iCloud Photo Sharing on Your Mac

By Edward C. Baig

Did you know you can use iCloud to share photos from your Mac? What if your first child was born recently, and you want to share images of the adorable infant with everyone? 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 emailing the pictures to your entire extended family isn’t practical, given your lack of sleep.

A better alternative may be iCloud Photo Sharing. Put simply, you create an album and invite family, friends — really anybody you choose — to view it, which they can do from another Mac, a PC, or an iOS device. Here’s how to proceed on your Mac:

  • Open System Preferences, click iCloud, and select Photos. From there, click Options, and select the Photo Sharing check box. A quickie reminder: Turn on iCloud Photo Sharing on any other device you intend to use it with.
  • This being a Mac, you have an alternative route for getting there. Open Photos Preferences, click the iCloud tab, and then select the iCloud Photo Sharing check box there as well.

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

  1. Choose the album, or batch of photos you want to share.
    There is a sharing limit of 5000 photos and videos combined.
  2. Click the Share button. In the drop-down menu, click iCloud Photo Sharing, and then click + New Shared Album.
    From this window, you can also add photos to already created Shared Albums.
  3. In the Shared Album Name field, type a name for the photo stream — your Adorable Kids or whatever seems apropos at the time.
  4. In the Invite People field, type the email addresses or the phone number they used in iMessages.
    You can also click the circled + to add names from your contacts.
  5. Click Create to proceed or click Cancel if you change your mind.
    Everyone you’ve invited receives an email and a notification to subscribe to the stream. The friends you’re inviting can subscribe to the new shared album. They must have an iCloud account to accept.

You can continue to manage the shared album after creating it. Click the Shared tab in Photos, choose the album in question, and then click the icon near the top of the screen that looks like a head in a small circle. From there, you can invite (or remove) people, select a Subscribers Can Post box, which lets the people you invite add their photos and videos, or select a Public website check box to let anyone view your shared album on iCloud.com.

It’s a good idea to also select the Notifications box to see when your subscribers like, comment on, or add pics to the album.

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

  • To delete photos from a shared album, click Shared in the toolbar, choose the specific album in which the doomed photos exist, select the photos marked for deletion, and either press Delete on the keyboard or chose Image ➪ Delete from Shared Album. The photos automatically disappear from everybody’s stream.
  • To remove a subscriber, again click Shared, select the shared album in question, and click the People button on the toolbar. In the window, you see all the people who subscribe to the album. Select each person you’re going to drop from the stream, and click the down arrow next to the person’s name and choose Remove Subscribers from the resulting menu.
  • To add new subscribers, type the invitee’s email address or iMessage phone number in the window just mentioned. He or she receives an email invitation to subscribe.
  • To take down the public photo stream, uncheck the Public website box and the shared stream will be removed from the web.

Remember to click the Shared tab to monitor any activity involving pics that you share with others and that others share with you.