Share photos from one iPhone (or iPad) to another with these photo-transfer tips

After taking some beautiful photos on your iPhone you want to share them with the world. But what's the easiest way to get your snaps on to someone else's iPhone? (Or on to your iPad, for that matter.)

In this article we explain how to easily, and wirelessly, transfer, copy and share photos from one iPhone or iPad to another.

We also have a number of other articles about sharing photos. Read the following:

How to copy photos from iPhone to iPhone: Use AirDrop

See also: How to use AirDrop & AirPlay in iOS 7

The simplest method, particularly for a single photo, is AirDrop, which is basically Apple's equivalent of NFC, the wireless data transfer protocol championed by Android users as a way of turning smartphones into electronic wallets.

Assuming you and the person receiving the photo both have access to AirDrop (you'll need to be running iOS 7 on the iPhone 5 or later or the iPad 4 or later) then you simply need to make sure it’s switched on and keep your iPhones in range of each other until you’re able to set up a connection.

Transfer photos using AirDrop

Access the Control Centre by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen. If you’ve got AirDrop there will be an AirDrop logo and status in the middle. Tap this and make sure it's set to either Contacts Only (if the recipient is a contact) or Everyone. This is switching AirDrop on and establishing to whom you will be discoverable using this feature.

Now go to the Photos app and find the photo you want to share. Click the sharing button (the square with an arrow coming out of it) and you'll see the sharing palette (this is on an iPad; it'll look slightly different on an iPhone, but it'll be essentially the same):

Transfer photos using AirDrop

You can select more than one photo, but for more than a handful it can be a faff. Anyway, once you've selected the photos you want to transfer, click the icon for your contact in the AirDrop field - here we can see Jim's iPhone showing up.

(If it's not showing up, check you've both got AirDrop set to Everyone (the Contacts Only setting may be causing a problem because it actually requires that you know the Apple ID of the contact), that you've both got Bluetooth and Wi-Fi switched on and that you're close together.)

This is what it looks like from the other end:

Transfer photos using AirDrop

Jim simply has to click Accept and the photo(s) will be saved into his Camera Roll, accessible by going into his Photos app.

How to copy photos from iPhone to iPhone: Photo Stream

AirDrop is really quick, but for large numbers of photos, or if one of you hasn't got access to AirDrop (not unlikely, since it's limited to the most recent two generations of iPhone and iPad), I'd recommend using Photo Streams. This is also much better if you want to send copies of photos to a group of people.

To create a new photo stream that specified people will be able to access, go into your Photos app and tap on the Shared tab at the bottom of the screen. Now hit the plus sign (+) at the top left, and name your new stream.

Share photos using streams

Next you'll be asked to specify who can view the stream. You can pick from your contacts list.

Your new stream will appear on the Streams screen of your Shared tab. Tap it to enter the stream (which is currently empty). Tap the + sign again and choose pictures to add from your camera roll. You can tick as many photos as you want, then hit Done.

Share photos using streams

iCloud will ask you to comment on the photos, but you don't need to - just tap Post to bypass this stage. The photos will then appear in the stream (this may take a few moments if you picked a lot of photos).

The people you invited to view the stream will be able to access the photos in their Photos app too, under the Shared tab. If they want to save a photo from there on to their camera roll they simply need to tap on a photo, hit the sharing icon and select Save to Camera Roll.

Share photos using streams

See also: How to move from an old iPhone to a new iPhone | How to transfer music from one iPhone to another | How to transfer contacts, music and photos from Windows Phone to iPhone | How to move from Android to iPhone | How to move from BlackBerry to iPhone

How to copy photos from iPhone to iPhone: Messages & Email

Finally, there's always the old-fashioned methods: you can simple email or message the photo to your friend or relative. Use the same sharing palette from which we used AirDrop in the first tutorial, but select Message or Mail instead. This is a bit more awkward, by our reckoning, and email in particular can be slower and may be lost in the recipient's inbox, but they both do the job.

See also:

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