The Best Way to Share iPhone Photos with Family and Friends

The Best Way to Share iPhone Photos with Family and Friends

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Use the Shared Albums feature to easily share photos--even with non-Apple users.
 
Have you ever traveled in a group and wanted to share the iPhone photos you've captured? Or maybe you've been at a special event, like a wedding or birthday party and you can't figure out an easy way to gather photos from everyone--especially people not using an iPhone.
 
When my first grandson was born in February of 2014, I remember trying to figure out the best way to share photos and videos with my daughter. Those were the days of the cumbersome iPhoto on my Mac, so my preferred sharing method was using Dropbox. There may have been a way to share photos in iCloud, but I wasn't able to figure it out--and I'm a techie!
 
Fast forward to a few years later, and the sharing options are much easier! If you need to transfer a few photos, you can send a message, email, or use Airdrop. However, if you want to truly share photos with family an friends, using the 'Shared Album' feature that's built in to the Photos App is the best way to go.  
 
Here are some of the advantages of using Shared Albums on your iPhone:
 
  • It's easy to use. If you know how to create an album in the photos app, you know how to create a shared album. No need to learn another photo management system.
  • You have total control. You decide who to invite to your shared album (even people without an iCloud account), and decide whether or not they can post photos.
  • Your photos are safe. Since your shared information is stored in iCloud, you know your data is safe. No need to worry about 3rd party companies getting hacked and gaining access to your photos.
  • You get free storage! Photos and videos in your shared album don't count against your iCloud storage limit. You can create up to 200 shared albums, invite up to 200 people, and save up to 5,000 photos. Review Apple's Shared Album limits for current limitations.
 
Shared Albums used to be called iCloud Photo Sharing, which was previously known as shared Photo Streams. This free sharing feature is built into every iPhone or iPad running iOS8 or later.
 
Shared Albums are great to use for:
  • Family events, so multiple people can share their best photos!
  • Vacation photos, so everyone can contribute their unique perspective to the vacation--even those you left behind.
  • Family photos, especially when gathering for a memorial, so precious photos can be gathered in one spot.
 

Here’s how to get started using Shared Albums on your iPhone or iPad:

 
Step 1 - Turn on Photo Sharing
  • Go to Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > Photos > turn on Photo Sharing (at the bottom).
 
 
Step 2 - Create a new shared album
  • Creating a shared album is easy! Open the Photos App, and go to Albums. Select the + sign in the upper left corner. Select Shared Album.

 

 

 
Step 3 - Name your shared album
  • Name your album. Make sure it's a name that will make sense to the people you invite to the album. In this case, I named my new album "Luke" since I'm planning to share photos of my dog.
 
    
Step 4 - Invite people to your shared album
  • Invite people using their phone number or email address. They will receive an invitation to join the shared folder named "Luke".
 
 
Step 5 - Add photos and videos to your shared album
  • Select the album and add photos and videos by selecting the +.
  • You will be directed to your photos where you can select photos to add to your album.
  • This process works exactly the same way you add photos to your personal albums.
 
 
Step 6 - Manage your shared album settings
  • Select the 'People' option at the bottom of the album screen to get to important settings.
  • Here you can invite more people, allow subscribers to post and make a publicly accessible version of this album.
  • You can also enable notifications and delete this album.
 
 
As you can see, it's easy to set up a shared album using the Shared Album feature in the Photos App. Since you can store 5,000 photos without counting against your iCloud storage, it makes a lot of sense to use this convenient way to share your photos and videos!
 
For complete, up to date instructions on how to use Photo Sharing, see Apple's instructions on how to Use Shared Albums in Photos.