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. Friends and family can subscribe to your shared albums to view them on all of their devices, leave comments, and get notified automatically when you add new photos and videos.

What do I need to use iCloud Photo Sharing?

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

  • iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using iOS 7 or later
  • 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 iCloud for Windows

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

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 iCloud Photo Sharing.
  • Mac:
    1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences.
    2. Click iCloud, then select Photos.
    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 iCloud for Windows and select Photos. Click the Options button to verify that iCloud Photo Sharing is on and adjust the settings. Click Apply when you're done.

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

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 album?

A shared album 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 album completely.

How do I create a shared album?

Creating a shared album 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 album can be sent to a person’s email address or a phone number used for iMessage.

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

Yes. If you enable Public Website in the settings for your shared album, your photos will be published to a website that anyone can view in an up-to-date web browser.

Can people comment on my photos and videos?

Yes. Friends and family with an iCloud account and a compatible device can leave comments and like photos from your shared album. You'll be notified automatically when they do, and they'll be notified if anyone comments back. Learn more about comments in shared albums.

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

Yes. You can add more photos or videos any time you like. Subscribers to the shared album will be notified automatically.

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

Yes. If you're the owner of a shared album, 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 album. The photos, videos, or comments will be automatically deleted from the album on all your devices and the devices of anyone subscribed to the album. Any photos that were previously saved or downloaded from the shared album to another location, such as the Photos tab, won't be deleted from that location. Learn more about comments in shared albums.

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

Yes, if you allow it. When editing your album to add or remove subscribers, you can turn on the option to allow subscribers to add to your shared album. Subscribers can contribute photos and videos to your shared album 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 album?

Yes. After photos are shared, anyone who can view the shared album 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 your Photos tab or 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 album 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 albums ever expire?

No. Shared albums are removed from iCloud only if you delete the shared album.

How do I stop sharing an album?

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

You can also delete the album at any time. When you delete a shared album, 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 album will also be removed from the web. Any photos that were previously saved or downloaded from the shared album to another location, such as the Photos tab, won't be deleted from that location.

Do shared albums work over cellular connections?

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

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