More Thoughts on Photostream

Now that 2 family members are walking around with Photostream enabled, I've had a chance to get a better idea how I like it. 


  • Photostream "just works"
  • Only uses wifi - big plus for those on a lower tier data plan
  • Reasonably quick
  • Automatically adds faces and places metadata to photostream pics in iPhoto Library
  • Doesn't upload "old photos" only new ones, however...
  • Doesn't send videos - good for battery life but...


  • No option to manually upload "old photos" - If I can push old events to photostream from iPhoto on my Mac, why can't I push old photos to photostream from Photos my iPhone?
  • Doesn't send videos... requires cable and "image capture" for videos. Just as wifi sync requires the phone to be on a charger, why not automatically upload videos when the phone is on a charger and in range of wifi?
  • No web interface to view photos - What's up with this?
  • No public web gallery available - I can't pick photos to show up on any sort of public photostream. Once they are on Apple's server, why should I have to upload them again to flickr or picasa so other people can see them?
  • Few settings - way too few settings ...
  • I'd like to control how many photos are in my photostream (less than 1,000) and when they expire (60 days)
  • No way to share photos between users via photostream (I should be able to put photos on other family members' photostreams either from the web or right from my phone)
  • Must purchase iPhoto 11 to get photostream working - I thought iCloud was "free for iOS 5 and OS X Lion" users.
  • Store photostream pics in iPhoto library which could lead to a huge library at the rate I take photos, normally when I import photos, I have "copy to iPhoto Library" switched off so my iPhoto library is about 1/20 the original size of the photos it manages.
  • No way to delete individual photos - must reset entire photostream

With these concerns, would I recommend enabling photostream if you use iCloud?  Yes. A resounding yes. I'm not convinced that photostream is any faster than eyefi, but there is no user action required to get photos off my camera, ahem I mean iPhone 4.  Hooking up a cable to transfer a handful of videos is not a big deal as video transfer via eyefi can take 45 minutes and drain 20% battery life.  This is NOT something I would want to happen "automatically" and even if photostream supported upload of videos, I would switch this feature off most of the time unless it was also tied to being on a charger like wifi sync.

Photostream was the main feature I wanted when I upgraded to iOS 5.  While I'm mildly disappointed that things weren't done quite the way I would have liked, there weren't blunders that threaten battery life or risk losing data.  I expect Apple to improve photostream over time and if they don't, we'll be witnessing yet another dot mac to mobile me conversion fiasco about 2 years from now.