sync their photos across Apple devices via the internet.
Initially known as Photo Stream, the image syncing service was announced during WWDC 2011. It can automatically upload up to 1,000 recently-clicked photos from an iPhone or iPad to iCloud. The uploaded media stays in the cloud for up to 30 days and is automatically downloaded to other devices that use the same Apple ID, including Macs and Windows PCs. Similarly, new images imported to the iPhoto app on a Mac back in the day were uploaded to the cloud and synced across devices.
Eventually, the job of My Photo Stream became redundant after the arrival of iCloud Photos that uploads all the photos, videos, as well as edits made to the media. While both services upload images to iCloud, you can’t access My Photo Stream images on your Apple Watch and iCloud website. But on the plus side, My Photo Stream uploads don’t count against your iCloud storage. Whereas, iCloud Photos can upload media for as long as you have enough space in iCloud.
On your iPhone or iPad, you can save the My Photo Stream images to your library by going to Photos > Albums. Here, tap on My Photo Stream, then select the desired photos, and tap on the Share button > Save Image.
You may not see the My Photo Stream option on your devices if your Apple ID was created in recent years. Apple said that the service will stop accepting new uploads on June 26, and images uploaded prior to that will stay on iCloud for 30 days from the date of upload before they get deleted.
From now, you can backup your photos and videos online but you need to subscribe to an iCloud storage plan or the Apple One bundle subscription. By default, iCloud only comes with 5GB of free online storage that’s shared by all of your devices.