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My Photo Stream not updating in Mac Photos app?

My Photo Stream not updating in Mac Photos app?

Apple’s new Photos app for Mac may suddenly stop automatically importing images from My Photo Stream. That means photos from your iPhone and iPad aren’t making their way onto your Mac like you would expect. Here’s how to make My Photo Stream start syncing to Photos again.

Apple released Photos for Mac as a replacement for iPhoto earlier this year. For most people, the transition was smooth and Photos has been a great upgrade to a much more modern and streamlined app. After using the new app for several months without issue, I recently ran into a problem that prevented my iPhone photos from showing up on my Mac. It seemed to start a couple weeks ago, as I noticed my most recent pictures were missing from the Photos library. I hadn’t changed any settings to cause it – Photo Stream was just suddenly not working on my Mac anymore.

If you’re experiencing this issue and want to get My Photo Stream to start working on your Mac again, the fix should be easy. But first, confirm that My Photo Stream is enabled on your Mac by going to the Photos app, then Photos > Preferences in the menu bar. Click the iCloud tab and ensure the My Photo Stream box is checked. Second, confirm the same on your iPhone or iPad by going to Settings > iCloud > Photos. The My Photo Stream option should be turned on there. If both of these are already set correctly, follow the steps below:

  1. On your Mac, quit the Photos app.
  2. Launch the Activity Monitor app, which is located under Utilities in the Applications folder.
  3. In Activity Monitor, search for “photos” in the upper-right to filter through the list of running processes.
  4. There should be a few rows left on the screen. For “Photos Agent” and each of the ones starting with “” click on the row to select it, and then click the X icon in the upper-left.
  5. A confirmation message will appear. Click “Force Quit” to end the process.
  6. Once all of the processes mentioned in step 4 are gone, you can quit Activity Monitor.
  7. Open the Photos app again and, after a few moments, all of your latest photos should start importing from My Photo Stream.
Mac running slow after Yosemite upgrade

100 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

Philipp Richard
May 29th, 2016, 11:55 AM

Thanks a million, I already lost hope….

Thank you! That worked for me. Photos Mac OS X 10.11.5 had stopped auto importing photos from my photo stream.

It worked! Thank you so much!

Fantastic, thank you! Worked like a charm.

Thanks, I was able to import in photos after this, but force quit didn’t work on the photos agent as the processes was automatically restartet by the parent process. Killing the parent process worked, but beware as it is a system process and will restart your computer.

Thanks Ant worked a treat!

this worked for me before, but this time, there are 2 stubborn that i can’t get rid of. They keep coming back, and my photos won’t load to my mac. One is a and the other is a help!

Wow, huge thanks for this fix

It worked!!!! Thank you!!!! Always scary going into computer places I’ve never been.

I used this twice, works great. My question is, why has this started to happen? I never used to have this problem! It’s a fabulous easy fix, but I am concerned that this might be an early indication that something is amiss. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.

Thank you so much – you saved me! So grateful for that – after hours and hours and hours of trying to get this to work! I trusted your instructions and hit the x and bingo! Thanks you so much – viola! All working – thank you!!!!!!!

Ann Booth-Clibborn
July 16th, 2016, 6:44 AM

this is the only thing that works, the official Apple advice is hopeless – thank you

there are 2 stubborn that i can’t get rid of. They keep coming back, and my photos won’t load to my mac. One is a and the other is a help!

It worked for me! I was getting really frustrated my Photo Stream wouldn’t update. Thanks so much for posting how to fix the problem!

It worked several times, but the problem has persisted. Now when I try it, the lines do not go away, Still have no photo stream.

Excellent article. It worked for me. Thanks.

Thank you! This worked right away. Thanks for the easy insturctions.

I had this problem a few times and Apple was not sure what the issue was and took sometimes 2-3 dcalls to fix it. Very frustrating! Seems this is the answer and they did not even know it. Thank you

I wish I could say that your process worked for me, but it did not. One computer stopped importing last Friday (today is Monday_. The other computer stopped importing photos Aug. 1. Both my iPhone and iPad are just fine.

Worked brilliantly thanks so much!!

You are legend.

This solved my problems! Thank you…

I turned off my photo stream because I had filled up my free iCloud storage and didn’t want to pay extra to keep them there. I just upload my photos manually now into photos from my camera or iPhone, but the Photos Moments collection has not updated since 2015. When I do a search for all photos taken in 2016, it tells me I have over 1000 pictures. But when I click to go there, it doesn’t bring up a single photo. I can find the photos under the All Photos Album section but only some of those photos were actually catalogued into actual albums. Is there a way to update the Moments section without using the photo stream?

I tried and it worked for me on OS X El Capitan as well as macOS Sierra. Thanks

Thank you so much – I was in despair and thinking how I could get to an Apple centre to sort the problem!
You explain things very clearly unlike some other sites – thank you.

Thank you, worked for me but I had to Force Quit all of the Photo processes not just the ones.

Jean-Jacques BERNARD
October 10th, 2016, 4:36 AM

Great. After several attempts it finally worked. It’s a pity that Apple is unable to provide a solution on this problem. Thank a lot!

Perfect! It worked. Thanks!

I have been stumped on this for weeks, Thank you!!

Great answer! Worked like a champ.

Did not work for me. Still not getting the new pictures to my mac from my IPhone

Neil Zainal Mutalib
November 4th, 2016, 11:04 PM

Hello, Ant, unfortunately this did not solve my problem of importing (recent) photos from my Ipad. Is there any additional steps that could be done to solve this problem?

My specs are Macbook pro 15 inch, Mid 2012, 2.6 GHz intel core i7, 8Gb 1600Mhz DDR3

This did not work for me. One lines does not go away, Still have no photo stream.

Worked like a charm, but can you share why this works? I’m curious as to how that happens and why.

Thanks a million! “my photo stream” just disappeared from my albums on Photos. Your post came up when I googled it, did just as you so clearly instructed, and now it is back! Thanks for making this so easy!!!

You are a star! I’m on holiday in the Moroccan Atlas mountains and had been getting fed up trying to sync my photos from iPhone to Macbook and having found your post and instructions all is now working. A BIG THANKYOU.

Fantastic, worked a treat……you a real star

Guilherme de Souza
December 14th, 2016, 9:28 AM

Thank you very much, it really works. Even though there are many positive comments, I want to express my appreciation.

Thank you, this was the only advice that worked for me after visiting a lot of the other blogs for help with this issue.

Thank you! Worked perfectly. I am so grateful.

Didn’t work for me. Any other tips?

Bummer, didn’t work for me either.

My Photo Stream quit working a couple of days ago. iPhone 7 to a 2011 MacbookPro with El Cap iOS 10.11.6. Some comfort that I’m not the only one with this issue but now my only option is to import :(

thank you, this worked. I could not get any 2017 photos to move to mac. I was scared to try it because I don’t understand what is safe to do and what is not.

Fantastic, Thank you. It worked for me, but very worrying that there is a known problem and Apple do not seem to be fixing it.

Yep, this works. But needs to be done frequently :(

2015 Retina iMac. MacOS 10.12.2
Yes it works sometimes, but if I stay logged in to my user account for several days it doesn’t update. Even logging out and back in doesn’t always work. Sometimes a restart works, sometimes turning photo stream off and on works.
IOS devices cope why not MacOS? Wake up Apple, its supposed to be a premium product!

Thank you so much for your information. It works a treat. Just in case it is not clear, you must all delete all photo files that appear in the activity window once you type in photos. Cheers jp

Thank you. I have to do this frequently. I hope Apple can fix the issue soon.

It doesn’t work. I can’t force quit/end processes for a number of the photos processes. It takes multiple tries to force quit, then they immediately and perpetually reopen. Tried multiple restarts. Tried turning sharing off and on again, both in photos settings and in iCloud settings. Nothing works. Stopped syncing last year and I’ve tried every fix I can find. Apple tech support is more clueless than me.

Same problem as Jennifer- still can’t get them all to quit- keep popping up over and over and over- restarted, quit and restarted, forced quit and restarted- nothing. Any updates to this dilemma?

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