how to (sort of) selectively upload your idevice photos to iCloud

the iCloud service allows you to back up your music, pics and more in cloud storage, and download it to your idevice later if you suffer the dreaded crash.  the problem with the photo backup is that once a picture is on iCloud, you can’t delete it unless you delete the entire photo backup.  just like crushing an ant with a giant boulder, it is a total overkill.  one way to get around it is to selectively back up your iphone pictures to iCloud.  it is still a giant pain in the a~*, but at least it’s an option.  (i don’t think this will work for your computers; i think this is only for iphones, ipod touches and ipads running iOS 5.)

let’s look at the iphone’s iOS 5 settings.  first, go to the settings panel, and there you’ll find the iCloud tab.  tap it.

you’re now in the iCloud control panel.  scroll down a little to find the photo stream tab.  tap it.

now you’re in the photo stream control panel.  if it’s off, you’ll see the following text.

turn on the photo stream to back up your new pics to cloud.  but notice the text says ” . . . uploads new photos . . . when connected to Wi-Fi.”  hmm.  to confirm this, let’s look at apple’s photo stream FAQ.

notice the underlined text reads “new photos . . . will be automatically uploaded to your Photo Stream when you . . . are connected to Wi-Fi.”  basically, as long as you stay off wifi, your new pictures will not be loaded to iCloud, which gives you the flexibility to select which photo you want to upload.  so whatever pictures you don’t want on the iCloud, just delete them from your idevice (or back them up separately before you delete them) BEFORE you connect to wifi.  when you’re ready, connect to wifi and the new pics you want on the iCloud will be automatically uploaded.

i know this is a pain in the a~* and very redundant, since you can just bypass iCloud and use other cloud services.  but until apple decides to let us delete the iCloud pictures directly, there isn’t a whole lot you can do with your pics once they are uploaded.  this is a very clumsy solution, but it’s an option.  try it out if you have to use iCloud as your photo backup on your idevices, and let’s hope that apple will add the feature in the new iOS update.

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