One of the easiest ways to share memories with loved ones is through a shared cloud drive. But so far, Apple’s ecosystem has lacked a native system to do so. Google Photos, on the other hand, has been offering a really polished media sharing experience for a while now.
With iOS 16, this sharing feature has finally arrived on the iPhone, thanks to a feature called iCloud Shared Photo Library. In addition to creating a collaborative album that others can contribute to, the system also allows partners to make comments. And with cameras on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro better than ever, having an easy way to share those memories is a must.
How to get your iPhone ready for album sharing
The first step to creating a shared album is to activate it through the iCloud media sharing system. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: To open Settings app on your iPhone and tap your name at the top.
Step 2: When you land on the Apple ID page, tap iCloud option at the top of the list.
Step 3: On the iCloud section, tap Pictures.
Step 4: Scroll down on the Photos page and activate Shared albums toggle.
How to create and share a photo album
Now that you’ve activated the basic system behind creating a shared iCloud photo album, it’s time to move on and create the collaborative album. Here are the steps you need to take:
Step 1: To open Pictures app on your iPhone.
Step 2: Start the album view by pressing Album option at the bottom.
Step 3: After entering album mode, tap + icon at the top left and select New shared album in the context menu.
Step 4: On the next page, you will be asked to choose a name for your shared album.
Step 5: After selecting a name, tap Create button.
Step 6: Now you have two options. Choose from your contacts, or create a publicly shareable link. To do so, activate Public website toggle.
Step 7: Once you’ve done that, a link button will appear below. Just tap it to copy the URL to your clipboard. You can now share it on any platform you want via the share sheet or open a communication app.
Step 8: You can invite people to collaborate directly by adding/removing photos from the album using the contact button that appears at the top.
Some tips to keep in mind
The notable aspect here is that you can extend a shared album invitation even to people who don’t use iCloud. For them, the Public Site option provides access to the shared album via the URL generated in the Photos app. You can also create shared albums from iPad and Mac.
However, as the person who created the shared album in the first place, you can also add or remove members as you see fit. Another difference is how contributions work. A collaborator can only add new photos and delete the ones they have added.
However, the Album Creator may delete any media or comments posted by a Contributor. Also, if you delete an image, it is automatically deleted on all participating devices. If you’ve shared the link to an album that opens online, deleting the album also permanently deletes the online version.
In case you’re wondering, shared albums support still images in HEIF, JPEG, RAW, PNG, GIF, and TIFF formats. As for videos, you can upload clips saved in HEVC, MP4, QuickTime, MPEG-4 and H.264 file formats.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that a shared iCloud album can only store a maximum of 5,000 items. Apple notes that the photos and videos in a shared album “do not count against your iCloud storage limit.”
Speaking of iCloud, Apple recently launched its new Advanced Data Protection feature that places a broader set of your data—including your photos and videos—behind a wall of end-to-end encryption. You can learn all about it and the steps to enable it in this guide.
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