Shared Photo Streams on Your iPad

The Photo Streams feature on your iPad is a generally terrific and hassle-free way for you to make sure the pictures you’ve shot end up on your devices. But Apple, in its infinite wisdom, recognizes that you might also want to share your best images with friends and family and have those pictures automatically appear on those people’s devices.

An impressive — and aptly named — solution called Shared Photo Streams arrived on the iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone with iOS 6 (and a bit earlier on Macs running OS X Mountain Lion). It was modified in iOS 7 and is now referred to as iCloud Sharing, or just Shared Streams.

The feature enables you to share pictures and videos with other folks, and in turn lets you receive photo streams that they make available to you.

Here’s how to get Shared Photo Streams up and running:

  1. On the Home screen, tap Settings.

  2. Tap Photos & Camera.

  3. If the Photo Sharing option isn’t on, tap it to turn it on.

  4. Open the Photos app, and then tap the Shared tab.

  5. Tap New Shared Stream and then type a name for your stream in the New Stream dialog box that appears.

    The name is entirely your call, but should be something fairly descriptive, along the lines of My Trip to Tahiti (and you should be so lucky).

  6. Tap Next, and choose who will receive your stream.

    You can type a phone number, text address, or an e-mail address, or choose one of your contacts by tapping the + in a circle in the To field.

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  7. Tap Create.

    The recipient will receive an e-mail similar to this one and can choose to subscribe to the stream by tapping the button.

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  8. Add photos to the shared stream, choosing them from years, collections, or moments.

  9. (Optional) Enter a comment.

  10. Tap Post.

Check out the activity view at the top left of your Shared streams. It provides a nice summary of photos you and your pals posted.

You can share photos and videos with pretty much anyone who has online access — people don’t need to join iCloud. If you want to share your stream with everyone, you can do so through a public gallery on iCloud.com.

To do that, tap the Shared icon at the bottom of the Photos app and then tap the stream in question. Tap the People tab in the upper right, tap the Public Website switch to On, and then share the web link.

If the people you are sharing with have their own iCloud accounts and are on an iOS 6 account or later or using a Macintosh computer running OS X Mountain Lion or Mavericks, they can not only glom onto your stream to view your photos but also leave comments about them. Don’t worry — you have the power to remove snarky remarks.

If the people you are sharing with have iOS 7, they can add their own photos and videos to the stream, provided doing so is okay with you. If it is, turn on the Subscribers Can Post switch. At your discretion, you can also receive notifications when your subscribers weigh in with comments or add their own pictures or videos to the Shared stream.

If you’re ultimately unhappy with the Shared stream itself — or the people with whom you are sharing it — you can kill the Shared stream or at minimum kick those people off the list. To kill the stream, tap the Delete Photo Stream button.

To remove a subscriber, tap the stream, tap the People tab, and then tap the name of the person with whom you are sharing the stream. Scroll down to the bottom and tap Remove Subscriber. You’ll be asked to tap a Remove button just to make sure or tap Cancel if you have second thoughts. If you do remove a subscriber, you can always re-invite the person later.