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iCloud Photo Sharing FAQ

Find answers to frequently asked questions about iCloud Photo Sharing.

With iCloud Photo Sharing, you can share photos and videos with just the people you choose, and you can let them add their own photos, videos, and comments.

iCloud Photo Sharing adds new features to shared photo streams, including the ability to share videos and allow subscribers to contribute to your shared streams. These new features work with the following devices and software:

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

If you're using earlier versions of iOS, iCloud Control Panel, iPhoto, or Aperture, you can still create and view shared photo streams. Learn more.

What do I need to use iCloud Photo Sharing?

To use iCloud Photo Sharing, you need an iCloud account, compatible devices, and up-to-date software:

  • iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using iOS 7
  • Mac using OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later and either iPhoto 9.5 or Aperture 3.5
  • Apple TV with Apple TV software 6.0 or later
  • PC using Windows 7 or later and the iCloud Control Panel 3.1 or later

If you enabled the Public Website option when you set up your shared stream, your friends and family can view your photos and videos from any current web browser using a link that you provide.

The shared streams you create will also be viewable on devices with iOS 6.0 and later, iCloud Control Panel 2.1.3 and later, iPhoto 9.4 and later, Aperture 3.4 and later, or Apple TV software 5.1 and later. Learn how to set up iCloud on all your devices.

How do I turn on iCloud Photo Sharing?

After you update your devices and set up your iCloud account, it’s easy to turn on iCloud Photo Sharing on any of your devices:

  • iOS device: Go to Settings > iCloud > Photos and turn on Photo Sharing.
  • Mac:
    1. Choose Apple () > System Preferences.
    2. Click iCloud, then select Photo Sharing.
    3. Turn on Photo Sharing in one of these applications:
      • iPhoto: Choose iPhoto > Preferences. Click iCloud, then select Photo Sharing.
      • Aperture: Choose Aperture > Preferences. Click iCloud, then select Photo Sharing.
  • Apple TV: Go to Settings > iCloud > iCloud Photos Settings and turn on Photo Sharing.
  • PC: Open the iCloud Control Panel for Windows and select Photos. You can click the Options button to verify that iCloud Photo Sharing is enabled and adjust the settings. Be sure to click Apply when done.

If you're using earlier versions of iOS, iCloud Control Panel, iPhoto, or Aperture, you can still create and view shared photo streams. Learn more.

Does iCloud Photo Sharing use my iCloud storage?

No. Photos and videos uploaded to iCloud Photo Sharing don't count against your iCloud storage.

Which photo and video formats and sizes does iCloud Photo Sharing support?

iCloud Photo Sharing supports JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and most RAW photo formats. When shared, photos taken with standard point-and-shoot cameras, SLR cameras, or iOS devices will have up to 2048 pixels on the long edge. Panoramic photos can be up to 5400 pixels wide.

iCloud Photo Sharing supports both MP4 and QuickTime video file types, and H.264 and MPEG-4 Video file formats. Videos can be up to 5 minutes in length and are delivered at up to 720p resolution.

How many photos and videos can be stored in a shared stream?

A shared stream can hold a maximum of 5000 photos and videos combined. When you reach your limit, you must delete some photos or videos before adding new ones.

How long are iCloud Photo Sharing photos and videos stored in iCloud?

The photos and videos you share (and the comments or Likes associated with those photos) remain in iCloud until you or the contributor delete them manually, or until you delete the shared stream completely.

How do I create a shared stream?

Creating a shared stream is as easy as selecting the photos and videos you'd like to share from a compatible device, then selecting the people with whom you'd like to share. Invitations to your shared stream can be sent to a person’s email address or a phone number used for iMessage. Learn more about creating a shared photo stream.

Can I share with people who don't use iCloud?

Yes. If you enable Public Website in the settings for your shared stream, your photos will be published to a website that anyone can view in an up-to-date web browser. Learn more about inviting people to view your shared photo streams.

Can I add new photos or videos to a shared stream I've already created?

Yes. You can add more photos or videos any time you like. Subscribers to the shared stream will be notified automatically. Learn more about adding photos and videos to a shared stream.

Can I delete photos, videos, and comments from a shared stream?

Yes. If you're the owner of a shared stream, you can delete any photos, videos, or comments that you or your contributors have added. In addition, subscribers can delete any photos, videos, or comments that they personally added to the shared stream. The photos, videos, or comments will be automatically deleted from the stream on all your devices and the devices of anyone subscribed to the stream. Any photos that were previously saved or downloaded from the shared stream to another location, such as the Camera Roll, won't be deleted from that location. Learn more about deleting shared photos or videos. Learn more about comments in shared photo streams.

Can my friends and family add photos or videos to a shared stream that I created?

Yes, if you allow it. When editing your photo stream to add or remove subscribers, you can turn on the option to allow subscribers to add to your shared stream. Subscribers can contribute photos and videos to your shared stream if they have an iCloud account and a compatible device with up-to-date software.

Can photos and videos be saved or downloaded from a shared photo stream?

Yes. After photos are shared, anyone who can view the shared stream can download and keep them permanently. Videos can only be downloaded to a Mac or PC. On an iOS device, videos are streamed from iCloud and can't be downloaded.

  • On a compatible iOS device, you can save photos to the Camera Roll.
  • In iPhoto or Aperture for Mac, you can add or copy shared photos or videos to your Library.
  • On a Windows PC, you can copy photos and videos from a shared photo stream to any folder.
  • On the web, you can download photos and videos directly to your computer from the detail view of each photo or video.

Do shared streams ever expire?

No. Shared streams are removed from iCloud only if you delete the photo stream.

How do I stop sharing a photo stream?

As the owner of a shared stream, you control with whom you share your stream. You can remove subscribers to your stream at any time. Learn about removing subscribers.

You can also delete the stream at any time. When you delete a shared stream, it's automatically removed from all of your devices as well as the devices of all your subscribers. If Public Website was enabled, the shared photo stream will also be removed from the web. Any photos that were previously saved or downloaded from the shared stream to another location, such as the Camera Roll, won't be deleted from that location. Learn more about removing a shared stream.

Do shared streams work over cellular connections?

Yes. You can share photos and videos over both Wi-Fi and cellular data connections.

Last Modified: Aug 6, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Aug 6, 2014
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