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Recover lost iCloud Photo Stream photos

Alexandra Malureanu

by Alexandra Malureanu

How to recover iCloud pictures from your iPhone's Photo Stream in 3 steps

If you don't already know, photos stored in Photo Stream in iCloud aren't part of your iCloud backup, and don't take up your iCloud storage. That's pretty neat. However, only the last 30 days of photos will be saved there, and after those 30 days the images will be removed.

We've had a user write in to ask:

My iPhone was stolen and I remember I had an album called Photo Stream. How can I get those photos back?

Let's solve this problem.

My Photo Stream shown in Photos
My Photo Stream shown in Photos

Each time you're in range of a Wi-Fi connection, and new photos you've taken will be uploaded and synced to Photo Stream. So up to the moment your device was stolen you'll be a record of those photos.

If you sign in back into your iCloud account and enable Photo Stream on another iOS device or computer, you'll see them pop up. However, you shouldn't try to sign into your account in Settings > iCloud on someone else's device -- or you risk their data being merged with or replaced by yours.

Instead, we can use iPhone Backup Extractor to download Photo Stream photos without needing a replacement iPhone or iTunes to hand. Note that you'll need your iCloud credentials at hand.

  1. Download and install iPhone Backup Extractor (PC & Mac), then sign in to iCloud

    You can sign in by clicking on the + button, or the "Click here to add an iCloud account" text. Our Pro edition unlocks all limitations and gives full access to downloading your iCloud and Photo Stream content.

    Sign in to iCloud
    Sign in to iCloud

  2. Explore your iCloud data or download your Photo Stream photos by clicking on your iCloud account when it appears on the left-hand side of the app. You'll see once you click on your account, icons representing your Photo Stream and other services you use in iCloud will be shown.

    Downloading Photo Stream
    Downloading Photo Stream

  3. Hit download and you're done. 🎉 Your photos will be saved to a folder of your choice on your computer.

If you need an extra hand, we've a video guide that takes you through the process:

If you'd like to recover your photos from iCloud Photo Library or just from your Camera Roll, we've got a guide for that, too.

Back up your iPhone regularly to prevent losing any important information.

Have you lost data that you couldn't recover? We'd love to hear from you -- and help -- in the comments below.

Alexandra Malureanu

by Alexandra Malureanu on , last updated

We've helped over 3,000,000 people recover their lost iPhone data. Let us help you too.

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iCloud and iTunes support

Works with Windows and Mac

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5 iCloud devices


This is iPhone Backup Extractor, think of it as a "personal forensics" utility. It's pretty awesome.

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