How to use iCloud Photo sharing and iCloud Photo Library

The arrival of Photos on the Mac brings even more photo-sharing options

By

  • Step 1 Sharing Options
  • Step 2 Preferences Panel
  • Step 3 My Photo Stream
  • Step 4 iCloud Photo Sharing
  • Step 5 Photos and Videos
  • Step 6 Going Public
  • Step 7 The Third Way
  • Step 8 iCloud Photo Library
  • Step 9 Free storage
  • Step 10 Download Originals
  • More stories
Next Prev

Sharing Options in Photos for Mac

The photo-sharing features of iCloud have always been a bit confusing, and the recent introduction of the new Photos app as a replacement for iPhoto on the Mac has brought some additional features that manage to make things even more complicated.

To get started you just need to open Photos and click on the Shared tab up in the toolbar.

Photos then presents you with an empty window that is just labeled iCloud Photo Sharing, and a single button that prompts you to 'Start Sharing'.

That looks simple enough, but things are about to get complicated.

Read next: Best Photos for Mac software plugins & extensions | Photos for Mac tips | How to uninstall Photos for Mac

Next »

Next Prev Step 1

The photo-sharing features of iCloud have always been a bit confusing, and the recent introduction of the new Photos app as a replacement for iPhoto on the Mac has brought some additional features that manage to make things even more complicated.

To get started you just need to open Photos and click on the Shared tab up in the toolbar.

Photos then presents you with an empty window that is just labeled iCloud Photo Sharing, and a single button that prompts you to 'Start Sharing'.

That looks simple enough, but things are about to get complicated.

Read next: Best Photos for Mac software plugins & extensions | Photos for Mac tips | How to uninstall Photos for Mac

 

Step 2 of 10: Preferences Panel in Photos for Mac

Pressing the ‘Start Sharing’ button opens up the Preferences panel for Photos, and then takes you into the iCloud section.

Photos provides three different options for sharing your photos – iCloud Photo Library, My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing.

These options are also available in the Photos app for iOS 8, so most of the steps we show you here will work in a similar fashion on your iOS devices too. We’ve seen My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing before, as they were originally available in iPhoto too.

Let’s turn on just those two options for now, and then we’ll come back to the new iCloud Photo Library later.

Read: How to use the Photos app in Mac OS X, set up and use Photos for OS X and Photos for Mac review

 

Step 3 of 10: My Photo Stream in Photos for Mac

Let’s look at My Photo Stream first. Click on the Albums tab in the toolbar and you’ll see all the albums that you’ve created in Photos, along with a new album called My Photo Stream.

Any new photos that you take on any Mac or iOS device that is linked to your iCloud account are automatically added to My Photo Stream.

Those photos will also be uploaded to iCloud and shared with all your other devices as well. The good news is that these photos don’t count towards your 5GB of free iCloud storage, so you can snap away to your heart’s content.

 

Step 4 of 10: iCloud Photo Sharing

The photos in My Photo Stream only appear on devices that are linked to your personal iCloud account. But, of course, there will be times when you want to share your photos with your family and friends as well – and that’s where iCloud Photo Sharing comes in.

Photos does allow you to quickly upload photos to social sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but iCloud Photo Sharing provides a more private way of sharing photos.

Click on the Shared tab again, and then press the Start Sharing button. This allows you to create a new ‘shared album’ and then send email invitations just to a specific group of people.

 

Step 5 of 10: Photos and Videos

Once you’ve created your shared album Photos will display all the Moments in your entire photo library so that you can choose which photos to include in the album.

If you hover your mouse over the date of a Moment you’ll see a ‘Select Moment’ button appear, which allows you to instantly add all the photos in that Moment.

You can also click on individual photos if you want to pick a selection of photos from different Moments. And, unlike My Photo Stream, iCloud Photo Sharing allows you to upload videos that you have recorded too.

 

Step 6 of 10: Going Public

If your friends have iCloud accounts of their own then they can view your shared album within Photos on their own Macs and iOS devices (and PCs too, if they download the Windows version of iCloud).

To share photos with people who don’t use iCloud you need click the little head-shaped ‘people’ icon in the toolbar.

This opens a menu with a ‘Public Website’ option that creates an online web gallery that people can visit at www.icloud.com.

Another useful option is ‘Subscribers Can Post’, which allows your friends to upload their own photos and videos to this shared album.

 

Step 7 of 10: The Third Way

My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing have been available on Macs and iOS devices for a while, and they’re relatively straightforward – My Photo Stream stores all new photos that you take and shares them across your personal devices, while iCloud Photo Sharing lets you share specific photos and albums with other people.

(Read: iCloud Photo Sharing in iPhoto)

However, Photos and Yosemite on the Mac introduced a third option, called iCloud Photo Library, that shakes everything up all over again. We’ve been putting this moment off, but it’s time to open up the Preferences panel again and take a closer look at iCloud Photo Library.

 

Step 8 of 10: iCloud Photo Library

When you turn on iCloud Photo Library on your Mac or iOS devices, your entire photo library is uploaded into iCloud – all photos and videos, old and new, going right back to the dawn of time (or thereabouts).

Unfortunately, uploading files to iCloud has always been a rather slow process, and even a modest collection of photos could take a few hours to upload.

To avoid clogging up your Internet connection Photos gives you the option to  ‘pause for one day’ so that you can wait until your network isn’t too busy before uploading hundreds of photos and videos.

 

Step 9 of 10: iCloud Photo Library free storage

Photos and videos that you store online with My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing don’t count towards the 5GB of free storage that you get with your iCloud account.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case with iCloud Photo Library, and a large collection of photos and videos could bust that 5GB limit in no time at all.

If that happens then you may have to pay extra to upgrade your iCloud storage (or just switch iCloud Photo Library off again).

Fortunately, Apple’s prices aren’t too bad, so you can upgrade to 20GB for just 79p a month – although larger amounts of storage aren’t so competitively priced.

 

Step 10 of 10: Download Originals

There’s another option that might make it worth paying for some extra iCloud storage. By default, both Macs and iOS devices are set to ‘download originals’ – which means that they will keep the original, high-resolution versions of all photos and videos on their own internal storage.

However, there’s also an option to ‘optimise storage’ instead. This stores the high-res versions of all files up in iCloud, leaving lower-resolution versions on your devices in order to save space.

That could be useful if you’ve got a laptop with only a small solid-state drive, or if your iPhone or iPad is already bursting at the seams.

Read:

14 photo-sharing tips for Mac OS X

How to share photos to an iPad

How to get the photos off of your iPhone and on to your Mac

Elsewhere on IDG sites
Galaxy Note 8 vs iPhone X

Galaxy Note 8 vs iPhone X

The secrets of creating gory VFX

The secrets of creating gory VFX

How to update iOS on iPhone or iPad

How to update iOS on iPhone or iPad

WhatsApp : comment lire vos messages sans que l’expéditeur le sache

WhatsApp : comment lire vos messages sans que l’expéditeur le sache