Automatically Stream Photos in iPhone to Mac Screen Saver with Photo Stream

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The latest versions of iPhoto (11+) and OS X (Mountain Lion +) support Photo Stream screensavers, which means you can have your Mac run a screensaver show that automatically updates the stream of photos based on photos taken on the road with an iPhone, without ever having to manually copy photos to the computer or put them in folders like the old-fashioned way.

You probably guessed it, but OS X Photo Stream screensavers rely on iCloud. If you’ve somehow gotten this far in owning iOS and Mac without a free iCloud account, take the time to set one up up and enjoy the many benefits, including this cool screen saver. Now that iCloud is taken care of, you can follow the simple three-step process to get the automatically updated screensavers to work.

Step 1: Enable Photo Stream in iOS

To use the automatically updated Photo Stream screen savers in Mac OS X, you must first enable Photo Stream in iOS. Here is how to do that in iOS, we’ll focus on an iPhone because most people use that to take photos:

  • Go to Settings, then “iCloud” and scroll down to “Photo Stream”
  • Set “My Photo Stream” to ON

Turn on Photo Stream on iPhone

You can also use individually shared streams if shared and collected by iPhoto.

Step 2: Enable Photo Stream in iPhoto for OS X

Speaking of iPhoto, that’s the next place you want to look as you need to enable Photo Stream in iPhoto too. This allows the iOS device (iPhone in this example) to automatically stream its images to the Mac, with iPhoto as the receiver. From the Mac:

  • Launch iPhoto and click “Photo Stream” in the left menu
  • Click on the big blue ‘Enable Photo Stream’ button to have iPhoto start importing the pictures from your iOS device to the Mac via iCloud

Turn on Photo Stream support in iPhoto for Mac OS X

Remember, you need iPhoto 11 or later to have this feature all the way, and iCloud set up up must be for the same account as the iPhone (or iPad or iPod touch).

iPhoto collects all photos taken with the iPhone (or any other iOS device) until it is turned off or a new photo stream is created. If you don’t want to use iPhoto for this purpose or for general photo management, you can also use the Photo Stream Finder access hack and then link that folder to another one, or copy the images to a folder yourself for the folder-based screensaver method, but that’s a lot more work than it takes when iPhoto & Photo Stream do it so seamlessly and with little effort.

Step 3: Choose the photo stream you want to use as a screen saver in OS X

Now iPhoto will automatically accept your photo streams from the iOS device you can choose the individual photo streams as an option in the Screen Saver control panel:

  • Open System Preferences from the  Apple menu
  • Choose “Desktop & Screen Saver” and click on the Screen Saver tab
  • Select a slideshow style (Ken Burns is great) from the screen saver type, then click “Source” button
  • Under “Recent iPhoto Events”, choose the photo stream you want to use as a screen saver

Select Photo Stream screen saver in Mac OS X

Enjoy your new Photo Stream screensaver!

Wait! If you remember a previous one tip, you can Use the forward and back arrow keys of your keyboard to navigate through photo screens, which also turns the screen saver into a slideshow.

This works very well. For a quick example, I took this photo of the sky with an iPhone and it took about 30 seconds to show up on my Mac’s screen saver:

Photo stream screen saver

(Click the ‘Show with clock’ checkbox in the screen saver preferences if you want the time too)

This feature is also available on the Apple TV if you want to decorate your living room a bit too.

a final important note: Since photos are automatically streamed from the active iOS device, you have to be careful about which photos you take and save in the shared stream. A carefree moment or two with one camera can wind easily up with a potentially embarrassing situation when an ‘unexpected’ image changes up on your Mac screensaver! For that reason, you may want to limit this to a specific shared photo Streams, or just keep this feature On home computers and avoid it on work or public Macs.

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Automatically Stream Photos from iPhone to a Mac Screen Saver with Photo Stream: FAQ

Tutorial Summary: Automatically Stream Photos from iPhone to a Mac Screen Saver with Photo Stream

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What is actual time in which this method complete?

The time to complete the Automatically Stream Photos from iPhone to a Mac Screen Saver with Photo Stream tutorial is 10+ minutes.

What are the supported Device?

Apple

What are the supported Operating system?

mac OS


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