Apple's ending free iPhone photo syncing and time's running out

Organizing photos on iPhone and iPad
(Image credit: iMore)
iPHONE 15: What you need to know

If you're using Apple's "My Photo Stream" service to sync photos between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac you're probably going to want to start making plans for what comes next — because Apple is killing the option off in July 2023.

The My Photo Stream service has been around for years and syncs the last 30 days' (or 1,000) photos between devices. But Apple is set to bring the curtain down on the service on July 26, 2023.

As a result, new photos will no longer upload to My Photo Stream starting from June 26, which is less than a month away.

iCloud Photos

The canning of My Photo Stream means that people who relied on the feature will now need to look elsewhere. The most obvious solution is to switch to using iCloud Photos, although that might also come with a cost — especially if you need more space to allow all of your photos and videos to be uploaded to Apple's servers.

The iCloud Photos option is baked into all of Apple's iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, and the Apple TV which makes it a great option for people who just want to set it and forget it. It also opens the door to things like iCloud Shared Photo Library, a feature that makes it easier for people to share photos and videos with each other.

With Apple set to announce iOS 17 during its WWDC23 event on June 5, it's possible that we will see some upgrades to iCloud Photos and iCloud in general, not to mention the Photos app across all of Apple's platforms. That update won't be released to the public until this fall, however, assuming Apple sticks to its own release cadence. That's also when we expect the iPhone 15 lineup to be unveiled as well.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.