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How to create and manage shared Photo Streams on iPhone and iPad

How to create and manage shared Photo Streams on iPhone and iPad

Photo Stream, which is part of iCloud, not only backs up your your photos to the cloud, but gives you an easy way to share your photos with friends and family who also use iPhones and iPads. Shared Photo Streams let you share as many photos as you want at once, which is a lot more convenient than emailing or texting tons of pictures. Not only that, your friends and family can also add their own photos and comment on yours. If you aren't sure how to start using shared Photo Streams, follow along and we'll get you started!

How to enable Photo Stream

Before creating, sharing, and editing Photo Streams, you'll need to make sure you have Photo Stream enabled in your iCloud settings.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on iCloud.
  3. Tap on Photos.
  4. Turn on My Photo Stream if it isn't already.

How to create a new shared Photo Stream

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on Shared in the bottom navigation.
  3. Tap on the plus sign in the upper left hand corner to create a new stream.
  4. Give your stream a name and then tap Next.
  5. Add the people you'd like to initially share the stream with and tap Create — don't worry you can add or remove people later if you'd like.
  6. Tap on your new stream.
  7. Tap on the plus sign to start adding photos.
  8. Tap on all the photos you'd like to add and then tap Done at the top.
  9. Type a short description of the photos you're adding if you'd like and then tap Post.
  10. To add photos later, just tap into the Photo Stream again and tap the plus sign after the last photo to add more.

How to delete a Photo Stream

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on Shared in the bottom navigation.
  3. Tap on Edit in the top right.
  4. Tap on the Delete icon to the left of the Photo Stream you'd like to delete.
  5. Tap on Delete that appears to the right of the stream.
  6. Tap on Delete one more time to confirm you'd like to delete the stream.

How to add or remove subscribers from a shared Photo Stream

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on Shared in the bottom navigation.
  3. Tap on the stream you'd like to add or remove someone from.
  4. Tap on People at the bottom.
  5. Tap on Invite People in order to add more.
  6. Tap on a person's name, scroll to the bottom of their contact card, and tap on Remove Subscriber in order to remove them.

How to delete photos in an existing Photo Stream

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on Shared in the bottom navigation.
  3. Tap on the stream you'd like to remove photos from.
  4. Tap on Select in the upper right hand corner.
  5. Tap on the photos you'd like to delete in order to select them.
  6. Tap on the Trash icon in the lower right hand corner.
  7. Tap on the Delete confirmation that pops up.

Be aware that the photos you delete will be removed from all shared Photo Streams on everyone's devices. However, deleting photos from a shared Photo Stream does not delete them from your Camera Roll.

How to like or comment on a Photo Stream image

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on Shared in the bottom navigation.
  3. Tap on the stream that contains the photo you'd like to comment on or like.
  4. Tap on the photo you'd like to interact with.
  5. Either leave a comment and tap Send when you're done, or tap on the smiley icon in order to like the photo.

Do you use shared Photo Streams with your friends or family? Why or why not? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Note: Originally published November 2012. Updated May 2014.

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 23 comments. Add yours.

Ceelo187 says:

I really wish other people invited to the shared stream could add pictures to the stream if you gave them permission... Ex: family wants to share pictures with each other from the family reunion that were taken from different devices.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Me too. It's one of my biggest gripes about Photo Stream :(

trmoney24 says:

agreed. this totally makes the feature much more usable. we went out for halloween and I shared my pics with photo stream. no one else know about this feature and automatically thought they could add their halloween pics from their phones to the album as well. nope

OKBatman says:

Agreed. Seems like a logical feature to include. Silly Apple.

dvdmovieking says:

You should probably mention that Shared Photo Streams needs to be turned on in iCloud settings first. Took me a while to figure that out.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Good point! Thanks! I'll add that in.

Dionte says:

Is there a way that you can allow everyone to add photos to a photo stream that you create?

Dionte says:

Never mind I see that was the first comment, a little too excited. The edit feature is not working.

bikedogrun says:

Excellent tutorial! Thank you, Allyson ... And the best (by far) IOS site on the 'web !!!

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Thanks! We always appreciate comments like this :)

Jaguarr40 says:

Allyson I tried to contact you in regards to this via this site contact form. I hope you receive it and answer me about this article. I am just not seeing many of the things you are mentioning on my 4S. Need your help but great article as you always write.

jdg0 says:

Can someone verify these few points. I have read these proems on the apple forum from posters

1. All pictures that you upload to the photostream will be saved to the subscribers ios device taking up there storage.

2. For people who don't mind that (I do because I'm running out of storage on my phone) the pictures are not full quality. It still takes a good amount of space though. I'd say a 5mb pic is 3 over photo stream to the subscriber.

3. There is no way for you to disable photo stream downloads on cellular data. It's easy to suck someone's else's data plan and cause an overage for them just by them subscribing to your stream.

My own question is will the subscribers storage go back down if I start deleting pics from my stream?

gvndeb60 says:

Does anyone know if a shared Photo Stream counts towards the 1000 photo limit of my Photo Stream?
Great article by the way!

jdg0 says:

They do not, also so far no one has seen a limit like your own personal photo-stream.

"Photos in shared photo streams are not deleted after thirty (30) days, but the size of any given photo stream may be subject to photo or recipient number, and/or size limitations. Downloaded photos can be manually saved to the iOS Camera Roll."

http://www.apple.com/legal/icloud/en/terms.html

wormeyman says:

Are the photostream photos full resolution or smaller?

jdg0 says:

smaller. look at my post above

Cindy Gunnerson says:

does anyone know if you can add an email instead tk share the photos using photo stream? I have an android device and my sizter in law just had a baby and is using this to share photos. doex anyone know if there is a wayto connect to it with out and I product with another app or can they send it to my email? I would like to get the pics too and now we arent. they also are not shari g anything ovef fb orthis wouldnt be a problem.

s2mac says:

I do this all the time with my family now, and we absolutely love it!
We all add photos to the stream (I love that feature) and we have 2 streams: 1 for photos about the entire family and one about my brothers baby.
We plan to add that baby as a subscriber to the shared photo stream when she's older so she can see herself grow up in years of photos and videos: priceless <3.

iFunbags says:

Same here...it's a very easy way to share photos without having to worry about the extremely confusing and ever changing privacy settings in Facebook!

Sent from the iMore App

iFunbags says:

Same here...it's a very easy way to share photos without having to worry about the extremely confusing and ever changing privacy settings in Facebook!

Sent from the iMore App

iFunbags says:

I always wondered why I would see duplicate comments from people and now I know!! When I first got the submit button it looked like nothing happened. iMore should see if they can address that or at least have a way to delete your post.

Sent from the iMore App

Antron says:

I've been needing this one. I get asked abou photo stream and it's good having an article I can just send them. Saved to Instapaper! Thanks!

TekNiKal says:

After seeing the movie trailer for, "Sex Tape," sharing my photo stream seems like a scary idea.