How to disable My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing without erasing your photos

Macworld reader PJ wrote in to ask about disabling My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing without losing anything,” Glenn Fleishman writes for Macworld.

“He received dire warnings when he attempted to turn them off,” Fleishman writes. “In most cases, you won’t lose anything, but tread wisely.”

“First, let’s go over the three different methods Apple has for sharing and syncing photos,” Fleishman writes. “It’s common for Macworld readers to get confused about how the many methods interact — especially in making sure that you retain images (and videos) if you disable a service.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s common for pretty much anyone to get confused about how Apple’s many methods interact when it comes to sharing and syncing photos. We’re pretty sure even Federighi doesn’t fully grasp it.


  1. I don’t want 15+ years of 34,000 photos and 1000+ videos thumbnailed on my phone via iCloud Photos. I do want photos and videos I take on my iPhone to make it to iCloud Photos automatically, without syncing to my Mac like I have to do now.

    You’d think My Photo Stream would take care of the latter, but nope; Apple’s own docs say live photos don’t get streamed (why the hell not??)

    We need an additional iCloud Photos option that meets in the middle. Like, everything I take on iPhone syncs to iCloud, but only the last year’s worth of optimized photos/videos remain on your iPhone, plus any marked as a favourite.

    1. I re-read the support doc and Photo Stream is even worse than I thought: it doesn’t support videos, either.

      So it’s absolutely useless as a sync-to-iCloud-archive option.

  2. On my last vacation, I went light and only used my X for photography instead of my DSLR.

    Never again.

    I took so many pictures and videos that uploading them to my computer afterward was a nightmare. Lightroom had certain issues and Photos had other issues. I still don’t know if I got everything off my phone.

    I’m going back to my DSLR and SDXC cards for anything more important than snapshots.

  3. And Why The F should it be a convoluted spaghetti mishmash..
    Its just file/asset management and sharing!

    iCoud and Apple ios file management paradigm is anything but user friendly and simple. ( actually it is stupid ) .

    Remember ‘Simple ‘ Apple?… its the MO u have been hammering in our heads and souls regardless of massive compromises in practicality ! what happened? U implement your MO where is not needed and dont where it is?

    Horrible.. inefficient, confusing , and a mess..

    So many stupid obstacles and inefficiencies..
    And its a simple file sharing issue!
    It’s been around since the get go and
    Apple has not figured it out yet.

    For those who may be interested:
    Why cant i make a song on ios device , lets say my ipad ( and lets say on GarageBand) and then add it to a playlist in my music liberies?
    Why am i forced to go to mac and convoluted iTunes on mac and bend backwards 3 times to get that done?

    Why cant i make smart playlists in ios?

    Why cant i gift individual songs on ios ( only full albums) yet i can on mac? ( massive money left on the table)

    Why do my ripped songs keep disappearing at their own whim?

    Why dont i have an easy way to see all my photos
    Everywhere.. including icloud.

    Why cant i delete photos as i want from any album on any device..
    I have photots that seem to be permanently locked in.. i just cant delete them.. no matter what ios device i resort to.?

    Why am I forced to organize my photos according to how apple finds it to be the right way..
    Why all this dictatoial idiosyncratic bullcrap.

    Simple.. ??? my Arrs!!! Tim, Craig, Phil..!
    ( forget Eddy .. he is one of the biggest culprits)

    I know.. i know.. lots of whining… but it is a mess and no one cares.
    Along with so many other fundamental issues that need care and major overhaul! ( like: spell check and predictive, contextual word recognition… search … ai .. etc) ..
    but it seems they are all shoved under the carpet and forgotten .. no one cares that they suck!

    Hey Apple .. people are triping on the carpet already …there is so much crap under there !

    Dont just BS about simple..
    Implement it..
    And don’t be a dictator!

    Trillion dollar company!!!!

  4. Related issue. Had a client update from 10.13.4 to 10.13.6. Easy, no problem.
    Nope. Somehow it asked if they wanted to use iCloud Drive and turned it on.
    23 GB of desktop and data files trying to upload from a home office.

    Once I realized what they did I went into iCloud to turn the Drive option off. What glorious choices did we have??? Remove from the Mac and just download it from iCloud or check here to keep. Checked and proceeded. It promptly deleted everything on the desktop and documents folder.
    Thank god for a recent backu.
    What the fuck Apple??

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