Share iPhotos on a Mac with Shared Photo Streams

What if your first child was born recently, and you want to share images of the adorable infant with everyone? Mac to the rescue. It’s not practical to invite everyone over to your house to view albums (unless they’re all willing to take turns changing diapers). And e-mailing the pictures to your entire extended family isn’t practical, given your lack of sleep.

Apple used to let MobileMe subscribers share pictures online in a MobileMe Gallery. As you know by now, MobileMe is no more, replaced by iCloud. MobileMe Gallery is also part of history.

Fortunately, you have numerous ways to show off your prized photos in cyberspace — everything from Yahoo!-owned Flickr to Facebook-owned Instagram.

Photo Stream presents a hassle-free way to make sure that the pictures you’ve shot end up on all your portable devices, like the iPhone, as well as on your Macs.

In its infinite wisdom, Apple recognizes that you don’t view pictures in a vacuum. You probably want to share your best shots with family and friends. The result is the aptly named Shared Photo Streams feature, which does share some characteristics with the defunct MobileMe Gallery.

In a nutshell, you can share Photo Streams with the folks you designate — or, in some cases, the general public. What’s more, the people you specially invite who happen to have their own Apple devices can comment on your photos and indicate whether they “like” the pictures.

To take advantage of Shared Photo Streams in iPhoto on a Mac, you must be running version 9.4 of the software or later. If that’s the case, you need to do one of the following to enable photo sharing:

  • Open System Preferences, click iCloud, and select Photos. From there, click Options, and select the Photo Sharing check box as well.

  • This being a Mac, you have an alternative route for getting there. Open iPhoto Preferences, click the iCloud tab, and then select the Photo Sharing check box.

Now that you’re all set up, here’s how to proceed:

  1. Choose the album, event, or batch of photos you want to share.

  2. Do one of the following to summon the Share window:

    • On the toolbar in the lower-right corner of the window, choose Share→iCloud→New Photo Stream from the resulting menu.

    • Drag photos to iCloud in the Source list and then click New Photo Stream.

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    Whatever method you choose, you’re greeted by the New Photo Stream dialog box.

  3. In the To field, enter the e-mail address or addresses for each person you’d like to welcome to the Photo Stream.

    You have ample room to type a bunch of addresses.

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  4. In the Name field, type in a name for the Photo Stream — My Adorable Kids or whatever seems apropos at the time.

  5. (Optional) To make your Photo Stream public so that everyone, even those who don’t have an Apple device, can view your pictures on the web, select the Public website check box.

    Without an Apple device, a person can’t comment on your photos, read any comments that you contribute, or read comments posted by others. But he or she can see the pictures.

  6. Click Share to proceed or Cancel if you change your mind.

    Everyone you’ve invited receives an e-mail and notification to subscribe to the stream. If the person with whom you’re sharing has a device running iOS 6 or later, he can view photos inside the Photos app on that device.

    If he has a Mac with iPhoto 9.4 or Aperture 3.4 or later, he can view the pictures inside those programs. If he has a Windows PC and downloads iCloud Control Panel 2.0 or later, he can view the images on those computers. If he has a second-generation (or later) Apple TV with software version 5.1 or later installed, he can view the pictures on his television set.

    As noted in Step 5, if you selected the public option, folks can also view your pictures on the web at a URL generated by Apple.

It’s quite possible that somewhere down the road, you’ll decide to change your Photo Stream. Here’s how:

  • To delete photos from a Shared Photo Stream, click Photo Stream in the Source list, choose the specific Shared Photo Stream in which the doomed photos exist, select the photos marked for deletion, and press Delete. The photos automatically disappear from everybody’s stream.

  • To remove a subscriber from a stream, select the shared stream in the Source list, pick the stream in question, and click the Info button on the toolbar. In the Shared section of the Information pane, you see the e-mail addresses of all the people who subscribe to the stream.

    Select each person you’re going to drop from the stream, and press Delete and click Remove, or click the down arrow next to the person’s name and choose Remove Subscribers from the resulting menu. Other choices let you copy the address, add the person to Contacts, or resend the Photo Stream invitation.

  • To add new subscribers, type the invitee’s e-mail address in the Shared With section of the Information pane. He or she receives an e-mail invitation to subscribe.

  • To take down the public photo stream, uncheck the Public website box and the stream will be removed from the web.

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