In August, Bradley Chambers wisely observed that Photo Stream was almost the inverse of what it should be:
Apple should store ALL photos/video taken with your iPhone and just store the most recent 1000 (or 30 days) locally on the device.
That’s pretty much what’s going to happen starting today. From an Apple support article:
There is no limit to the number of photos you can upload to My Photo Stream over time, but iCloud limits the number of photos that can be uploaded within a given hour, day, or month to prevent unintended or excessive use. […]
There is no limit to the amount of photos you can upload to My Photo Stream over longer periods (such as several months or years). Photos uploaded to My Photo Stream or shared photo streams are not counted against your iCloud Storage.
An automatic, hassle-free backup of every photo you’ve ever taken? That’s sublime, and exactly how Photo Stream should work. And you can simply delete any photos from your Camera Roll which you don’t want to keep locally (though I believe there’s some sort of cache for Photo Stream). Great news.
Now all Apple needs to do is make iOS device backups not count against iCloud’s storage limit — another one of Chambers’ suggestions.
Update: Apparently, Photo Stream (possibly) keeps full-sized copies of photos on the device in addition to the copy in the Camera Roll. Wouldn’t it be simpler if the Photo Stream album replaced the Camera Roll? Isn’t the Camera Roll album now redundant?
The photos you upload to My Photo Stream are stored in iCloud for 30 days to give your devices plenty of time to connect and download them.
So you can upload (pretty much) all the photos you want, but they’ll only be there for 30 days. Shared Photo Streams don’t have a time limit. What a shame. My apologies for getting this one wrong.