iOS 16 adds a Shared iCloud Photo Library to make sharing photos with your friends and family easier than ever. You can create a shared library and then invite any of your friends with an Apple product to view photos, contribute photos, and edit photos.
This guide covers all the features you need to know about using iCloud Shared Photo Library when iOS 16 is released in September.
Create a shared photo library
After upgrading to iOS 16, you can set up a Shared Library through the pop-up interface or through the Settings option in the Settings section of the Photos app.
Tap “Add Participants” to select people to share with, inviting them through Messages or via a link.
You can choose the images you want to add to the shared library from your own iCloud Photo Library. Options include sharing all photos and videos, photos and videos by person or date, or manually selected photos.
You can then preview the content you’ve added to the Library before opting to share all. If everything looks good, tapping the “Continue” button will create the shared library.
iCloud Shared Photo Library capabilities
Each person invited to participate in a shared iCloud Photo Library can add, edit, caption, favorite, and delete photos, just like their own photo library.
There are no limitations, and all participants have the same permissions.
You can choose to be notified when someone removes images from your shared library, with the switch available under the Shared Library heading in the Photos section of the Settings app. When an image is deleted, the person who originally shared it has the option to move the image to their personal library instead of deleting it, and deleted images are stored in the Recently Deleted folder for easy retrieval.
Limitations of iCloud Shared Photo Library
You can share an iCloud Photo Library with up to five other people, so a total of six people can use one library. The person who creates the iCloud Shared Photo Library will be the “host” and their iCloud storage space will be used for the shared photos.
It’s worth noting that when you add your personal photos from your library to the shared library, the pictures are moved from the personal library to the shared library, so iCloud storage space/device storage space is not taken up twice and the photos are not duplicated.
Share photos from the camera
If you’re at an event with someone you share a library with, you can choose to share photos from the camera directly to the library, making all of your shots instantly available to all participants.
In the Camera app, you can tap the icon that looks like two people to switch between auto uploading to the shared library and your personal library.
Sharing can be enabled when participants are in close proximity using Bluetooth proximity, through the Camera app, or manually, with options available in the Settings app.
iPhone will also suggest content to share in the For You section of the Photos app, but you can turn this off if you want.
Using the Settings app, you can turn off Share from Camera entirely to get rid of the toggle, or you can opt for Auto Share, which will automatically add all the photos you take to the shared library. The automatic feature uses Bluetooth to determine when someone you share a library with is nearby, and only charges when you’re with that person.
There’s also an optional “Share When Home” feature that always adds photos and videos from the camera, even when other participants aren’t there.
if you want to climb each photo that you take to the shared library even when you’re not home or not with a person you share with, there doesn’t seem to be an option for it.
Exchange between personal and shared library
To switch from your main iCloud Photo Library to your shared iCloud Photo Library, you can tap the three-dot icon in the upper-right corner of the Library view in the Photos app.
From there, you can choose to view your Personal Library, your Shared Library, or both at once.
Delete a shared library
If you’re the person who manages the Shared Library, you can choose to delete it in the Settings app. Just go to Photos> Shared Library> Delete Shared Library.
When a Shared Library is deleted, each person who contributed to the library will be able to keep the photos they added or a copy of all the photos that were in the library at the time it was deleted.
Photos from the shared library will be displayed in Memories, Featured Photos, and the Photos widget.
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