Shared Album sync to new Mac solved!

I thought this could resolve a weird problem that might just happen to you with a new Mac.

I took delivery of a shiny new MacBook Pro 14" M2 last Friday. I’m slowly installing my apps from scratch, as I need them. But of course all the Apple apps are already installed. Including Photos. I opened Photos and in what seemed like an instant all my photo library was there on the new MacBook (because of course I logged in to my Apple ID, so everything in iCloud was ready and waiting). But when I looked at my shared albums—nothing! Just a blank page.

I spoke to one Apple supporter after another (and, by the way, the usual first class Apple support failed because, despite their assurances, the link in the emails I was sent after each session which was meant to take me back to the ‘expert’ team in order to continue discussing the same case just didn’t work, so I had to go around the houses every time I called back).

It wasn’t until the third adviser (Kiril, I love you) that they suggested trying to create a new shared album. Instantly, all my shared albums appeared! And within minutes all the shared photos had downloaded to my new Mac. Problem solved after a week’s delay.

Is this issue somehow related to the fact that shared albums are not actually stored in your own account? At least, they don’t seem to be: if you access Photos through the iCloud website there is no sign of shared albums—which I’ve always found frustrating and weird.

Anyway I hope this tip saves someone a whole load of frustration.


This is the kind of thing that would have “just worked” in the old days. “Create new item to force a sync” is also necessary in iCloud sometimes, and for me it’s just as unacceptable as “reboot to fix the problem.” Not obvious, not discoverable, indicative of poor engineering.