How to Set Up iCloud & Photo Stream on Windows 8

Setting up iCloud for Windows 8 will allow users to automatically download Photo Stream photos to a Windows 8 computer without the need to connect  an iPhone or iPad.

The iPhone and iPad make it easy to automatically backup and share photos with Photo Stream on iOS 5 and iOS 6. This means most iPhone and iPad users can quickly share their photos to their computer.

With iCloud for Windows 8 setup, Windows users can also upload photos taken on a point and shoot or DSLR to Photo Stream by placing them in a special folder.

Set up iCloud and Photo Stream on Windows 8 to sync photos automatically.

Set up iCloud and Photo Stream on Windows 8 to sync photos automatically.

iCloud and Photo Stream on Windows 8 is free to use and takes about 15 minutes to setup. After the initial setup, photos should arrive automatically as long as the Windows 8 computer is connected to the Internet.

iPhone and iPad users will need to make sure Photo Stream is turned on in order for this to work. On the iPhone or iPad tap on Settings -> iCloud -> Photos -> My Photo Stream -> On.

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With that accomplished, here’s how to setup Photo Stream on Windows 8.

How to Setup Photo Stream on Windows 8

Download the iCloud Windows 8 setup utility directly from Apple. Apple does not mention Windows 8 in the main description, but this the file you want. Apple calls this the iCloud Control Panel for Windows. As of now it is the iCloud Control Panel 2.1.2 for Windows. This same file should also work with Windows 8.1 which is expected this fall.

Install the iCloud Control panel for Windows 8.

Install the iCloud Control panel for Windows 8.

Once the iCloud Control Panel for Windows is downloaded, open it up and start the installation. When prompted accept the license agreement. Choose if the iCloud Control Panel should automatically update. For most users this is a good idea. When ready, click Install. A User Account Control window may pop up asking if you want to allow iCloud Control Panel to make changes to this computer. Click Yes.

The install process will take three to five minutes, and will include another pop-up asking for permission to make changes to your computer. When it completes a screen will show “Welcome to iCloud” and include a finish button. Click Finish to open iCloud preferences.

Sing into iCloud to set up Photo Stream on a Windows 8 PC.

Sing into iCloud to set up Photo Stream on a Windows 8 PC.

When iCloud opens on Windows 8 you will need to sign in with your Apple ID. This is the same username and email you use to buy music and apps in iTunes and on the iPhone or iPad. If you cannot remember this password, user the Forgot Apple ID option at the bottom of this screen.

Choose Photo Stream settings in Windows 8.

Choose Photo Stream settings in Windows 8.

After signing in to iCloud on Windows 8 you will see the following screen, showing your iCloud backup space and iCloud Photo Stream options. In this case, iCloud will sync Photo Stream to the computer, but directs users to iCloud.com to see mail, contacts, reminders and notes. Users can still sync favorites to Internet Explorer.

With the Photo Stream box checked, Photo Stream photos will automatically start downloading to the Pictures folder inside a special Photo Stream folder. Users can also upload photos to Photo Stream by copying them into this folder. If someone shares a Photo Stream, those photos will also download to Windows 8 as well.

Select Photo Stream upload and download locations and decide if you want to download shared Photo Streams.

Select Photo Stream upload and download locations and decide if you want to download shared Photo Streams.

Users can click on Options to change these settings or pick a new location to save photos downloaded from Photo Stream.

To upload photos to Photo Stream, place them in the Photo Stream folder, and they should soon appear on your iPhone and iPad.

If you share the computer with multiple users and want to connect multiple iCloud accounts you will need to give each person their own Windows 8 account and repeat the setup.

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Photo Stream currently only supports photos, but iOS 7 will add support for videos in the Photo Stream. We may see an update to the iCloud Control Panel for Windows to let users choose whether or not to download videos when that update arrives on the iPhone and iPad in Fall 2013.

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