Apple's iCloud service offers a number of features for users who want to share items with their colleagues, friends, and family. iCloud Photo Sharing is one of those: You can use the Photos app on iPhone, iPad, or Mac (or a PC) to add images to a shared album that your friends and family can then access, comment on, and even add their own contributions to the set.

How to set up iCloud Photo Sharing to share photos on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and PC

Once you've set up iCloud Photo Sharing, here's how you can create, view, and edit shared photo albums on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC.

How to view shared photo albums on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and PC

Note that by default, when you open the Shared section in Photos for iPhone and iPad, you'll be taken to your activity feed for shared albums, which shows things that have been added or comments made.

On iPhone and iPad

  1. Open Photos on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the Shared tab.

    Open Photos, tap Shared tab

  3. Tap the Shared button in the upper left corner.
  4. Tap on a shared album to view it.

    Tap Shared, tap on an album

On your Mac

  1. Launch the Photos app on your Mac.
  2. Look for the Shared section on the sidebar.

From here, you have two options for viewing shared images:

  • Activity: This mode lets you view all recent activity in your shared albums
  • Shared Albums: This shows you all your currently shared albums and all albums shared with you.

On your PC

  1. Open your iCloud Photos folder.

From here, you have two options for viewing shared images:

  • Activity: This album lets you view all recent activity in your shared albums
  • Open a folder: The other folders in your iCloud Photos library include your shared albums and any regular albums you've created.

How to create a shared photo album on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac

If you want to share photos with your friends and family, you can create a shared photo album through iCloud and invite them to view it.

Note: In order for your recipients to properly view these images, you'll need to add the email address they use for their iCloud account; it may well be different than their regular email addresses, so make sure to check if you're in doubt.

On iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Shared at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Tap Add button in the upper left corner. It looks like a plus symbol (+).

    You might have to navigate out of your shared Activity stream first by tapping Sharing in the upper left corner to go back to your list of shared photo albums.

    Launch Photos, then tap Shared, then tap Add

  4. Name your album.
  5. Tap Next.

    Name the album, then tap Next

  6. Enter the contact for your friends and family. Make sure you use their iCloud contacts.
  7. Tap Create.

    Invite people, then tap Create

  8. Tap on the newly created Shared Photo Album.
  9. Tap the Add button in the album tray. It looks like a plus symbol (+).
  10. Select photos you want to add.

    Tap the album, then tap add, then  add photos

  11. Tap Done in the upper right corner.
  12. Add a comment, if you like.
  13. Tap Post.

    Tap Done, then add a comment, then tap Post

You can repeat steps 8 - 13 every time you want to add a new photo or video.

On your Mac

  1. Launch the Photos app on your Mac.
  2. Click on Shared in the sidebar.
  3. Click on the Add button in the upper right side of the Photos window. It looks like a plus (+) symbol.

    Click on Shared, then click on the Add button

  4. Name the album.
  5. Enter the contact for your friends and family. Make sure you use their iCloud contacts.
  6. Click on Create.

    Name the album, enter contacts, then click Create

  7. Double or Control-Click on the newly created Shared Photo Album.
  8. Click on Add photos and videos in the upper right corner of the window.

    Click on the new album, then click add photos and videos

  9. Select photos you want to add to your Shared Photo Album.
  10. Click on Add in the upper right corner.
  11. Add a comment to each photo, if you like.

    Select photos, then click on Add

You can repeat steps 7 - 11 every time you want to add a new photo or video.

On your PC

  1. Open your iCloud Photos folder.
  2. Open (or create) the folder where you wish to add your new images.
  3. Click the New shared album button.
  4. Add all email addresses for your friends and family.

    iCloud Photos

  5. Give the album a name.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Select all the photos you want to add from your computer.
  8. Click Done.

All the photos added to this folder will now be available as a shared album; anyone you invited will be able to access them after pressing OK.

How to add images and video to a shared photo album on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC

Once you've created an album, you can add more images or video to it at any time with the tap of a few buttons. Here's how.

On iPhone or iPad

  1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Select the Shared tab.
  3. Choose the album where you want to add more images and video.

  4. Press the plus button square at the bottom of the album.
  5. Select the images you wish to add.
  6. Press Done.

On your Mac

  1. Open the Photos app on your Mac.
  2. Choose the shared album where you want to add more images and video.
  3. Click on the Add photos and videos button at the top of the album.
  4. Choose the images you want to add.
  5. Press Add.

On your PC

  1. Open your iCloud Photos folder.
  2. Open the folder where you wish to add your new images or video.
  3. Click on the Add photos or videos button.

    iCloud Photos

  4. Choose the new images or video you wish to add to the folder.
  5. Once you're ready, press Done.

How to delete images from a shared photo album on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC

Don't want to share a particular picture or video after all? You can delete images from your shared photo album at any time — even if you weren't the one who added them!

Note: Anyone you've added to a shared photo album can download their own copy of an image or video once it's been added to the album; if you delete the photo or video after it's been available in the album, there's a chance it may have already been downloaded to another device.

On iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Shared at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Tap the shared album where you want to remove photos or video.

    Note: You might have to navigate out of your shared Activity stream first by tapping Shared in the upper left corner to go back to your list of shared photo albums.

    Launch the Photos app, then tap Shared, then select the Album

  4. Tap Select in the upper right corner.
  5. Tap the photos you want to delete.

    Tap Select, then select photos

  6. Tap the Trash icon in the bottom right corner.
  7. Tap Delete [X] Photos to confirm that you want to delete the selected photos.

    Tap the Trash icon, then tap Delete

This will remove the photos or video in the album for all of your iCloud connected devices and any friends you gave access to the album.

On your Mac

  1. Launch the Photos app on your Mac.
  2. Click on the Shared Photo Album from which you want to delete photos.
  3. Right or Control-Click on the photo you want to delete.
  4. Select Delete from Shared Album from the list of options.
  5. Click on Delete to confirm that you want to remove the photo from the shared album.

    Click on the shared album, then right or control-click on the photo, then select Delete

On your PC

  1. Open your iCloud Photos folder.
  2. Open the shared folder in question.
  3. Delete or move the images you'd like to remove from the shared photo album.

How to subscribe to a shared photo album on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC

When someone invites you to a shared photo album, you'll have to subscribe before you can view photos and video (and, if the owner has allowed you to, add your own images and video). Here's how to do it.

On iPhone or iPad

  1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Select the Shared tab.
  3. Tap on the Activity album.
  4. Under Invitations, tap Accept or Decline to join or reject a shared album.

On your Mac

  1. Open the Photos app on your Mac.
  2. Select the Activity album under the Shared section of the sidebar.
  3. Under Invitations, tap Accept or Decline to join or reject a shared album.

On your PC

  1. Open your iCloud Photos folder.
  2. Select the Activity folder.
  3. Under Invitations, tap Accept or Decline to join or reject a shared album.

How to unsubscribe from a shared photo album on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC

Decided you no longer want to be part of a shared photo album someone else sent you? It's a simple process to unsubscribe from that album.

On iPhone or iPad

  1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Select the Shared tab.
  3. Choose the album in question.
  4. Select the People tab.

  5. Tap on the Unsubscribe button.
  6. Press the Unsubscribe button once more to confirm.

On your Mac

  1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Select the Shared tab.
  3. Choose the album in question.
  4. Select the People icon in the toolbar.
  5. Tap on the Unsubscribe button.
  6. Press the Unsubscribe button once more to confirm.

On your PC

  1. Open your iCloud Photos folder.
  2. Choose the folder you'd like to delete.
  3. Click Info.
  4. In the box that appears, click Unsubscribe in the bottom left corner.

    iCloud Photos

How to delete a shared photo album on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC

If you decide you no longer want to share an album with a group, you can delete it; this removes it from iCloud on all your connected devices and all those you shared it with. (If you want to remove a shared album from your device that someone else created, you'll have to unsubscribe instead of deleting it.)

Note: Anyone you've added to a shared photo album can download their own copy of an image or video once it's been added to the album; if you delete the photo or video after it's been available in the album, there's a chance it may have already been downloaded to another device.

On iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Shared at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Tap the Edit in the upper left corner.

    Launch Photos, then tap Shared, then tap Edit

  4. Tap the red Delete icon next to the shared album you want to delete.
  5. Tap Delete to confirm deletion.
  6. Tap Done when you're finished.

    Tap the delete icon, then tap Delete, then tap Done

On your Mac

  1. Launch the Photos app on your Mac.
  2. Right or Control-click on the Shared Photo Album you want to delete.
  3. Select Delete Shared Album from the list of options.
  4. Click on Delete to confirm that you want to delete the album.

    Right or control-click on the album, then select delete

On your PC

  1. Open your iCloud Photos folder.
  2. Find the shared folder in question.
  3. Delete it.

Questions?

Let us know in the comments.

Updated May 2018: Revamped to include steps for Mac and PC users, too.

iCloud Photo Library: The Ultimate Guide

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