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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

138 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

It worked, thank you so much!

Only worked for my iPad; not iPhone. All settings are correct and only SOMETIMES this ‘fix’ works; but mostly not. Any clues??

Worked perfectly on my retina MacBook running Sierra to get my iPhone pics to show up, thanks!


VERY HELPFUL! I have had this problem for months, and finally fixed it!!! Thank you!

Perfect. My new MacBook Pro Photo Stream was stuck, and this worked perfectly. Thank you.

It worked straightaway. I would never have known how to do this without your assistance. Many thanks.

Rosemary Thomas
July 9th, 2017, 4:24 AM

All fixed. Many thanks for making it so simple to follow.

I dont know why you stopped writing in this blog. YOu have excellent collection of tutorials for mac. Please consider starting to blog again. So many useful problem-solving articles.


I used these steps to fix my Photo Stream and it worked to perfection. Thanks!

Worked great. Got all my photos from my phone and iPad on my MacBook Pro again. Thanks so much!

WOW, it really works!!! All the photos in my photo stream appear again!!!!! Thanks!!!!

Superfab advice.
Many many thanks!

christopher putnam
October 3rd, 2017, 9:12 PM

Based on all the positive replies to this fix, I was very hopeful this would solve the problem, but sadly it did not. Very frustrating my iPad Pro and MacBook Pro are no longer sharing photos subsequent to loading Sierra 10.12.6

Your tip worked great thanks!

For me, past photos not visible in Mac Photos stream !!

Can we so many on my iPhone

perfect thank you!

Thanks so much. Your instructions solved my problem.

Perfect! Finally my photo stream is syncing again… Thank you !!

I have been having this issue for about a year now and the solution works each time but it continues to pop up. I have a Macbook Pro running Sierra. Any ongoing solutions that you may have? Really helpful info. Thank you. chris

Worked brilliant, have been beating my head against desk all day trying to find out what to do and this answered it in seconds. Thank you.

It worked!!!Thank you so much – this has been driving me crazy for weeks – just didn’t have time to deal with it.

This worked! Thank you so much.

Why or how did this work!

UNREAL !!! Problem fixed, back to normal.”Thanks so much for your help”

Worked here too! Thanks so much.

Anyone knows why this is happening with so many people, and why Apple doesn’t fix it?

Thanks, worked perfectly

Thanks for the steps. This issue was perplexing me for a few days, found these well written steps, tried for iPhone and Mac, and it worked in the first try. But for one of my iPads it did not work. After a couple of tries, I found that iPad iOS wasn’t upgraded for sometime. After upgrading, repeated the steps and it worked.

Frustrated, my photos stop loading and I have to repeat these steps again and again. This time I can’t quite the processes in the activity monitor. Anyone experienced this? What did you do about it? Thank you.

This is a great workaround but I find myself having to repeat these steps all the time. Any advice on how to fix the problem permanently? Thanks.

I have the same problem as bbarr. Works one time then not the next and i have to do it again. Really need a permanent solution for my MacBook Pro High Sierra 10.13.3

Unfortunately this did not work for me …my photos used to share across all of my iOS devices and appear on my mac almost as soon as they were taken. Any other solutions other than to quit the processes?

KINDLY DISREGARD! I went through the process again and this time it has worked, thank you!

OMG, it worked! I’ve been wasting hours trying to get this resolved. Thank you!

Did not work. My photos used to automatically transfer to the iPhoto app. It doesn’t anymore and they don’t appear on the Photo app either. I can’t access all my Christmas pics and the pics we took in our Panama trip. Really disappointed

very upsetting, this did not work for me. my photos stopped sharing in the middle of december and i am so frustrated!!! does anyone know another possible way to fix this

It worked on my 27″ iMac. Thanks very much!

Kimberly S Latta
April 21st, 2020, 9:42 AM

I go to photos preferences and Icloud but there is no option for photostream!!!

Didn’t work

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