Photo Stream Not Working on iPhone or iPad: How to Fix It

One feature that made a ton of difference to how you shared photos from within the Photos app on your iPhone was Photo Stream. It came about at a time when Facebook and Instagram where at the peak of their photo-sharing features and Apple kind of made it really simple and easy for iOS users to share their photos with other iOS and macOS users.

Photo Stream is a cool idea and a cool feature. I wouldn’t call it a flawed execution at all because every feature that Apple brings in comes with its own set of problems: iCloud, FaceTime, iMessage, and of course, Photo Stream.

How to Fix “My Photo Stream Not Working” on iPhone and iPad

Photo Stream, without exception, has a lot of problems like:

  • Sometimes photos you added to a stream on your iPhone don’t sync and show up on the iPad.
  • At times, Photo Stream doesn’t even recognize that you’ve taken photos (and so doesn’t add them to the stream library)
  • Or at other times, Photo Stream just doesn’t work. WiFi issues notwithstanding, Photos aren’t added to your Mac/PC when you add them to the Photo Stream library on your iDevice.

We’ll take a look at how you can fix the Photo Stream not working issue. Remember, this is a broad solution channel, and you might have to try them all before Photo Stream gets fixed.

Solution #1. 20% Battery Rule

One of the first things you’ll notice on FAQs on Apple (for Photo Stream) is this rule: you’ll need to have more than 20% battery for Photo Stream to work. This means… well, you know what this means. Charge up your iPhone before you even think about Photo Stream. Make sure there’s enough battery and a good, solid Wi-fi network (or LTE, but WiFi is preferred always).

Solution #2. Read-only Permissions

Did you change the default folder for Photo Stream in Windows (via iCloud Control Panel)? Well, that’s going to be a problem.

If you change the folder to someplace else, do this:

  • Right-click the Photo Stream folder
  • Uncheck the Read-only permissions
  • Click Apply

Read-only permissions can be a pain, especially in Windows. And since Apple uses an external service to modify the content of your Photo Stream, you’ll definitely need to make sure it’s not read-only.

Solution #3. Close Camera App

If you don’t close your camera app, you’re going to have a bad time with Photo Stream sync.

Photo Stream is made to work that way: it’s only when you close the camera that the photos automatically get synced to the Photo Stream and then finally to all your iDevices. No, this doesn’t mean you press the home button after using the camera, and then you run to check the Photo Stream on your iPad.

It means you double-press the home button, and swipe-up the camera app to close it. Whoosh! Your photos should be up there on the Photo Stream. Give it a few minutes, and they should be on all connected devices.

Solution #4. Enable Photo Stream Under Settings, iCloud

Oh, this is such a plain thing. But then, it’s probably not.

Photo Stream needs to be enabled at two (minimum) places in your iDevice.

a) iCloud

  • Go to Settings
  • Tap on Your Name at the top of the list
  • Tap on iCloudPhotos
  • Make sure it’s ON
  • For good measure, enable Shared Photo Streams too

Enable iCloud Photos on iPhone Running iOS 12

b) Settings

  • Go to Settings
  • Scroll down and tap on Photos
  • Turn ON “My Photo Stream” if it isn’t already
  • Turn on “Shared Albums” too for good measure (believe me, this is what actually triggered the Photo Stream for me although I do completely doubt the link between this and Photo Stream sync)

Turn ON My Photo Stream and Shared Albums in iPhone Settings

Solution #5. Reboot and Reconnect to Wi-Fi

  • The plain old method is to just reboot the phone.
  • Or give it a hard reset.
  • Also, disconnect from Wifi from devices where the Photo Stream isn’t synced and then re-connect. For a good measure, do the ‘forget network’ routine and re-add the network.

Turn OFF or ON WiFi on iPhone

Alright and all done, buddy, but the whole thing still doesn’t work. What to do then?

Sometimes, you clicked a lot of photos, and it takes a lot of time on your network to get all the photos synced to Photo Stream → iCloud → all your iDevices. Give it some time. You heard Louis C.K’s ‘Everything is Amazing and Nobody’s Happy’ right? Be patient while the whole thing goes up there in space and then syncs your data.

Signing off

Of course, restore is not an option if it’s just Photo Stream that ain’t working. I’ll give the “are you kidding me?” look if someone tells me I’ll have to restore my iPhone just because Photo Stream doesn’t work for a while. I’ll just do the ON-OFF toggle and then delete/create albums in Photo Stream till it resumes normal functioning than restore my iPhone.

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Dhvanesh Adhiyahttps://www.igeeksblog.com
The founder of iGeeksBlog, Dhvanesh, is an Apple aficionado, who cannot stand even a slight innuendo about Apple products. He dons the cap of editor-in-chief to make sure that articles match the quality standard before they are published.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I tried many things. I finally logged out of my iCloud account on both the PC and my phone and then logged back into both and that seemed to reconnect them.

  2. Still not working. 2 weeks ago iCloud did sync the photos on PhotoStream with my pc but now i realized it stopped although i changed nothing on iCloud or /photo settings.
    What should i do?

  3. I think the photo sharing is working ok for me, but am having a related, but different problem. On Windows 8.1, there is an option to right-click on a photo and “add to photo stream”. I go through a couple clicks, looks like it worked but your pic isn’t actually in the photo stream.

    Does this work for anyone else?

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