The easiest way to share photos/albums with iCloud Photo?

I’m trying to get away from using Google Photos. At least until they relent and let legacy Google Suite free users buy more storage space.

I have a 2 TB iCloud subscription, and would like to try sharing albums in general, like making links to them on social networks. I have no trouble sharing collaborative albums with specified friends.

This seems to be more difficult with iCloud Photos. I read through this documentation:

But it doesn’t seem to explain how to do what I want, which is just share a photo or album via a link. But don’t give recipients edit access to the album. That’s trivial in Google Photos - you just grab a link to an existing album.

I get that iCloud albums come in share and not shared types. So if I want to share some photos I have to create a new “shared album” and put photos in there. And those photos then become extra copies of the original photos, but don’t count against your iCloud storage limit (which is nice).

But what’s the best way of creating albums like that for sharing on a social network?


1 Like

If you are using iCloud Photo Library, on the iPhone, for a individual photo, hit the share control - there should be a “Copy iCloud Link”.

For an album, it’s similar. Open the album. Tap the three dot circle icon top-right, then share photos, then copy iCloud Link.

I just created a new shared album. I opened the album. I tapped the … on the top-right, then share photos.

But I don’t see a copy iCloud link anywhere.

Not shared album - just create an album.

I think I see. I had to tap another icon inside the shared album and turn on Public Website. Then there is a share link available.

I just toggled off the Subscribers can Post because I wouldn’t want just anybody to be able to add photos. This is what the link looks like.

Unfortunately unlike with Google Photos there is no album cover preview. Just the iCloud Sharing message you see. Not very inviting.

The link does work though. Very awkward compared to Google Photos shared albums.



OK, that creates this:

I don’t know why the preview here also is just an preview. In an incognito Chrome window there is a preview picture and it says I’m uploading shared photos.

If I post it to FaceBook it looks like this:

So there is a preview, but it says the album expires on December 8, 2022, a month from now.

What if I want to share an album on Facebook (for example) but not have it expire?

Someone else will need to answer - I would never do this. I rarely post photos on Facebook, but if I do, I just upload them in the Facebook app. (Often after creating copies and removing the location from the photos.)

Not necessarily Facebook. Just casually sharing a link with people. Maybe putting them in a Craigs List ad for something to sell or rent. Or putting it in an email. It’s trivially easy to do with shared Google Photos albums.

Honestly, in all of those cases that you list, a link that expires in a month sounds fine with me.

I would hate to leave posts around in forums or shared with friends that upped and vanished.

It’s all sort of weird. I guess I could use the shared album version, but for some reason that link doesn’t show a preview. However the link itself works in an incognito window. Here is the link if anybody here wants to see the shared album:


I think I found the perfect solution to this considering:

  • Honestly, Apple Photos sharing seems to be flaky (links are temporary for example) and shared albums don’t show previews when posted.

  • Not wanting to sync all my photos anymore to Google Photos because they won’t sell me extra space since I’m a Legacy G Suite user. I’m already paying for their extra 100 GB plan, but they won’t let me pay to increase it to 200 GB.

  • Yet Google Photos sharing is trivially easy and shared links work well everywhere.

The solution?

Leave the Google Photos app on my iPhone. Make sure Backup is turned off so you’re not wasting Google Photos cloud storage space by syncing everything.

If you do that, you can still add individual photos and videos to existing Google Photos albums and just those added photos and videos are uploaded to the cloud. Not much space to worry about at all.

Works just fine.

If Apple ever makes their sharing albums work better I will reconsider this approach. But it works best for now I think.

1 Like