Sharing Your Photos with iCloud Photo Sharing

by Sarah Dobson on January 13, 2020

For many of us, some of the fun of taking photos (or videos) is sharing them with friends and family. If we want to share just one photo, email or Messages works nicely, but for lots of images that showcase a vacation or other special event, we use iCloud Photo Sharing.

iCloud Photo Sharing is a feature in Apple’s Photos app that makes it easy to create a shared album and to invite other iCloud users to subscribe to it. You can also share the album as a Web page that anyone can see, even if they don’t have an iCloud account or use Apple devices.

To make this work, begin by turning on iCloud Photo Sharing:

  • On a Mac, open System Preferences > iCloud, click the Options button next to Photos, select iCloud Photo Sharing, and click the Done button.
  • On an iPad or iPhone, go to Settings > Photos, scroll down if needed, and turn on the iCloud Photo Sharing (not iCloud Photo Library!) switch.

Now it’s time to put your photos into a shared photo album. Follow these steps:

  1. In the Photos app, select the photos (or videos) that you want to share. If it’s too hard to select them all in one go, that’s fine, you can add more later. On the Mac, Command-click the items you want or drag a selection rectangle around them. In iOS, tap Select and then tap the items.
  2. Hit the Share  button, and choose iCloud Photo Sharing.
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  3. Click or tap “Shared Album” and then tap New Shared Album.
  4. Name the album (in iOS, tap Next).
  5. Consider the two choices for sharing your album. You can go with either or both:
    • You can share with other iCloud users—if you want to share in this way, enter their email addresses here. These people will be able to add their own photos or videos (unless you disallow it) and make comments, so this option could be perfect for a group of iCloud users who want to share photos from a common event, like a wedding or school play (in iOS, tap Next).
    • You can share with anyone as a Web page. With this option, viewers don’t need to be iCloud users. Keep reading to find out how to set this up.
  6. Type an optional comment, and click Create (in iOS, tap Post).
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Your new album appears in the Shared category of Photos, accessible from the left-hand sidebar on the Mac, or from the bottom of the screen in iOS (if necessary, back out of the view until you see the cloud-shaped Shared button at the bottom of the screen).

Any iCloud users with whom you’ve shared the album will receive an email message inviting them to subscribe. They’ll need to click a button within the message to subscribe. Once they’ve subscribed, the album will appear in the Shared category of their Photos app.

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Now it’s time to configure your album, so open the album and hit the People button at the top of the screen (on the bottom in iOS). You see various options, including a few aimed at any iCloud subscribers: select a name to send the invitation email again or to uninvite them. You can also invite more people by clicking or tapping the plus sign. If you don’t want invited people to add their own items to the album, turn off Subscribers Can Post.

You can also turn on the Public Website option. This will create the page and display its address, which you can copy to the Mac’s Clipboard by Control-clicking it and choosing Copy Link (in iOS, tap Share Link to access sharing options). A button at the bottom of this area lets you delete the album—you may have to scroll down to see it.

It’s easy to add more photos:

  • On the Mac, drag photos onto the name of the shared album in the sidebar.
  • In iOS, open the album, tap the + button in the bottom row of the photo grid, select the items to add, tap Done, enter an optional comment, and tap Post.

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