Shared Photo Stream

iCloud Photo Sharing is a service Apple offers though iPhone, iPad, and Mac in its Photos app that lets you create albums of photos that can be shared with friends, family, and anyone you choose. When you create a Shared Photo Stream, you invite others to see your pictures. Friends and family can also upload their own pictures and like or comment on pics. The benefit of a Shared Photo Stream is that it is more private and intimate. All of your activities are only shared with people you've invited to the group instead of friends of friends of friends knowing what you thought of a picture. Here's how to create a Shared Photo Stream on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

How to enable iCloud Photo Sharing

When you enable iCloud Photo Sharing, you can create and share albums with other people that also have an iCloud account. You can also be invited to share someone else's album after you've enable it.

How to enable iCloud Photo Sharing on iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down and tap Photos & Camera.
  3. Toggle the iCloud Photo Sharing switch on.

    Launch settings, then tap Photo & Camera, then turn on or off iCloud Photo Sharing

When you open the Photos app, you will now see a Shared tab, which will contain all of your shared album activities.

How to enable iCloud Photo Sharing in iOS 11

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac (sadly, no public beta for the Apple Watch). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down and tap Photos.
  3. Toggle the iCloud Photo Sharing switch on.

    Launch Settings, tap Photos, tap the switch next to iCloud Photo Sharing

How to enable iCloud Photo Sharing on Mac

  1. Launch the Photos app on your Mac.
  2. Select Photos from the app menu in the upper left corner.
  3. Select Preferences from the drop down menu.

    Launch Photos, then select Photos in the App menu, then select Preferences

  4. Select the iCloud tab.
  5. Tick the box for iCloud Photo Sharing.

    Click on iCloud, then tick or untick the box for iCloud Photo Sharing

You'll now see a Shared section in your Photos sidebar and in the Share sheet.

How to create a shared Photo Album

If you want to share your vacation photos, or the pics from last night's party with friends and family, you can create a Shared Photo Stream and invite them.

How to create a shared Photo Album 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 to your Shared Photo Stream.

    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 to the Shared Photo Stream.

How to create a shared Photo Album on 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 to the Shared Photo Stream.

How to delete photos from a Shared Photo album

If you decide you don't want one or more of the pictures you've uploaded on your Shared Photo Stream anymore, you can delete them.

Note: People in your Shared Photo Stream can download a copy of photos onto their devices, so even if you think you've deleted them, someone else may still have a copy.

How to delete photos from a Shared Photo album 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 Photo Stream for which you want to remove photos.

    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 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 from the Shared Photo Stream.

    Tap the Trash icon, then tap Delete

This will remove the photos in the album from all of your iCloud connected devices, as well as the people you share the Shared Photo Stream with.

How to delete photos from a Shared Photo album on 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

This will remove the photos in the album from all of your iCloud connected devices, as well as the people you share the Shared Photo Stream with.

How to delete a Shared Photo Album

If, for any reason, you decide that you no longer want to share photos with a group, you can delete a Shared Photo Stream, which will remove it from your iCloud connected devices, as well as everyone you've shared the Photo Stream with.

Note: People in your Shared Photo Stream can download a copy of photos onto their devices, so even if you think you've deleted all of the photos in a Shared Photo Stream, someone else may still have a copy.

How to delete a Shared Photo Album 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 Photo Stream you want to delete.
  5. Tap Delete to confirm that you want to delete the Shared Photo Stream.
  6. Tap Done when you're finished.

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

If you want to remove a Shared Photo Stream from your device that someone else created, you'll have to unsubscribe instead of deleting it.

How to delete a Shared Photo Album on 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

If you want to remove a Shared Photo Stream from your device that someone else created, you'll have to unsubscribe instead of deleting it.

How to disable iCloud Photo Sharing

How to disable iCloud Photos sharing on iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down and tap Photos & Camera.
  3. Toggle the iCloud Photo Sharing switch off.

    Launch settings, then tap Photo & Camera, then turn on or off iCloud Photo Sharing

How to disable iCloud Photo Sharing in iOS 11

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac (sadly, no public beta for the Apple Watch). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down and tap Photos.
  3. Toggle the iCloud Photo Sharing switch off.

    Launch Settings, tap Photos, tap the switch next to iCloud Photo Sharing

How to disable iCloud Photo Sharing on Mac

  1. Launch the Photos app on your Mac.
  2. Select Photos from the app menu in the upper left corner.
  3. Select Preferences from the drop down menu.

    Launch Photos, then select Photos in the App menu, then select Preferences

  4. Select the iCloud tab.
  5. Untick the box for iCloud Photo Sharing.

Click on iCloud, then tick or untick the box for iCloud Photo Sharing

Any questions?

Do you have any questions about how to create a Shared Photo Stream? Put them in the comments and we'll help you out.

Updated August 2017: Added steps and screens for the current iOS 11 beta.

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