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MyPhotostream: All your Photo Stream, none of the bloat

Dan Moren | Jan. 30, 2014
Apple's Photo Stream aims to make it easier to share pictures between your various Apple devices, but using the feature on your Mac can be annoying: Doing so requires you to fire up iPhoto or Aperture just to see your pictures, and waiting for the hulks that those programs have become, just to see the photos you took on your iPhone, is overkill.

Apple's Photo Stream aims to make it easier to share pictures between your various Apple devices, but using the feature on your Mac can be annoying: Doing so requires you to fire up iPhoto or Aperture just to see your pictures, and waiting for the hulks that those programs have become, just to see the photos you took on your iPhone, is overkill.

To simplify the process, Raffael Hannemann created the $4 MyPhotostream, a lightweight app that does just one thing: displays the pictures in your Photo Stream. Specifically, each time you launch the app, it checks your Photo Stream and shows a grid of thumbnails for those photos.

The only viewing option you have is to choose if those thumbnails are small, medium, or large. Personally, I'd prefer a slider for size, like the one found in many other photo-viewing apps. MyPhotostream also loads only around 40 images at a time — to see more, you must click a plus-sign (+) button at the end of the list, which can get annoying if a photo you want to view is a month or two old. Additional options for sorting, or grouping by month, would go a long way toward making the interface more friendly.

To see a larger version of an image, you just double-click it. When viewing a single photo, arrow buttons let you jump to the next or previous photo in your Photo Stream; other buttons let you close the image, access sharing options, or save the image to your drive. MyPhotostream also supports Quick Look previews, which you can trigger by selecting an image and then pressing Spacebar. Oddly, you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to skip between images only when using the Quick Look preview.

If you want to work with an image from your Photo Stream, MyPhotostream provides a few options. Control-clicking any image presents a variety of options, ranging from saving the image to your Downloads folder; to sending it via email, Messages, or AirDrop; to sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, or Flickr — any social media account configured in OS X's Internet Accounts pane. You also get a list of apps that can handle the particular image type — select one of these apps to open the image in that app. Dragging an image thumbnail to the Finder copies the full photo to that location.

As new photos are added to your Photo Stream, MyPhotostream alerts you with a banner in Notification Center. Sometimes there's a considerable delay between, say, taking a picture on your iPhone and having it show up on your Mac, but in my experience that's an issue with how Photo Stream works (or your network connection) rather than with MyPhotostream.

 

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