I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve barely had time to think, but like millions of others I updated my iPad and iPhone to iOS 8. For you iPhoneographers out there, I’m guessing you noticed that the camera roll is missing. Apple has replaced this with the ‘Recently Added’ album. With iOS 8.0.0 those photos were listed by days, so it didn’t feel at all like a camera roll. It felt disjointed (it was almost identical to ‘Moments’ in the general photos section). I vastly preferred just seeing the little squares containing my photos. Well, iOS 8.0.2 came out on Thursday and they have fixed that issue. When browsing the ‘Recently Added’ album I once again see lots of little squares.
I’m glad they fixed that, but there are still problems. I have an iPad that is also connected to my Photo Stream. Photos from that also show up in the Recently Added photos on both devices. If I then try to edit that photo directly in the Apple Photo roll I get the mildly confusing message saying that the photo is not editable, but I can duplicate it and then edit it. If I do that, what resolution photo will I end up with (I could check, but I haven’t tried it yet). Which photos in the Recently Added photos are editable (stored locally)? Which are in the photo stream?
Duplicate and Edit? Where is this photo stored? On my iPhone, or in the iCloud?
One of the things Apple is adding is the new iCloud where it will store full resolution photos in the cloud, and will be available on all your devices. This sounds great, but I’m not sure if the stream is really doing that yet. It is supposed to be tied in with OSX 10.10 (Yosemite) that won’t be released for another month. I’m a developer and have been doing some testing with it, but nothing on the photo side (and the new Photos program that will replace iPhoto is still missing). How will all this tie together?
Right now there are bits and pieces. When updating your iPhone you are asked if you want to update to the beta version of the new iCloud Drive with photo stream, and not just the regular photo stream. I declined it. This new iCloud Drive isn’t ready yet, and jumping to the new drive/stream will break my current workflow (importing photos to Lightroom from the Photostream location on my hard drive).
Apple needs to add a few additional albums. Recently Added is fine, but then have a Local Photos and Cloud Photos album. I want to know what is on my actual iPhone. Do I know if that photo is safely stored in the cloud? With just a Recently Added album I just don’t know. Apple could use little icons to indicate things like that, but it might lead to even more confusion, and a visual mess.
In another month Yosemite will come out. iOS 8.0.3 will probably come out. Will Apple make this iCloud Drive/Photostream mess seem clear and coherent? I really hope so. Maybe I’m just overthinking all of this. Should I just sit back and assume everything is being properly stored somewhere? I’m not quite ready to just trust Apple to back up all my photos without me being aware of where things are.
Someday, but not today.
Apple has added some great features for photographers in iOS 8 (manual controls can be used in 3rd party apps!), but the current state of the Photostream is not one of them.
Other articles of interest:
‘IOS 8 AND THE PHOTO STREAM NIGHTMARE
iOS 8 kills iPhoto and forces a messy transition to Photos
A long (7 page thread) forum discussion on MacRumors
Goodbye to Camera Roll, Where to Find Your Photos (AppleInsider)
A useful app that has a camera roll: MyRoll