How to Share Photos, Websites, and Files on the iPad

The Share button is easily one of the most useful features on the iPad's interface. It allows you to share... almost anything. You can share photos, websites, notes, music, movies, restaurants, and even your current location. And you can share these things through email, text message, Facebook, Twitter, iCloud, Dropbox or simply share your printer.  

The location of the Share button will change based on the app, but it is usually either at the top of the screen or the very bottom of the screen. The standard Share button is a box with an arrow pointing out the top. It is usually blue, but some apps use different colors. For example, the icon looks almost identical in the Open Table app except it is red. A few apps use their own button for sharing, which is not only unfortunate because it can confuse users, it is also a bad interface design for that very reason. Luckily, even when a designer changes the button image, it usually has the box with an arrow pointing out the theme, so it should look similar. 

The Share Button

Businessman using tablet in conference room
Alistair Berg / Getty Images

When you tap the Share button, a menu will appear with all of the options you have for sharing. This window includes two rows of buttons. The first row of buttons is designated for ways to share such as text messaging or Facebook. The second row is for actions like copying to the clipboard, printing or saving to cloud storage.  

How to Use AirDrop to Share

Above these buttons is the AirDrop area. The easiest way to share your contact information, a website, a photo or a song with someone that is at your table or standing next to you is through AirDrop. By default, only people who are in your contacts list will show here, but you can change this in the iPad's control panel. If they are in your contacts list and they have AirDrop enabled, a button with their profile picture or initials will show up here. Simply tap the button and they will be prompted to confirm the AirDrop.

How to Set up Sharing for Third-Party Apps

If you want to share to apps like Facebook Messenger or Yelp, you will need to do a quick setup first. If you scroll through the list of buttons on the share menu, you will find a final More button with three dots as the button. When you tap the button, a list of sharing options will appear. Tap the on/off switch next to the app to enable sharing.  

You can even move Messenger to the front of the list by tapping and holding the three horizontal lines next to the app and sliding your finger up or down the list. Tap the Done button at the top of the screen to save your changes.

This works for the second row of buttons as well. If you have a Dropbox or Google Drive account or some other form of file sharing, you can scroll through the buttons and tap the More button. As above, simply turn on the service by tapping the on/off switch. 

The New Share Button

This new Share button was introduced in iOS 7.0. The old Share button was a box with a curved arrow sticking out of it. If your Share button looks different, you may be using a previous version of iOS.

The Share Menu

iPad Share Menu


The Share menu allows you to share files and documents with other devices, upload them to the internet, show them on your TV via AirPlay, print them to a printer among other tasks. The Share menu is context sensitive, which means the features available will depend on what you are doing when you access it. For example, you won't have the option to assign a photo to a contact or use it as your wallpaper if you aren't viewing a photo at that time.

  • Message: This button lets you send a text message. If you are viewing a photo, the photo will be attached.
  • Mail: This will take you into the mail application. You can enter in an additional text before sending the email.
  • iCloud: This will allow you to save the file on iCloud. If you are viewing a photo, you can choose which photo stream to use when saving it.
  • Twitter/Facebook: You can easily update your status via the Share menu using these buttons. You will need to have your iPad connected to these services for this to work.
  • Flickr/Vimeo: Flickr and Vimeo integration are new to iOS 7.0. As with Twitter and Facebook, you will need to connect your iPad to these services in the iPad's settings. You will only see these buttons if it is appropriate. For example, you will only see the Flickr button when you are viewing a photo or image.
  • Copy: This option copies your selection to the clipboard. This is useful if you want to do something like copy a photo and then paste it into another application.
  • Slideshow: This allows you to choose multiple photos and start a slideshow with them.
  • AirPlay: If you have Apple TV, you can use this button to connect your iPad to your TV. This is great for sharing a photo or movie with everyone in the room.
  • Assign to Contact: The contact's photo will show up when the call or text you.
  • Use as Wallpaper: You can assign photos as the wallpaper of your lock screen, your home screen or both.
  • Print: If you have an iPad-compatible or AirPrint printer, you can use the share menu to print documents.