Using iCloud Photo Sharing to share your pics with family and friends

One of the questions I get asked the most is “When I’m using Apple Photos, what is the best way to share my photos with others?”

You could use the Apple Family Sharing plan, but that will entail a bit of a set up, plus a subscription fee for iCloud storage (This would be in addition to any iCloud account you may already have in your name).

Some folks have asked me if they could have other family members sign into their iCloud account. The problem with that is everybody who signs in will not only have their photos shared, but also their Contacts, Documents and whatever else they have backed up to iCloud as well. Not a good answer!

The easiest way and cheapest (its free) way to share your photos is to use iCloud Photo Sharing. This is how it works.

Image #1

Image #1

  1. Go to your phone’s settings and scroll down to Photos.
  2. Turn on iCloud Photo Sharing (it will work even if you don’t have iCloud Photo Library turned on). See Image #1.
  3. Click out of Settings and go to your Photos app.
  4. Go to All Photos or any album you have set up and click Select in the top right corner.
  5. Select the photos you want to share by either clicking on them or swiping over several photos. A check mark should appear on each photo selected.
  6. Click on the Share icon, which is a small box with an arrow going through the top of it.
  7. Look for the iCloud Photo Sharing option in the top row. See Image #2.
  8. If it is the first time you are sharing photos with that person, click on Shared Album and then hit + New Shared Album, which will then ask you to name it. What I recommend is, if this is going to be shared with someone you expect to share more photos with in the future, name the album with that person’s name as well as yours, something like Abby and Peter’s album. Otherwise you can name it for the event or whatever best describes it.
  9. You can write some text if you want.
  10. Lastly, enter in the person’s email or textable phone number and hit Post. They will receive a notice asking them if they will accept. All the photos shared will be added to a new album in their Photos app with the photos and the name you gave the album.
Image #2

Image #2

To share photos from your Photos desktop app, first make sure iCloud Photo Sharing is enabled in Preferences. Then select your photos and hit the Share icon, either on the top right of the toolbar. You will then see the same options for setting up a new Share album or choosing from and existing one.

Whenever you want to share more photos with that friend or family member, you can simply select the photos, but instead of creating a new album, just add them to the album you previously created (Abby and Peter’s album). It will already know the email or phone number of that person, just hit Post.

The great thing is that now the other person can also send photos to you. They just add their photos to that same shared album and voila, it soon appears in that Shared Album on your device or computer.

All Shared Albums can be found on your iPhone by clicking Shared on the bottom row in the Photos app, or under Shared in the sidebar of your desktop Photos app. You also add other people by clicking on People at the bottom of the Shared album on your phone.

One last thing to know. All photos that you share or are shared with you, are optimized smaller files, they will not take up much storage on your phone or computer. That’s good. If however you want to add the full sized versions to your collection you can. On your computer, select the images in the Shared Album that you want to add, and then Control click (or right click) and choose Import.

To add them on your phone, select the images and click on the Share icon. Find and choose Save Image or Images on the bottom row to add them. Sharing your photos with others should now be pretty easy. Show others how simple it is and then enjoy!