How to Create and Share iPhone Photo Albums with Ease

One of the easiest ways to share memories with loved ones is through a shared cloud drive. But until now, Apple’s ecosystem has lacked a native system to do that. Google Photos, on the other hand, has offered a really polished media sharing experience for a while now.

With iOS 16, that sharing feature finally came to your iPhone, thanks to a feature called iCloud Photo Sharing Library. In addition to creating a collaborative album that others can contribute to, the system also allows partners to leave comments. And with cameras in the iPhone 14 Y iPhone 14 Pro Being better than ever, having an easy way to share those memories is a must.

How to prepare your iPhone for album sharing

The first step in creating a Shared Album is to enable it through iCloud’s media sharing system. Here is how to do it:

Step 1: Open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap your name at the top.

iPhone iCloud Dashboard.

Step 2: When you get to the Apple ID page, tap the iCloud option at the top of the list.

Apple ID panel in iOS 15.

Step 3: In the iCloud section, tap on Photos.

Step 4: Scroll down the Photos page and enable the shared albums lever.

Shared album system in iCloud.

Nadeem Sarwar / Slash Gear

How to create and share a photo album

Now that you’ve enabled the fundamental system behind creating a shared iCloud Photo Album, it’s time to go ahead and create the collaborative album. Here are the steps you need to follow:

Step 1: Open the Photos app on your iPhone.

Step 2: Launch Album view by tapping on the Album option at the bottom.

Beginning the creation of a new shared album.

Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Step 3: Once you start the Album mode, touch the button + in the upper left corner and select new shared album in the context menu.

Creating a new shared album.

Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Step 4: On the next page, you’ll be asked to choose a name for your shared album.

Name a shared photo library.

Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Step 5: After choosing a name, press the Create button.

Step 6: Now, you have two options. Choose from your contacts or create a link to share publicly. To do that, enable the public website lever.

Setting the visibility state of a shared photo library.

Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Step 7: Once you do, a link button will appear below. Just tap on it to copy the URL to your clipboard. Now you can share it on any platform of your choice via the share sheet or by opening a communication app.

Sending link to a shared photo library.

Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Step 8: You can directly invite people to collaborate by adding/removing photos from the album using the contact button at the top.

Shared album on an iPhone.

Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

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, it is the Public Website option that allows access to the shared album via the URL generated in the Photos app. You can also create shared albums from your 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 please. Another difference is how the contribution works. A collaborator can only add new photos and delete photos that she has added.

However, the album creator can remove any media or comments posted by a contributor. Also, if you delete a photo, it’s automatically deleted on all participating devices. If you’ve shared the link to an album that opens on the web, deleting the album also permanently deletes the web version.

In case you were wondering, Shared Albums support still images in HEIF, JPEG, RAW, PNG, GIF, and TIFF formats. As for videos, you can load clips saved in HEVC, MP4, QuickTime, MPEG-4, and H.264 file types.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that an iCloud Shared Album can only store a maximum of 5,000 items. Apple notes that photos and videos in a shared album “do not count toward your iCloud storage limit.”

Speaking of iCloud, Apple recently launched its new Advanced data protection function which puts 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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