Web-based photo sharing

I know I can do this in Dropbox but I thought iCloud would work too.

I want to create a folder and upload scanned photos in it. I’d then send a link to the folder to family members to view/download.

When I tried this in iCloud, my tester was asked to log in, so that won’t work for the rest of the family.

Is this how iCloud works or did I do something wrong? I didn’t seem to be presented with a lot of options. Also, when I dragged them from my laptop folder into iCloud drive, it actually moved them, which I didn’t expect or want either.

I used to use Picasa for this, which was great because it allowed people to leave comments. Being as these are old family photos, it would be nice if people could comment on them about what they remember.


There are numerous ways to share photos but I don’t have experience with the latest ones so will let others share their experiences.
Apple’'s predecessor to iCloud - MobileMe - used to have file and photo sharing features and I used to use Apple’s iWeb App for this. iWeb still works for creating photo albums from Photos. I still use it to create the web pages and transfer them (Using FTP) to my own (paid) web server. There is an example here:
(click on the photos tab). It is sad that iWeb won’t run under Catalina, which is one reason I won’t install it.

Wow! I had no idea iWeb still worked. I don’t use Photos, but I think I did once to make a picture book from Apple 5 years ago. Pretty sure they discontinued that service though.

I may just go to Dropbox as I think people can leave comments on individual pix there.



You might want to check if the Finder’s usual option-drag works in this case. You should see a little plus icon show up next to your pointer indicating the items will be copied rather than moved.

If you have iCloud Photos, you can, in iOS 12 and later, select photos, tap Share, and then tap Copy iCloud Link. That gives you a link to the photos you can send to people; they can download them for up to a month.

It does, but copy/paste is just as easy for me. It was just a surprise when they all disappeared from my hard drive.

And I’d forgotten this, I made a new folder to put them in, which it did when I copied them. Then one by one, they moved themselves into my iCloud root. I had to move them all back. Weirdest thing ever, I watched them do it.


I don’t use iCloud photos. Too much control in the cloud for me (i.e. I haven’t played with it enough to feel comfortable)


It sounds to me like what you want is something like Flickr. It allows everything you say you want – people can view, download and comment on your images.

As for dragging into iCloud Drive, I think many people misunderstand what iCloud Drive is. If you put a file “in iCloud”, it does not mean you are moving it to a server at Apple. iCloud Drive is just a folder on your hard disk. It is a special folder that is synchronized with your other devices (and with Apple’s servers).

When you dragged files to iCloud drive, you were not moving them to a remote server. You were moving them to another folder on your local computer. The contents of that folder get copied – not moved – to other devices. You don’t even need an internet connection to access your iCloud Drive files, since they are just local files. You only need a connection to synchronize them.

Maybe the confusion here is that the Finder defaults to copying rather than moving when you drag items from one volume to another. Now while iCloud folder presents as just another folder (and that’s perfectly fine), many people might still think of it as “kind of a remote volume”, like a network share (which in a sense cloud storage also is). I think the way Apple implemented it makes sense, but I can also see how it might be different from what some people expect.

Maybe this changed in Catalina, but on my Mojave system in situations such as these I find I really have to keep an eye out for the plus icon (or the lack thereof) next to the pointed when dragging to make sure I understand what I’m about to do. And when I see different behavior from what I want/expect, to use opt to correct.

[Side note, I also drag a lot with opt-cmd to conveniently get links.]

I’m a bit confused about this description of what iCloud Drive is. When I log in to icloud.com and open iCloud Drive I see folders containing documents that I have put there. Of course these documents are also available on all my devices that use iCloud/iCloud Drive. Similarly, logged in to icloud.com, when I look at Photos I see all the photos I see when looking in the Photos app on any device because I have elected to use this feature. All these items are synced across my devices but also reside at icloud.com. Are you saying that they are not stored on an Apple server somewhere away from my devices, or only that they are both stored locally and on Apple’s servers?

I think @jajvj1 was pointing out the latter.

But I believe iCloud Photos is treated a bit differently in the sense that it’s not just a folder full of your pics inside iCloud Drive. Well technically, it probably is, but that’s not how it presents to you in Finder. Also, for iCloud Photos (IIRC from reading about it, I don’t use it myself) not all of your clients contain an identical copy (unlike iCloud Drive files/folders). You can for example have lower res versions of your photos on your limited iPhone storage while the full res originals are synced from the iCloud Photos repository (i.e. an Apple cloud server) to your Mac.

Whenever you use iCloud to sync data between your devices, iCloud itself is the “truth,” which means that the current state of all your data is always stored on Apple’s servers. Your devices are “endpoints,” and any changes you make on one endpoint are synced up to iCloud before being synced back down to all other endpoints (either completely, or in an optimized fashion to reduce local storage needs). This is true of iCloud Photos (which is why that iCloud Link feature works—the photos are always in iCloud) and other iCloud services. Files in iCloud Drive are stored in iCloud and cached locally for faster access, but if you run out of space on your Mac, macOS can delete those cached copies because it knows it can get them back from iCloud.

That’s why, if you had a Mac and an iPhone, and both were lost in a fire, you could buy new ones, sign into your iCloud account when setting them up, and shortly afterward they’d have restored their iCloud data from the source in the cloud.


But that also means that if something catastrophic happens to Apple’s server (software bug, network glitch, malware, operator error, etc.) that trashes their copy of your data, the network is going to trash all your local copies as well.

Unless you make a backup to a device that’s not part of iCloud (e.g. export all your photos from the Photos app to a folder on an external storage device).

Cloud storage is a double-edged sword. When it works, it’s great. When it fails, it can be a disaster.

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Absolutely true, though I can’t remember hearing of anything like that happening. The closest is the occasional reports of duplication of data in Contacts and Calendar. Such problems probably have occurred, but they certainly aren’t commonplace.

So while I always recommend local backups of all data, I suspect that Apple’s backups and data security are pretty good.

Yeah, it’s not really any different than just another hard drive. He who lives without backups, lives dangerously.

I don’t think this has ever happened with Apple’s servers, at least not on a scale big enough to be noticed by the media, but cloud-storage data losses do occasionally happen.

Apple’s biggest problem with cloud services is not failure per se, but business decisions to discontinue services, forcing customers to relocate data elsewhere, MobileMe and its web hosting being the highest profile examples.


You should consider Amazon Photos, especially if you’re a Prime member, which gives you a chunk of free storage. Using the iOS app (or the web interface) you can share photos quite easily, and commenting is supported too. I first starting using Amazon Photos only for backing up my camera roll when traveling, but I’ve since come to appreciate quite a few things about it.

Well there you go. I though it was more like Dropbox! Thanks for cleaning that up. I can see where that would be useful but not what I’m looking for :slight_smile:


I’m not a Prime member but I may have some sort of storage there anyway, I’ll check. Thanks!


If you quit Amazon Prime, what happens to your photos? do you pay then?

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The answer is “it depends.” If you google that question, exactly as you phrased it, you’ll find the answer and can sort out if it would impact you.