How To Disable Photo Stream on Your iPhone and iPad

One of the features that has made photo sharing quick and easy in iOS 5 for iPhone and iPad is Photo Stream.  Photo Stream leverages iCloud and when you snap a photo on your iOS device it is automatically uploaded to iCloud via a WiFi connection.  The trick with the service however is to remember that it is a binary action.  It is either on or it is off.  For 90% of the time having it on is just fine as it allows you to immediately share photos via your Apple TV or on your iPad when you actually took the photos just a few minutes ago on your iPhone.  There may be times however you want to turn it off.  In this How To I’m going to show you just how to do that.  The instructions are the same for either your iPad or iPhone.

To start, the settings for Photo Stream are in the iCloud settings of your iPhone or iPad.  To get to iCloud go to Settings>iCloud on your iPhone or iCloud Settings on an iPhoneiPad.  Here you will see all of the various settings for iCloud.  All of the items that you want to sync with iCloud are here including Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Bookmarks and Notes.  On the screenshot you also see Photo Stream which is “on”.  To change it to off, tap Photo Stream which will take you to the Photo Stream settings.  Slide the switch to Off and accept the warning that you are turning off the feature and your iPhone or iPad will not longer upload photos to Photo Stream.

It is important to remember that whatever photos you have uploaded to Photo Stream already will not be deleted from iCloud.  This setting only controls if you are uploading photos from your iOS device from this point forward.  If you want to delete photos in Photo Stream on iCloud, go to and click on your Profile (your name), click Advanced then click Reset Photo Stream.  This will delete any photos that you have uploaded to Photo Stream.  Lastly, if you want to delete the Photo Stream on your other iOS devices you will need to do this same How To on that device as well.

The challenge with Photo Stream and iCloud is to disable it is easy but deleting the already uploaded photos is more difficult requiring more steps.  There is no clear indication that Apple will change or modify this behavior so for now the steps outlined here are the ones to follow.