Cameral-Roll

How to Use Photos (Albums) vs. Photo Stream on Your iPhone/iPad

The Photos app that comes on your iPhone/iPad has two main functions: Albums and Photo Stream. Albums contains photos that you have taken with your iPhone/iPad or saved to your iPhone/iPad from a text message, email or website. They are pictures that are physically stored in your device in an Apple-named album called Camera Roll.

Photo Stream shows photos that you are sharing among your other devices or that have been shared with you by someone else. Photo Stream is a feature of Apple’s internet-based storage called iCloud and is your personal, centralized “location” for sharing photos.

(There is a third function called Places that I still do not understand how to assign within iPhone/iPad. I’ll let you know as soon as I do!)

How to use Photos Albums

These instructions assume that you have taken some pictures with your iPhone/iPad and have not deleted them.

  • Touch the  icon.
  • Touch the  icon on the bottom left.
  • Touch Camera Roll, which is the “home” album for all your photos.
  • It will open to thumbnails of all your pictures.
  • Touch Edit in the top right.

To email, text, share, print, copy, assign or use a photo as wallpaper

  • Select the photos by touching each one to check it.
  • Touch Share on the bottom left.
  • Select your method.

To create or add photos to a previously created photo album

  • Touch each photo to be included in the album to check it.
  • Touch Add To on the bottom.
  • Select to either add to an existing album or create a new one. This will not move your original pictures from Camera Roll. Copies of your pictures go in albums you create.

To permanently delete photos from your iPhone/iPad

  • Touch each photo to be deleted to check it.
  • Touch Delete in the bottom right.

How to use Photo Stream

As Apple support says, “When you take photos on an iPhone/iPad/iTouch, or import photos from your digital camera to your computer, My Photo Stream can automatically upload your new photos to iCloud and push them to all of your other devices”. These instructions for the iPhone/iPad assume that you are using iOS 6 or later. If you need set up instructions for your Mac or a PC, click here.

To automatically add all photos taken on your iPhone/iPad to your Photo Stream:

  • Touch Settings.
  • Touch iCloud.
  • Touch Photo Stream.
  • Touch My Photo Stream ON.
  • Touch Shared Photo Streams ON to be able to privately share photos with others and from others.
  • Touch Settings in the top left.
  • Touch the Home key.

To only selectively share photos taken on your iPhone/iPad with others and add to your Photo Stream:

  • Touch Settings.
  • Touch iCloud.
  • Touch Photo Stream.
  • Touch My Photo Stream OFF.
  • Touch Shared Photo Streams ON to be able to privately share photos with others and from others.
  • Touch Settings in the top left.
  • Touch the Home key.
  • Touch the  icon.
  • Touch the  icon.
  • Touch Camera Roll, which is the “home” album for all your photos.
  • Touch Edit in the top right.
  • Touch each photo to check it.
  • Touch Share.
  • Touch Photo Stream.
  • Touch New Photo Stream.
  • Enter Contact names in the To: field.
  • Enter a new Name to name the shared Photo Stream.
  • Leave Public Website OFF.
  • Touch Next in top left.
  • Touch Post in top left.
  • This will create a new named Photo Stream in your iPhone/iPad and share it with others via email.

Some final thoughts on using Photo Albums and Photo Stream:

  • Do not worry that you are using extra space in your iPhone/iPad by saving your photos to Photo Stream. Camera Roll has your original photos. Photo Stream has copies of your original photos saved in iCloud.
  • Photo Stream will save your most recent 1000 photos in iCloud for 30 days. Long enough for you to download copies to your various devices.
  • You can set up your Mac or PC to automatically download and save your Photo Stream pictures permanently. This is the easiest way to save your iPhoto/iPad photos to your computer.
  • Remember – go to Camera Roll to see the photos that you’ve taken with your iPhone/iPad.
40 replies
    • Lynn
      Lynn says:

      Hi Joyce, from your iPhone/iPad, touch the Photos icon. Then touch Photo Stream along the bottom. To delete an entire Photo Stream album, touch the little blue arrow on the right side of the album name. Then touch Delete Photo Stream at the bottom and then Delete. To delete only some photos within an album, touch the album name, then Edit, then touch each photo to select and then touch Delete.
      Just remember that Photo Stream photos will be deleted on all of your devices and subscribers that shared those photos. It will not delete the original photos if they are still in your Camera Roll. Also, any Photo Stream photos that you have imported into events in iPhoto or Aperture or copied into a folder on your PC will not be deleted when you delete the photos from Photo Stream.

      Reply
  1. Cheryl
    Cheryl says:

    I am wondering if you could tell me why, when I select just a few pics to send to Facebook, it sends my whole album, I’ve not selected the whole album. When I am able to just send a few pics, I get the comments from months ago, and the comments go with those pics!!

    Reply
    • Lynn
      Lynn says:

      Hi Cheryl, I do not often upload photos to Facebook, so I don’t actually know the answers to your questions, but I can offer some suggestions. Are you sending the pictures via Apple’s “Photos” app or the Facebook app? If you are sharing through the “Photos” app, do it from your Camera Roll instead of a particular Album. If you tried sharing your photos through the Facebook app and you know it’s up-to-date, try sharing through the “Photos” app instead. I did some research regarding old comments being assigned to new photos, and it’s a widespread problem. I haven’t seen any solutions for it. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.
      Let me know if you figure it out!
      Lynn

      Reply
  2. Linda
    Linda says:

    How can I set up on my PC to automatically download and save my Photo Stream pictures permanently. I understand this is the easiest way to save my iphone photos to my computer, but I don’t know how.

    Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • Lynn
      Lynn says:

      Hi Linda,
      Yes that is the easiest way to save iPhone photos to a PC.
      Download the iCloud Control Panel for Windows from this apple link:
      Be sure to read the PC system requirements near the bottom of the page. From what I’ve read, and I could be wrong, iCloud with Photo Stream only works on Windows 7 or 8, not XP or Vista.
      Once you have it installed on your computer, here are the set up instructions (scroll down the page to find Windows instructions):
      Hope that helps and thanks for reading!
      Lynn

      Reply
    • Lynn Huffman
      Lynn Huffman says:

      Hi Lisa,
      Yes, if you put photos in an album on your ipad, you can delete the photos from photo stream and those photos will still be in your album.
      However, since albums are usually copies of pictures from your Camera Roll, if you delete those pictures from Camera Roll, you will delete them from your album. But, no problem deleting from photo stream.
      Thanks for reading!
      Lynn

      Reply
  3. Christian
    Christian says:

    Hello, can I upload pictures and videos to iCloud, then delete them off my iPhone or iPad to save space (and if I delete the photos or videos from my devices, will I still be able to view them from iCloud)?

    Reply
    • Lynn Huffman
      Lynn Huffman says:

      Hi Christian, Your question is very timely because with Apple’s newest iOS update 8.1 there is a new feature called iCloud Photo Library. You turn it on by going to Settings > Photos & Camera. iCloud Photo Library will automatically store your photos and videos in iCloud, which will make them available across your devices and accessible from icloud.com. Sounds great, but the drawback is that you can quickly go over your free 5GB in iCloud and will have to purchase more storage. There is a great FAQ at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6378. I foresee a new article on the whole Photo Stream/iCloud challenge in my near future!
      Thanks!
      Lynn

      Reply
  4. brenda
    brenda says:

    I am trying to upload my photos from icloud to my new phone but the pictures are uploading with a different date taken. How can I change it to the original date the photo was taken?

    Reply
    • Lynn Huffman
      Lynn Huffman says:

      Hi Brenda,
      I’m not sure I know the answer, but are you uploading from the new iCloud Photo Library, or the new iCloud Drive, or was this an iCloud backup restoration into your new iPhone? Do you still have your old iPhone with the photos in it?
      Thanks for reading!
      Lynn

      Reply
  5. Jocelyn
    Jocelyn says:

    If I have photos that I took from my iphone and have photo streamed them to my ipad. I want to delete the photos from phone to get more space on my phone, but I want to make sure they stay on my ipad is that possible and what do I need to do before I delete them from the phone to still have them on my ipad?

    Reply
    • Lynn Huffman
      Lynn Huffman says:

      Hi Jocelyn,
      You must put the photos you want to be available on your iPad into a Shared Album (iOS 8) or Share Photo Stream (iOS 7) before you delete the originals from your iPhone. With Apple’s changes over the past few weeks, I need to rewrite the above article because so much is different. To get you started, open your photos on your iPhone and open either your Camera Roll or All Photos. It’s going to depend on your updates and settings. Touch Select and then each photo you want to put into a Shared Album/Photo Stream. Touch the little box with the arrow and then either iCloud Photo Sharing or Photo Stream. In the pop-up scroll down and touch Shared Album or Photo Stream. Touch New Shared Album or Photo Stream and enter a name. Touch Next. It will prompt you to enter email addresses for “sharing” this album, but you don’t have to. Touch next. Then go to the Shared tab on the bottom of Photos and you should see your shared album on both the iPhone and iPad. Then you can delete the originals from your iPhone’s Camera Roll or All Photos. I highly recommend that you take a couple of throw-away shots and practice putting them in a shared album and then deleting the originals first. I also recommend that you save your favorite photos from your iPhone on your computer. I am going to write about all the new photo options soon, so please check back!
      Thanks for reading,
      Lynn

      Reply
  6. Chris
    Chris says:

    Hi Lynn,

    Can you please tell me how to delete photos from iPhone 5 camera roll and my photo stream without deleting the same photos from the albums that I created /added under photos.

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Lynn Huffman
      Lynn Huffman says:

      Hi Chris,
      If you delete from your Camera Roll, it will delete the pictures from Albums you set up on your iPhone 5. Deleting from Camera Roll will also delete from your Photo Stream. One workaround would be to create shared Photo Streams instead of Albums. You don’t even have to share them with anyone, but Apple will keep them in the cloud for you without using your 5GB of free iCloud memory and they will be accessible from your iPhone without taking up much space. I am going to write a new article very soon regarding this whole Apple photo dilemma. Please watch for it or subscribe to be alerted by email when I post it.
      Thanks for reading,
      Lynn

      Reply
  7. char
    char says:

    My ipad “photos” app no longer shows the number of the photos in albums. It also no longer moves smoothly from photo to photo. Should I get another app?

    Reply
      • Lynn Huffman
        Lynn Huffman says:

        Hi Char,
        Sorry for the delay.
        You are correct. It’s crazy but the iPad does not show the number of photos in albums while the iPhone still does. And yes, the recent update causes some programs to be “jerky” on the iPad.
        My advice is to wait for the next update. They seem to come out pretty often and see if these issues are corrected. I believe they will be – eventually.
        Thanks!
        Lynn

        Reply
    • Lynn Huffman
      Lynn Huffman says:

      Hi Shaun,
      I may not have the definitive answer, but here’s what I know:
      1) If you have a second Apple device, using the same Apple ID, with Photo Stream turned on, then the Photo Stream on both devices will be a combination of each device’s Camera Roll (up to 1000 photos).
      2) A shared photo stream can have photos which are not in Camera Roll. Whether they were shared with you or you shared with someone else.
      Hope that helps and thanks for reading!
      Lynn

      Reply
  8. Paul askiner
    Paul askiner says:

    I had a few albums beside camera roll when I used whatsapp to send fotos in groups and chat. I had an album called Photos and One called Videos. Now they are not there. I only see Camera Roll. If I go through photos and click album they are there but no matter what I do I can not have them appear in the place camera roll is when I try to share a photo or video through whatsapp. any ideas how to fix it?

    Reply
    • Lynn Huffman
      Lynn Huffman says:

      Hi,
      I did some checking and it’s a Whatsapp issue. Take a look at this discussion about the problem: Just skip down to the last few discussion boxes and you’ll see a temporary workaround.
      Thanks for reading!
      Lynn

      Reply
  9. Prats
    Prats says:

    How do I share photos that are not taken on my iPhone and not on my camera roll but on a diff album altogether (ie took them on a DSLR and copied them onto my iPhone in a separate album) on Whatsapp??

    Reply
    • Lynn Huffman
      Lynn Huffman says:

      Hi,
      I’ve tried to recreate your problem to give you an answer, but I’m struggling.
      When you are trying to send a photo from Whatsapp and touch the arrow in the circle to “choose existing photo,” are you not seeing those photos in the All Photos list? How did you copy your DSLR pictures onto your iPhone?
      Lynn

      Reply
  10. Neha
    Neha says:

    In my albums only recently added photos are shown while in photos it has all the photos captured or saved till date…albums by each passing day deletes some photos…but i want all of them to be saved in albums also…i have also turned off my photostream sharing then also it deletes some evryday…

    Reply
    • Lynn Huffman
      Lynn Huffman says:

      Hi Neha,
      You may have already found this out, but once you update your iPhone to iOS 8.1 or later, the Recently Added folder will be gone. If you have Photo Stream off, there should be no automatic “deleting” of photos unless you do it. You can create Albums with photos from your Camera Roll.
      I recommend that you consider turning Photo Stream back on. It will keep up to 1000 of your most recent photos and makes it easy to share those pictures with your other devices. The oldest pictures “roll out” of Photo Stream as you take more photos, but the original photos are still on the device that took them in either Camera Roll or All Photos, depending on your settings.
      Thanks for reading!
      Lynn

      Reply
  11. Steve
    Steve says:

    I added a album in setting up the cloud service. It simply has a name, no photo’s. I simply wish to delete the empty non used album in my album list. How do I do that? I have lost 3/4 of my hair trying to figure it out. Thanks

    Reply
    • Lynn Huffman
      Lynn Huffman says:

      Hi Steve,
      I may not be understanding your question, but have you tried doing the following from either an iPhone or iPad? Open Photos, touch Albums, touch Edit in the top right, touch the red circle beside the album you want to delete, then Delete and finally Done in the top right.
      Let me know if that’s not the answer you’re seeking. I wouldn’t want you to pull out the remaining 1/4 of your hair!
      Lynn

      Reply
  12. Paul
    Paul says:

    I’d like to move pictures from camera roll or photo stream and put them in pre existing albums but when I select them and click add to, the albums are all greyed out?

    Reply
    • Lynn Huffman
      Lynn Huffman says:

      Hi Paul,
      You can only copy photos to albums that you created on that iPhone or iPad – not albums you synced from your computer. Is that your situation? You should have the option to create a new album on the device, though. Reply back if this is not your situation.
      Thanks for reading!
      Lynn

      Reply
  13. John Birch
    John Birch says:

    Great blog! A family member shared a couple of Photostream albums, however, I want to remove some of the images from my iPad to save on space. I cannot figure out, or find on the internet, how to do that. Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • Lynn Huffman
      Lynn Huffman says:

      Hi John,
      You cannot remove photos from a Shared Album (formerly called shared Photo Stream album), unless they were photos you added to the Shared Album. Typically the “storage hog” on your iPhone is not from Shared Albums, but from your Camera Roll (or All Photos album depending on your iOS version and settings). Have you checked these settings to see just how much storage the Shared Albums are taking? Go to Settings > General > Usage > Manage Storage (under Storage heading not iCloud) > Photos & Camera. There you will see the amount of storage taken by your Shared Photo Stream.
      Let me know if you still have questions and thanks for reading!
      Lynn

      Reply
  14. Katherine
    Katherine says:

    Hi there. Forgive me, but I just don’t understand photo stream. :/
    Everything I read says that the difference is that the main photo album contains the pictures i’ve taken with my iPhone, whereas photo stream has pictures that have been shared on multiple devices, etc. Is this correct? Because this is not the case with my phone. I do not have any other apple device. Also, I am currently, physically seeing pictures that I’ve taken recently with my iPhone (that are in my main Photo Album) in my photo stream, as well. For instance, I took a few of my dog last night with my iPhone. The last one I took of him is the main picture of my photo stream album. So I’m not understanding the difference at all. When my friends (most have androids) send me pics/memes via text… they appear in my main photo album when I save them. Again, I have no other apple device. So basically… I just cannot figure out what the difference is. Can you please help? From what I’ve just read above, I know how to turn it off now… but this does not explain the confusion for me. Can you also tell me how to delete the entire album of 700+ duplicated photos that are in my photo stream in bulk? I really do not want to check-mark them off one by one when I’m not even sure why they’re there in the first place. Thank you very much!

    Reply
    • Lynn Huffman
      Lynn Huffman says:

      Hi Katherine,

      Think of Photo Stream as a free gift from Apple. It exists so that you can wirelessly see and access your recent photos with other Apple devices and even a PC. It takes up very little space on your iPhone because what you are seeing are small copies of the original photos. Photo Stream will save your most recent 1000 photos in Apple’s iCloud for 30 days. Long enough for you to download copies to your various devices.

      Since you do not have any other Apple devices, you may not want to have Photo Stream turned on. However, you can download for free into a PC the Apple iCloud Control Panel and set it up to automatically download your Photo Stream photos. Here’s more info about that https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201391.

      If you don’t want to download your iPhone photos (both those you take and those you save into your iPhone from a text message or email) into your PC, then you can just turn off Photo Stream in the Photos Settings of your iPhone. That will delete them from your iPhone. But if you keep Photo Stream turned on, don’t waste your time deleting the photos from Photo Stream. Always delete from Camera Roll. That’s what takes up the most space plus, when you delete a picture from Camera Roll, it will delete the copy in Photo Stream.

      Understanding why Photo Stream exists and how to use it is confusing. I hope this helps.

      Thanks for reading!
      Lynn

      Reply
  15. Howard
    Howard says:

    Hi. I’ve shared an album with a family member which they can see in the ‘shared’ section but the option to print from their MacBook Air is greyed out. Is it an issue my end or theirs? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Lynn Huffman
      Lynn Huffman says:

      Hi Howard,

      I assume they are using the Photos app on the Macbook Air to print pictures from the Shared Album? They first have to import the photos they want to print, which means they will be saving them in their computer via the Photos app. Tell them to open Photos on the Macbook Air, click on the Shared Album. Right click on each picture they want to print and then click on Import. If they know how to select multiple pictures and then right click on one and then Import, that’s faster. Then they can click on All Photos in the left sidebar of Photos to find the pictures they just imported. Select them and click on File in the top menu and then Print.

      Thanks for reading!
      Lynn

      Reply

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