I’ve been using iCloud Photo Stream to share my photos with my family for quite awhile now. It was easy to share to since it is integrated with iPhoto, and my family members have been able to subscribe to it with their iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs. They get notification when I post new photos. I thought it was working well, other than the fact that I couldn’t organize the shared photos by album—it’s just a straight stream.
While I was on vacation a few weeks back, my father mentioned that my photos seemed to be taking up a lot of space on his iPad. I said, “No, surely it isn’t storing all of the photos on there.” We didn’t have an internet connection, so it was easy to check. Sure enough, all of the photos were viewable, and the app said that there were several GBs worth. We hunted through all of the settings, but couldn’t find any way to limit the photos from the stream or delete them. The only option was to unsubscribe from the stream.
After I got home, I did some digging. I learned that to keep my photos from filling up all of my family’s devices, my only option is to manually delete old photos from my feed as I add new ones. This is completely unintuitive, undesirable, and quite frankly, irresponsible. How Apple’s team came up with such a crummy scheme for photo sharing, I couldn’t guess. This is Microsoft-level bad.
Knowing that Apple will be releasing an entirely new photo management app with Yosemite, I’m willing to wait and see what improvements they make to photo sharing. If they don’t significantly improve it, I’m going to find something else.