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At the last MacGroup Afterglow, I brought up how Photo Stream was getting there but still had a weird quirk. For those of you unfamiliar with Photo Stream, it’s an iCloud feature added to iOS 5 that takes any photo you snap – including screen shots, or downloaded graphics – and makes it (nearly) instantly available on all your iOS devices and your Mac (if you have OS X 10.7 Lion and the latest iPhoto). It’s not on by default; you have to enable it.

For some folks, the initial implementation was not useful. People like Terry White, who might take 100 photos in a day, found their Photo Stream overwhelmed with photos they didn’t want – because everything went in, and there was no way to delete from the stream. Apple would do that, rotating the pictures in 30 days or after 1000 pictures. On the other hand, for people like me – who take maybe 100 photos a year – it was fine.

But recognizing that having no control over the stream was not optimal for a lot of people, Apple added the ability to delete photos from the stream in iOS 5.1. But here’s the quirk – you had to do it from iPhoto if you wanted it deleted everywhere. If you tried to delete from your device, say your iPhone, you’d see this:


Terry said that he didn’t get that message. He went to his iPhone, selected “Delete” on a photo in his Photo Stream, and got this:


Huh?  Steven Gold, another MacGroup member at the table, said he was also getting the message I got. So we started looking at options in iCloud and Photos on the device, but couldn’t find anything other than “on” and “off” for Photo Stream. Terry thought it might be an iPhoto setting, so I checked when I got home. While there are a lot of settings for Photo Stream in iPhoto, I couldn’t find one that had anything to do with this.

But I did find the answer – “the Google” (as we old folks say) is your friend. I found this blog post, and in the comments, a commenter named Gerry had the answer – pictures taken before iOS 5.1 are only deleted from the iOS device you are on  (unless done in iPhoto, which deletes from all devices always); photos taken with iOS 5.1 are deleted from the entire photo stream from any device. Steven and I had been deleting older items, while Terry had newer ones.

So thanks Gerry – not sure why it’s implemented that way, with a weird combination of the two releases, but there we are.


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One Response to Combination of the Two

  1. Mark says:

    Very helpful, thanks for this tip.