Warning: NSFW probably means not safe for Photo Stream

Miley Cyrus

You're out of town and your special someone is back home so you decide to secretly snap some racy pictures of yourself and sext them on over. Meanwhile they're just finishing showing off the new iPad or Apple TV to mom and dad, the screen saver or slide show kicks in, and your private pics just start Photo Streaming by...

And they can't be deleted. Not until they're automatically removed from your iOS devices after 30 days or 1000 photos, so you're logging out of everything for a month or taking 1000 pictures of the floor or something to flush the stream... because otherwise you're stuck.

While iOS 5, iCloud, and Photo Stream are awesome if you want to take a picture of your family at a party or your little ones during the game or some flowers or clothes you like or want to remember, that same "automagically everywhere" Camera Roll sync can easily -- easily -- turn around and bite you in the apps.

So if you're going to take photos -- or save them from Safari, Messages, Mail, etc -- that are NSFW, you should probably consider them not safe for Photo Stream either.

Jump into Settings > iCloud and turn off Photo Stream while you have your fun, then delete them from your Camera Roll, then -- when you're ready to go back to family pics and landscapes -- turn Camera Roll back on.

And if you work in Hollywood, this goes quadrupal for you!

UPDATE: As mentioned in the comments below, you can purge your Photo Stream via iCloud.com, but that's still not the same as being able to delete an individual picture.

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Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

Warning: NSFW probably means not safe for Photo Stream


Actually you can delete all photos from your photo stream via the icloud website under the settings in the top right corner, then advanced and it will remove all pictures from the stream.

Another reason I love tipb saving me from an embarrassing family function or giving my android lovers a reason to say "HAHA Apple won't even let you delete pics from your photo stream? how lame"

I have no need of Photo Stream. I'm not interested in "photo sharing". So i iCloud will definitely be turned off if it automatically shares anything. No interest in sharing anything at all. Thanks.

Is there a way to separate the upload and download? I would like photos be available and sync'd down to my phone, but I use my phone as a work camera and don't want pictures of equipment racks and distribution closets spamming my porn ;-)

wow, that was an interesting pic for the post. Have fun making this one Georgia? lol. This post is NSFW! :p

You can clear your photo stream from the iCloud website when accessed from a desktop browser...
i noticed this on launch day... button in the top right hand corner

Seems like you can delete your photo stream.
You can reset your Photo Stream any time by visiting your account view on icloud.com. Resetting Photo Stream will remove all Photo Stream photos from your iCloud account. It will not remove any photos that have already been downloaded to your iOS device or computer.

Knowing Apple they did this on purpose to make think twice about taking "inappropriate" pictures. Apple needs to get of its high horse and stop censoring people/apps.

New to iOS so help me out here. Your Photo Stream isn't public is it? I mean this would only really be an issue if you shared your Photo Stream with someone and "forgot about those picture you took while drunk and lonely" right?

Is there another app you can save photos to? Cuz I keep all my naughty ones in gallery after June thats not an option lol

This post seems completely inappropriate and in poor taste, the same advise could have been given with other examples. It seems out of line with your otherwise normally professional approach to all things apple. #Fail

There is another version they left out. Some of you may do this or not but I have one in a great while. Working on the laptop had a important key or password pop up and snapped a pic with my IPhone4 and have done this for bank accounts (I know bad bad bad but it helps when in a hurry) then if you do that it could end up in the photo stream for all to see now if its your family most likely it is not a concern. But my friends that dont have IPhones always want to check out new things with mine also if your phone is stolen/lost then the pics are present. Anyways, I have since changed doing that but just thought I would add my 2 cents from a recently disabled USMC vet. "Think of everything you may use your cam for not just those "Special" pictures"

if you log into icloud.com with your apple id and click on your name then click on advanced you can delete your photo stream from the cloud.
it leaves everything on your devices

This is the best blog for anybody who desires to find out about this topic. You notice so much its almost onerous to argue with you (not that I truly would want...HaHa). You undoubtedly put a brand new spin on a subject thats been wrote about for ages. Nice stuff, simply nice!

I've never used Photo stream and never will. I don't do the "sharing family photos" thing. I don't share pictures from my iPhone in any way, shape, or form, and anything I wouldn't want anyone to see remains in an encrypted password protected folder that only I can access.