RAW Computing

View Photo Stream photos as a screen saver on the Mac

There are some great screen savers in OS X on the Apple Mac and they can be very entertaining. One that you might not have discovered though, is the Photo Stream screen saver. If you have an iOS device such as an iPhone or iPad and take photos, there is an option to sync them with iCloud and Photo Stream. It basically means that every photo you take is synced with every other device and the Mac too.

With Photo Stream as your screen saver you can shoot a photo on your iPhone or iPad and it appears a minute later as your Mac's screen saver, without needing to plug in the device and sync it. It's even better if other family members use the same iCloud account, such as your partner or children because they can be out shooting photos and you'll see them on your screen seconds later!

I'm using the latest versions of OS X and iPhoto. This may not work if you are using old versions, but try it anyway.

Enable Photo Stream

Start iPhoto and go to Preferences on the iPhoto menu. Select Photo Stream and make sure all the options are turned on. This will ensure that photos taken elsewhere, such as on your iPhone or iPad, will automatically be sync wirelessly with your Mac.

Photo Stream

Set the screen saver

Go to System Preferences on the Apple menu and select Desktop & Screen Saver. Select the Screen Saver tab. Select one of the slideshows screen savers in the left panel, such as Floating, Flip-up, or my favourite, Ken Burns. Set the time to wait before the screen saver kicks in at the bottom, such as 5 or 10 minutes.

On the right is Source and clicking the button displays a pop-up list of sources. On the list is a section called Recent photo events with Photo Streams organised by month. Select the one you want - choosing the current month will show the latest photos and new ones as they are taken. (Initially, Photo Stream didn't appear on the Source list on my Mac, but after going into it, backing out and going back in, last month appeared, then this month. That's odd, but maybe it just takes a minute or so for iPhoto to register as a source.)

Photo Stream

If you want to see the screen saver right now, just click the preview window. Otherwise close Preferences and next time your Mac is idle the screen saver will kick in and show your latest photos.

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