Apple Photo Stream in iOS6 – another #fail (iCloud Control Panel PC sync is not full resolution)
For sorting and managing my photos, and trying Sugarsync, Dropbox, and just about everything else, I’ve decided to give Apple’s native apps a go
Photo Stream was a pain until we got to version 6, but now, it suddenly seems usable. With iOS6 Photo Stream, you can:
- Automatically add all photos taken to Photo Stream
- If you share a Photo Stream account with your partner, have all your photos immediately available to each other
- If you use/share the same account with iPads, then have those photos immediately available for editing in native iOS apps in the iPad – eg. iPhoto.
- Be able to create new Photo Stream albums/folders – for example, for an event
- Be able to delete the original from the Camera Roll AND the main Photo Stream album, and still have the copy in the event folder (eg. “1224 Christmas Eve” collection)
- Run iCloud Control Panel to automatically sync all Photo Stream photos to a PC
- Syncs full EXIF data, plus comments
So – sounds perfect, no? At any time, we can go into the shared Photo Stream folder, sort the photos out into ‘event’ or ‘day’ folders, tune them, edit them, and have them sync to a desktop for archiving. And we can also knock up shared folders with a selection of photos to send to friends, family, etc.
It’s ALL perfect – EXCEPT Apple does not sync photos in full resolution. They downsize them to 1536×2048 pixels (ie. 3Mpixel, from whatever resolution your iPhone camera is).
Well – all is not lost. Although they only share photos across iOS devices, they state that the sync to the desktop is the original full-resolution photo.
So that’s OK, right?
Well… No! again!
Although they say this – they actually don’t!!! I’ve just tested this with iCloud Control Panel in Windows 7, and guess what – all the photos are downsized. If I have deleted the originals from the camera roll, then my full res photos are gone; bye bye!
You lie, Apple! <sob>
Looking suspiciously small – all photos downsized to 2048×1536
So – that’s a wrap. Apple iCloud and Photo Stream is not a suitable place for managing your photos, because:
- All photos synced and stored on your PC will be downsized
- Any photos you share and open from one iPhone to another will be downsized
- Any photos you open and edit on your iPad, will be downsized
- Basically, anything you do with Photo Stream will lose the original quality of the photo
- (But for social sharing, it is easy, integrated, seamless, and includes EXIF data)
I’ve since delved a little deeper, and found that, in fact, the original Photo Stream
is at full resolution – in both the synced folder, and the Windows Explorer Plugin.
However – the Shared folders (as seen in the main post) are not – they are still downsized.
So although you can sync a pure, unorganized stream at full res to a PC, you cannot organise them into Photo Stream folders without losing resolution – which still loses most of the photo management functions that I need.
So – this leaves Dropbox as victorious , still the only cloud storage service that allows:
- Organisation of photos into folders
- Seamless sync of full-resolution photos to a desktop for storage
- Full retention of EXIF data
Sugarsync strips the EXIF data, and iCloud resizes them