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 so. Google Photos, on the other hand, has offered a really polished media-sharing experience for some time.

With iOS 16, this sharing facility has finally arrived on your 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 lets partners drop comments. And with cameras on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro being better than ever, an easy way to share those memories is a must.

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How to get your iPhone ready to share album

The first step to creating a shared album is to activate it via the iCloud Media Sharing system. Here’s how to do it:

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

iPhone iCloud window.

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

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Apple ID panel in iOS 15.

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

Step 4: Scroll down to the Photos page and enable the Shared albums change

Shared album system in iCloud.

Nadeem Sarwar / SlashGear

How to create and share a photo album

Now that you’ve activated the fundamental system behind creating a shared iCloud photo album, it’s time to make the collaborative album. Here are the steps you need to take:

Step 1: Open the Photos app on your iPhone.

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

Start creating a new shared album.

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Step 3: When you launch album mode, tap the + icon in the upper left corner and select New shared album in the context menu.

Create a new shared album.

Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

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

Naming a shared photo library.

Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

Step 5: After choosing a name, click on Create button.

Step 6: Now you have two options. Choose from your contacts, or create a publicly shareable link. To do this, activate the Public website change

Set the visibility status of a Shares photo library.

Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

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

Send link to a shared photo library.

Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

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

Shared album on an iPhone.

Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

A few tips to keep in mind

The notable aspect here is that you can invite a shared album even for people who don’t use iCloud. For them, it’s 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 at your own discretion. Another difference is how the contribution works. A collaborator can only add new photos and delete the ones they have added.

However, the album creator can delete any media or comment deleted by a contributor. Furthermore, if you delete a photo, it will be automatically deleted on all participating devices. In case you have shared the link to an album that opens on the web, the album will also permanently delete the web 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 types.

It’s also worth remembering 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 rolled out its new Advanced Data Protection feature, 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 activate it in this guide.

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