How to Use iCloud Photo Sharing on Your iPad

Easily store and share your photos in the cloud

An iPad taking a photo of an iPhone taking a photo
James Mitchell / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The iCloud Photo Library is a great way to store all of your photos on the cloud and get access to them across all of your devices, but what if you want to share those ballet recital photos with the grandparents, the video of that home run with a friend or those after-work pictures with the people from your company that weren't able to make it?

iCloud Photo Sharing allows you to create shared photo albums and invite your friends to view it. You can even choose to let your friends post their own photos and create a public webpage to allow anyone to view the album.

These instructions apply to devices running iOS 9 and later.

How to Turn on iCloud Sharing

To make your iCloud photo album, you need to turn on sharing first. Here's how.

  1. The iPad Settings app
  2. Tap your name in the left-side menu.

    Apple ID in Settings on an iPad
  3. Select iCloud.

    iCloud in iPad settings
  4. Tap Photos under Apps Using iCloud.

    iCloud settings on an iPad with Photos highlighted
  5. In the Photo settings, tap the on/off switch next to iCloud Photos at the top of the screen. To use shared iCloud albums, you'll also need to have the switch next to Shared Albums turned on. This setting is at the bottom of the window and should be on by default.

    Photos section of iCloud settings with the switches next to iCloud Photos and Shared Albums highlighted

  6. You have the option in the iCloud Photo Library settings to download the original full-sized picture on each device, but photos can quickly take up a lot of storage, so you may want to keep this setting at "Optimize iPad Storage."

    Photos section of iCloud settings with the check next to Optimize iPad Storage highlighted
  7. The Upload to My Photo Stream setting is another way to send photos to your other devices, but it is mostly redundant if you have iCloud Photo Library turned on.

How to Copy Photos to an iCloud Shared Folder

You have several options to share your photos to an iCloud album, but this is the easiest method.  

  1. Open the Photos app.

    Delete photos from iPad
  2. Tap Albums at the bottom of the screen, and then select Camera Roll.

    This album may also be called "All Photos."

    You don't need to be in the All Photos album to share photos to a shared album. You can be in any album including the Photos section of the app that divides your photos into collections by month and year.

    Delete photos from iPad
  3. Tap the "Select" button. Scroll through and select photos by tapping on them with your finger. A blue circle with a checkmark will appear on the bottom-right corner of all the photos you have selected.

    To select rows of images, drag your finger across the row and then down the right side.

    Delete photos from iPad
  4. Once you've selected all of the photos you want to send to the iCloud album, tap the Share Button at the top-left corner of the screen. The Share Button looks like a box with an arrow pointing up from within the box. 

    Photos app on an iPad with the Share button highlighted

  5. Tapping the Share Button brings up a screen with options on where to share these photos. Tap Shared Albums to send them to iCloud.

    Share menu on an iPad with the Shared Albums button highlighted
  6. A window will appear with a few options. You can use the iCloud Photo Sharing screen to share the photos to an existing album or create a new shared album. You can also type in a comment for the group of photos. 

    iCloud dialogue box for sharing an album
  7. To choose a different album or create a new one, tap "Shared Album" at the bottom of the pop-up window.

    iCloud dialogue box on an iPad with the My Album section highlighted
  8. On the next screen, tap on the album you want to use, and the screen will revert back to the main iCloud Photo Sharing screen.

    To create a new shared album, tap the plus sign (+) next to New Shared Album.

    Creating a new shared album in iCloud
  9. Type in the name and tap Next.

    Naming a new iCloud shared album on an iPad. The Next button is highlighted
  10. On the next screen, you'll decide whom you want to share your album with. When you start typing a name, a selection of contacts will appear below the To: line. You can also tap the plus sign to scroll through your contacts. You can choose multiple people to have access to the shared photo.

    When you're done selecting contacts, tap the Next button to return to the main iCloud Photo Sharing screen.

    Adding contacts to a shared iCloud photo album

  11. The last step is to actually post the photos by tapping the Post button in the top-right corner of the iCloud Photo Sharing screen.

    You can view shared photos through the Shared section of your Photos app. This Shared section acts much like the Albums section, but it only shows albums you have shared with your friends and family.

    iCloud album window with Post button highlighted
  12. You can also share videos to a shared album. This method even works with the "memories" slideshows that you create in the Photos app.