Get help using iCloud Photo Sharing and shared albums

After you turn on iCloud Photo Sharing, you might have questions about shared albums, comments, likes, invites, videos, and more. 

Shared albums
How do I back up a shared album?
What do I need to view and share videos, contribute to other people's shared albums, and comment on or like photos and videos?
If I'm using iOS 6, can I view photos and videos contributed by subscribers who are using iOS 7 or later?

Comments and likes
Why can't I see new comments in my shared album, or why do I see comments that were deleted?
Can I change the name that I use to comment on a shared album?

Invites and subscribers
How do I re-invite someone to a shared album if they declined my invitation but now want to subscribe?
I declined an invitation to join a shared album. How do I join the album?
I sent email invitations to my shared album, but not everyone received one.
I chose not to get iCloud Photo Sharing invitations, but now I'd like to subscribe to shared albums.
Someone sent me a link to a shared album, but when I click the link a message appears that says the album is no longer shared.

Videos
Which video formats and sizes does iCloud Photo Sharing support?
Can I play shared videos over my cellular connection?

Windows
I installed or updated iCloud for Windows and signed in, but when I go to Photos, I see a message that I'm not signed in or that it’s not enabled.

Note: Shared albums in iOS 8 are shared streams in iOS 7 or earlier.

Shared albums

Learn more about shared albums.    

How do I back up a shared album?

Shared album content isn't automatically backed up. You need to save your photos and videos locally before backing up your device. Any comments or likes attached to a photo or video in a shared album aren't saved with the photo or video.

What do I need to view and share videos, contribute to other people's shared albums, and comment on or like photos and videos?

  • iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 7 or later
  • Mac with OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later and iPhoto 9.5 or Aperture 3.5
  • Apple TV (2nd generation) with Apple TV software 6.0 or later
  • PC with Windows 7 or later and iCloud for Windows (or iCloud Control Panel 3.1 or later)

If the owner of a shared album turns on the Public Website option and shares the link with you, you can use any up-to-date browser to see photos and videos added by the owner and all contributors.

If I'm using iOS 6, can I view photos and videos contributed by subscribers who are using iOS 7 or later?

If you're using iOS 6, use these steps to view photos contributed by subscribers to a shared album:

  1. Tap Settings > iCloud.
  2. Tap Photo Stream, then turn off Shared Photo Streams.
  3. Tap Delete Photos. The photos will automatically be added again when you turn this setting back on.
  4. Press the Home button to exit Settings. Wait about a minute.
  5. Tap Settings > iCloud.
  6. Tap Photo Stream, then turn on Shared Photo Streams.
  7. Press the Home button.
  8. Open Photos. Tap the Photo Stream tab. 
  9. Tap the name of the shared album.

You need iOS 7 or later to share videos and contribute to other people's shared albums.

Comments and likes

Learn more about comments and likes.

Why can't I see new comments in my shared album, or why do I see comments that were deleted?

  1. Check the System Status page for issues affecting Photos.
  2. Check the Internet connection on all your devices by going to www.apple.com and iCloud.com. You need to connect to the Internet to make a comment.
  3. See if the number of comments is the same on your iOS device and your Mac or PC.

If you have an active Internet connection, and a photo or video has a different number of comments on multiple devices, try the steps below.

In iOS 7 or later:

  1. Double-click the Home button to see your open apps. Find Photos, then swipe up on the app's preview to close it.
  2. Tap Settings > iCloud > Photos.
  3. Turn off iCloud Photo Sharing (or Photo Sharing in earlier versions of iOS).
  4. Tap OK. The photos will automatically be added again when you turn this setting back on.
  5. Press the Home button. Wait about a minute.
  6. Tap Settings > iCloud > Photos. 
  7. Turn on iCloud Photo Sharing (or Photo Sharing in earlier versions of iOS).
  8. Press the Home button.
  9. Open Photos and tap the Shared tab. 
  10. Tap the name of the shared album.
  11. Check the comments on the photo or video. 

On your Mac:

  1. Quit iPhoto or Aperture if either app is open.
  2. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences. 
  3. Click Cloud, then click the Options button next to Photos. 
  4. Deselect iCloud Photo Sharing, then click OK.
  5. Wait about a minute.
  6. Click the Options button next to Photos.
  7. Select iCloud Photo Sharing, then click OK.
  8. Open iPhoto or Aperture. 
  9. Open the shared album.
  10. Check the comments on the photo or video. 

On your PC using Windows 7 or later and iCloud for Windows:

  1. Close any open Windows Explorer windows you're using to access iCloud Photo Sharing. 
  2. Open iCloud for Windows:
    • In Windows 8, go to the Start screen then click the iCloud tile.
    • In Windows 7, choose Start menu > All Programs > iCloud folder > iCloud.
  3. Click the Options button next to Photos. 
  4. Deselect Photo Sharing. Click OK, then click Apply.
  5. Wait about a minute, then click the Options button. 
  6. Select Photo Sharing. Click OK, then click Apply.
  7. Open iCloud Photos (or Photo Stream).
  8. Double-click the shared album, then click Comments.
  9. Check the comments on the photo or video.

Can I change the name that I use to comment on a shared album?

Your name in comments matches the full name for the Apple ID that you used to join the shared album. Use these steps to change your display name:

  1. Delete the comment. After a comment is posted, the display name doesn't change.
  2. Unsubscribe from the shared album.
  3. Go to My Apple ID, sign in, and change your name. If there's a credit card on your account that you're using for purchases, the name must match that credit card.
  4. Ask the owner of the shared album to send you a new invitation to the shared album.
  5. Accept the invitation, find the photo or video, and repost your comment.

Invites and subscribers

Learn more about invites and subscribers.

How do I re-invite someone to a shared album if they declined my invitation but now want to subscribe?

On your device using iOS 7 or later:

  1. Tap Photos.
  2. Tap the Shared tab, then tap Sharing. (In iOS 7 or earlier, tap Streams).
  3. Tap a shared album. 
  4. Tap the People tab.
  5. Tap the person's name in the list of subscribers.
  6. Tap Resend Invitation.
  7. If you previously removed this person from the list of subscribers, tap Invite People, enter their email address, then tap Add.

On your Mac:

On your PC using iCloud for Windows:

  1. Open iCloud Photos (or Photo Stream), and double-click the shared album to open it.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Click the name of the person who wants to subscribe. 
  4. Click Resend invitation, then click Done.

I declined an invitation to join a shared album. How do I join the album?

Send a message to the owner of the shared album and ask them to invite you again.

I sent email invitations to my shared album, but not everyone received one.

Try these steps:

  1. Ask the invitees to check their junk or spam email folders for the invitation.
  2. Send the invitation again. An invitee might not get the message if their mailbox is full, or if there's a filter that prevented the invite from being delivered. 
  3. If they didn't get the invitation, ask the invitee for another email address that you can send the invitation to. If you're using iOS 7 or later, you can also send the invitation to the phone number that they use for iMessages. 
  4. Ask the invitee if they've ever received an invitation, and if they might have unsubscribed from iCloud Photo Sharing emails. They can use the steps below to get email invitations again.

If they still don't get the invite, contact Apple Support for help.

I chose not to get iCloud Photo Sharing invitations, but now I'd like to subscribe to shared albums.

If you have an email invitation, open it and click “Don't Send Me Photo Stream Emails” at the bottom of the message. A browser window will open and show that you're no longer receiving shared album invitations. Click “Undo this change.”

If you no longer have an invitation, contact Apple Support and ask to receive shared album invitations. You won't get previous invitations automatically, but you can contact the owner of a shared album and ask for another invitation.

Someone sent me a link to a shared album, but when I click the link a message appears that says the album is no longer shared.

If the album owner deleted the album or removed you from the subscribers list, you'll get a message that "This photo album is no longer shared."

Contact the owner of the shared album to ask if it's been deleted or to request a new invitation.

Videos

Learn more about videos.

Which video formats and sizes does iCloud Photo Sharing support?

iCloud Photo Sharing supports MP4 and QuickTime video file types, and H.264 and MPEG-4 video file formats. Videos can be up to 5 minutes long.

Can I play shared videos over my cellular connection?

iCloud Photo Sharing supports video playback over Wi-Fi and cellular connections. To enable playback over a cellular connection on your iOS device, go to Settings > Cellular and turn on Photos.

Windows

If you see either of the following messages and you already signed in, you need to apply your settings. These messages might also refer to iCloud for Windows.

  • "iCloud Photos is not enabled. Open iCloud Control Panel."
  • "Photo Stream is not enabled. Sign into iCloud to view Photo Stream."

To apply your settings in Windows 8 and iCloud for Windows:

  1. Close the Windows Explorer window that has the message.
  2. Open iCloud for Windows.
    • In Windows 8, go to the Start screen, then click the iCloud tile.
    • In Windows 7, choose Start menu > All Programs > iCloud > iCloud.
  3. Select Photos, if it's not already selected.
  4. Click Options. 
  5. Select My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing if you want to share certain photos. 
  6. Click OK, then click Apply.

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