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macOS: Photos Won’t Sync Photo Stream [Solved]

One of the handiest features of the Photos app (which replaced iPhoto in 2015) is its ability to automatically sync with your Photo Stream. As long as you have Photo Stream sharing enabled on your iPhone, you never have to plug in your phone to your computer in order to import your pictures to Photos.

I just bought my wife a new/old Macbook Air last Christmas. And in spite of enabling My Photo Stream in Photos > Preferences > iCloud, her Photo Stream pictures just weren’t showing up in Photos.

photo stream wont sync photos app troubleshooting fix

It had everything up until January, which made me think it was working, but Photos was out of date. It turns out; it wasn’t working at all. The fix was quick, but sort of frustrating (what happened to “it just works,” Apple?).

To “unstick” Photo Stream in Photos, here’s what I did:

  1. Close the Photos app by right-clicking it and hitting Quit.

    photo stream wont sync photos app troubleshooting fix

  2. Launch Activity Monitor. You can find this under Applications > Utilities. Or you can hit <COMMAND> + <SPACE> and type in Activity Monitor.

    photo stream wont sync photos app troubleshooting fix

  3. In the top-right, search for “photos.”
  4. Look for Photos Agent. Select it and click the X in the top-left to force quit it.

    photo stream wont sync photos app troubleshooting fix

  5. Re-launch Photos and see if it worked.
  6. If not, close Photos, go back to Activity Monitor and force quit the two processes that start with “com.apple.photos…” and the one that starts with “com.apple.CloudPhotos…” Launch photos and try again.

    photo stream wont sync photos app troubleshooting fix

Alright, that’s all. I hope it works for you—it worked for me!

Have you had any issues with the Photos app or Photo Stream? Tell me your troubles in the comments.

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