Photostream Is Seriously Dangerous


Photostream for iOS is seriously dangerous. Many/most (all??) people that I talk to assume that Photostream magically backs up their photos and videos. I guess I cannot blame them--the Apple commercials and iOS itself makes you believe that photos "just work" and therefore do not require any additional thought or planning.

But...what do I tell my sister when she gets a new iPhone and can't find that photo she took of her new baby? Was it more than ~1000 pictures ago? Oh..yea, no that's gone. What about all my videos? Oooo, that's gone too--Photostream doesn't handle videos at all.

There is danger in making things too simple; so simple that people don't bother understanding really how something works.

So, here are a few non-obvious Photostream gotchas:

  1. Photostream should not be relied on to back up your photos. Photos after a certain age and certain number get deleted.
  2. Although photos on your personal Photostream are kept at full quality, photos on a Shared Photostream are dumbed down to 3MP!!
  3. Photostream does not handle videos at all (a video taken on your iPhone does not automatically show up on your iPad).

That being said, Photostream can be a great part of a full photo backup strategy. I'll detail this in another post soon.

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