How to use Shared Albums on iPhone and iPad

How to Use Shared Albums on iPhone and iPad

The best thing about memories is the people you share them with. And the iCloud’s Shared Albums allow you to bond over your best photos and videos with friends, family, or whoever you like. But are you making the most of this feature? Let me help with this extensive guide on Shared Albums and how to use them on iPhone and iPad.

What are Shared Albums, and how do they work?

As the name suggests, these albums allow you to share images and videos with others. It’s pretty secure and private as only people with the album link can see the content.

Further, you can not only share the album across Apple’s ecosystem but also with Android or Windows users. It can also work as a collaborative album as each party can access, comment, and add stuff to it.

How many photos or videos can I add to Shared Albums?

A shared album can contain up to 5000 photos and videos. After that, you’ll have to delete some content to make space for a new one.

Interestingly, while interrelated, iCloud photo library and Shared Albums are distinct features. And unlike photo library or Photo Stream, Shared Albums don’t count toward your iCloud storage.

File types supported in Shared Albums

Image formats

  • HEIF
  • JPEG
  • RAW*
  • PNG
  • GIF
  • TIFF

Video formats 

  • HEVC
  • MP4
  • QuickTime
  • H.264
  • MPEG-4

In addition, you can add special formats like live photos, slow-motion, time-lapse, and memory videos. However,

  • Pictures and videos may lose resolution to 2048 pixels unless they’re panoramic pictures with up to 5400 pixels.
  • GIFs should be 100MB and smaller.
  • Videos up to 15 minutes can support 720p resolution.

How to enable/disable Shared Albums

  1. Go to Settings[your name]iCloud.
  2. Tap Photos.
  3. Here, toggle on Shared Albums.
Enable or disable Shared Albums on iPhone and iPad

Note: There is also an alternative method; go to SettingsPhotos → toggle on Shared Albums.

How to view Shared Albums

  1. Launch the Photos app → Albums tab
  2. Scroll down to the Shared Albums category
  3. Tap See All to view all shared albums.
View Shared Albums on iPhone and iPad

Things to note

  • Ensure that your iPhone or iPad is updated to the latest iOS and iPadOS.
  • You’ve already set up iCloud on your iOS device.
  • If you want to use multiple devices for album sharing, all must run on the same Apple ID.
  • To use Shared Albums, your iPhone must be connected to the internet.

Create a shared album on iPhone and iPad

  1. Open the Photos app → Albums.
  2. Now, tap the ✚ button at the top left.
  3. Select New Shared Album.
  4. Name the album and tap Next.
  5. Enter the recipient’s contact number and hit Create.
Create a shared album on iPhone and iPad

Once the shared album is created, the recipient will be notified with your invitation about the same. They can choose to subscribe to the album or reject the request.

How to subscribe to a shared album

When you receive the invitation for a shared album, tap the notification or go to PhotosFor YouShared Album Activity → Tap Accept or Decline.

The invite is also sent to your email ID; just open the mail and follow on-screen notifications to subscribe.

How to manage Shared Albums

Add subscribers or invite more people

  1. Select the album that you want to share with more people.
  2. Tap People
  3. Select + Invite People.
  4. Add contact name or number and tap Add.
Add subscribers to a shared album on iPhone and iPad

Again an invite will be shared, and the recipient can accept, ignore or reject accordingly. You can also share albums with your loved ones who don’t use iCloud by enabling public viewing.

Turn on public viewing in iCloud

Open shared albumPeople icon → Toggle on Public Website → Tap Share Link to share the link to anyone.

Turn on shared album public viewing in iCloud on iPhone and iPad

Add photos and videos to the shared album

You can add photos and videos to the shared album in two ways:

Method 1

Open the shared album → tap the + button → select the photos or videos Done add a comment (optional) Post.

Method 2

  1. In the Photos app, select the photos or videos you want to move into the shared album.
  2. Tap the Share button at the bottom.
  3. Scroll down and select Add to Shared Album.
  4. Select the shared album and add a comment if you want.
  5. Hit Post to add it.
Add photos and videos to the shared album on iPhone and iPad

Allow subscribers to add photos or videos to the album

By default, subscribers can add photos and videos to the album. If not, you can enable the setting via shared albumPeople icon → Toggle on Subscribers Can Post Switch. You can choose to disable the feature anytime; simply toggle it off.

Add or delete comments in a shared photo

You can also add comments later to individual photos. Open the shared album → select photo → tap Add a comment → type in → Send.

Add or delete comments in a shared photo on iPhone and iPad

To delete a comment, open the photo → tap the comment → long-press it, and select Delete.

Delete photos and videos from a shared album

If you’re the creator of a shared album, you can delete any photos, videos, and comments added by any subscriber. But other members can only delete files and comments uploaded from their end.

  1. Open a shared album and tap Select at the top right.
  2. Select the images and videos and hit Delete (dustbin icon).
  3. Tap Delete Photo to confirm the removal.
Delete photos and videos from a shared album on iPhone and iPad

Note: Anything you delete will be permanently removed across the shared album from your and your subscribers’ devices. However, files that you or other subscribers have saved or downloaded to your library won’t be affected.

Save photos and videos from a shared album

When other subscribers add photos and videos to your shared album, you can save them in your photos library, so later, if they delete them, you can still view them in your photo library.

  1. In the shared album, open individual photos or videos or tap Select to choose multiple.
  2. Tap the Share button.
  3. Select Save Image or Save Video.
Save photos and videos from a shared album on iPhone and iPad

Turn notifications on or off

Don’t want to be disturbed every time someone adds or removes photos, videos, or comments? Here’s how:

  1. Open the shared albumPeople icon.
  2. Toggle on/off the Notifications switch.

Alternatively, you can tap the three-dot iconShared Album Details → Toggle on/off the Notifications switch.

Turn on/off notifications of a shared album

Manage viewing options of a shared album

  1. Open the shared albumthree-dot icon.
  2. Here you can:
    • Zoom In
    • Zoom Out
    • Aspect/Square
    • Sort – As per Date Added, Oldest to Newest, or Newest to Oldest
    • Filter – View all or just photos or videos.
    • Slideshow
Manage viewing options of a shared album on iPhone and iPad

Rename a shared album

There are two ways to do so:

  1. In the shared album → tap the three-dot iconRename Album → type the new nameSave.
  2. In the Albums tab Shared AlbumsSee All → tap Edit → Tap the album name → enter a new one → Done.
Rename a shared album on iPhone and iPad

How to remove a subscriber from the shared album

Notably, only the creator/owner of the album has the right to remove someone from the shared list.

  1. In the shared albumPeople icon.
  2. Tap the contact you want to remove.
  3. Hit Remove Subscriber
How to remove a subscriber from the shared album on iPhone and iPad

Delete a shared album on iPhone and iPad

As a creator of the shared album, you can delete the album. While others can choose to unsubscribe from it.

  1. Tap the shared albumPeople icon.
  2. Tap Delete Shared Album/Unsubscribe from the bottom.
  3. Hit Delete/Unsubscribe to confirm the action.
Delete a shared album on iPhone and iPad

The album will be deleted and removed from all your iOS devices connected with the same Apple ID and the subscriber’s device. It will also delete all the photos in the album, so ensure you save them before going ahead.

Alternatively, you can also go to the Albums tab Shared AlbumsSee All → tap Edit → Tap minus iconDelete.

Shared Albums is an excellent feature to exchange photos and videos on your iOS device securely. After giving it a try, you may want to stop using the social media app to share pictures with your friends and family. What do you think about it? Let us know in the comment section below.

Want more hacks for the Photos app? Check these out:

2 comments
  1. This does not work at all for me. Ever since I updated to iOS 14 on my iPhone SE (and on my wife’s as well), we cannot share photos to our shared albums at all. There is no “Add to Shared Album” option, at all. I can share to Messages, Mail, Airdrop, and a huge list of other apps like Zoom, Skype, Google Drive, etc. But no shared photo album, at all. Infuriating!!!

  2. Please check if Shared Albums are turned off from Settings. Go to Settings → Photos → Toggle on Shared Albums. The option should now be available.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

iOS 15 means nothing if you don't know its big upgrades and secret hacks!

Get your guide for FREE