How to Use iCloud Photo Sharing on Your iPad

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 the album. You can even choose to let your friends post their own photos and even create a public webpage to allow anyone with a web browser to view the photos.

Share Photos and Video Using iCloud Sharing

A woman shooting video with her iPad
Public Domain / Pixabay

If you have not already turned on iCloud Photo Library, you can do so by opening the iPad's settings, scrolling to iCloud in the left-side menu and choosing Photos from the iCloud settings. In the Photo settings, tap the on/off switch at the top of the screen. In order to use shared iCloud albums, you will also need to have iCloud Photo Sharing turned on. This switch is at the bottom of the iCloud settings and should be on by default.

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". The "Upload to My Photo Stream" setting is another way to send photos to your other devices, but it is largely redundant if you have iCloud Photo Library turned on.

How to Copy Photos to an iCloud Shared Folder

Selecting photos in the Photos app
In order to share individual photos, you need to be within an album in the Photos app.

We'll do all of our work in the Photos app. (Find out how to launch an app without searching for it.) There are several ways to share your photos to an iCloud album, but we'll concentrate on the easiest method.  

First, we need to go to the Albums sections of Photos. You can choose Albums by tapping the Albums button at the bottom of the screen. If the screen is filled up with photos rather than photo albums, you will need to hit the "back" link. This link is located in the top-left corner and will read something like "< Albums". 

Next, choose "All Photos". This album contains every photo stored locally, so you should find the photos you want to share it. In the All Photos album, navigate by swiping up and down on the screen until you find the photos you want to share. 

Once you've located them, tap the "Select" button. This will take you to a screen that allows you to select multiple photos and send them to a shared album. 

Select the Photos You Want to Share

iCloud Photo Sharing in the Photos app
The Photos selection screen lets you select multiple photos.

The selection screen makes it easy to select multiple photos. Simply scroll through the photos as normal and select an individual photo by tapping on it with your finger. A blue circle with a check mark will appear on the bottom-right corner of all photos you have selected.

Once you have 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. 

Tapping the Share Button brings up a screen with options on where to share these photos. You can share them in a text message, email, Facebook, etc. The "iCloud Photo Sharing" button is in the middle of the first row. Tap this button to send the photos to a shared album.

Select or Create a Shared Album for the Photos

Selecting the destination in iCloud Photo Sharing
You can create a new shared album directly from the album selection window.

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.  

In order to choose a different album or create a new album, tap "Shared Album" at the bottom of the pop-up window. This will take you to a screen listing all of your shared albums. Simply tap on the album you want to use and the screen will revert back to the main iCloud Photo Sharing screen.

If you want to create a new shared album, tap the plus sign (+) next to "New Shared Album". You will be asked to name the album. Type in the name and tap "Next" at the top-right of the pop-up screen.

The next screen prompts for those people you would like to give permission to view the photos or upload photos of their own. When you start typing a name, a selection of contacts will appear below the To: line. You can select the person at any time. You can also tap the plus sign with the circle around it to scroll through your contacts. You can choose multiple people to have access to the shared photo. When you are done selecting contacts, tap the Next button to return to the main iCloud Photo Sharing screen.

The last step is to actually post the photos. You can do this 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.

Share the Photo to a Web Page or Add More People to the Shared List

If you want to change the settings for a shared photo album, first navigate to the Shared section of Photos by tapping the Share button at the bottom of the screen. It has an icon that looks like a cloud.

In the Shared section, choose the album you want to modify. (If you only see photos, tap the "> Sharing" button at the top-left corner of the screen.

Next, tap the People link at the top of the screen. This will drop down a window that allows you to invite more people to the album. You can also choose whether or not subscribers can post their own photos and videos.  

You can turn on the public website feature by tapping the on/off switch. This will create a website for you to share. Tap "Share Link" to either send a message or email with the website link or simply copy it to the clipboard.

These Directions Work in Most Areas of 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. The collections section is a great way to quickly find the photos you want to share. 

You can also share videos to a shared album. This even works with the "memories" slideshows that you create in the Photos app.