How to Share an iCloud Photo Link in iOS 12

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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In iOS 12, Apple has added the ability to share pictures or video in your Photo Library using an iCloud.com link that lasts for 30 days.

Not only is sharing a link quicker and less burdensome on your data allowance than sending several images or gigabytes of video, you can also share the same link as many times as you want within the expiry limit.

For the new photo link option to appear, you'll need to ensure iCloud Photos is enabled on your iOS device. To do so, launch the Settings app, tap your Apple ID at the top, select iCloud -> Photos, and make sure the toggle next to iCloud Photos is on.

How to Share an iCloud Photo Link in iOS 12
  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Tap the photo you want to link to. If you want to share a link to several photos, tap Select in the upper right corner of the screen and tap the photos you want to include.
  3. Next, tap the Share Sheet button at the lower left corner of the screen.

    Tap the Copy Link button in the third row of the Share Sheet.
  4. Wait a moment while iCloud prepares your link.
  5. Launch the app or service you want to use to share the link. We're using Messages in our example.

    In the message text field, tap and hold your finger.
  6. Tap Paste.
  7. Send the message to share the link.
If you share the link over Messages and the recipient is using an iOS device, they'll see a tappable thumbnail of the shared photo(s). If they're on an Android device, they'll just see the URL.


Tapping the thumbnail/URL link will take them to an iCloud.com web page similar to the one above, with a preview image, the author's name, the photo's title, an expiry date, and an option to download the photo or add it to an existing Apple Photos library. If several photos have been shared, the recipient can select which ones they'd like to add or download.

To share the same link again within the 30-day time limit, or simply stop sharing the photo altogether, launch the Photos app and navigate to the For You tab, where you'll find a Recently Shared section.


Tap the photo you shared and then tap the blue dotted button in the upper right corner of the screen, and you should see two options: Copy Link and Stop Sharing.

Article Link: How to Share an iCloud Photo Link in iOS 12
 
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Xenc

macrumors 65816
May 8, 2010
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This is useful and almost seamless, though it is easy to accidentally upload a temporary copy. It would be useful to see all currently shared photos, with an option to “Stop Sharing” all.
 
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RightMACatU

macrumors 65816
Jul 12, 2012
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This is useful and almost seamless, though it is easy to accidentally upload a temporary copy. It would be useful to see all currently shared photos, with an option to “Stop Sharing” all.
+1
I think it's all part of a grand scheme to free users from an ability to know where their stuff is and who has access. What individual files and photos have I shared? with who? is there an easy way to know? where are my files, local or Cloud or Dropbox? etc. And I won't go there as this implies trust in every parts of the ecosystem that you use.
 
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-Ryan-

macrumors 68000
Jan 28, 2009
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This is useful and almost seamless, though it is easy to accidentally upload a temporary copy. It would be useful to see all currently shared photos, with an option to “Stop Sharing” all.
Exactly. I also feel we should be able to adjust the time the images are shared for.
 

zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
5,766
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Florida, USA
I wish this didn't attach my real name to photos I share. I sometimes share photos to communities (like this one!) where I don't share my real info, and that pretty much makes this feature useless for that.
 
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tobefirst

macrumors 601
Jan 24, 2005
4,066
1,186
St. Louis, MO
Has the expiring link always been a part of this? I thought that, in the past, iCloud albums had a persistent link I could share. Is that not (or no longer) the case? Is it different for albums than for a (or a handful of) picture(s)?
 

Mac 128

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Apr 16, 2015
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How many years has it been since we could share links via Mobile Me?

I wish this didn't attach my real name to photos I share. I sometimes share photos to communities (like this one!) where I don't share my real info, and that pretty much makes this feature useless for that.
Agreed, this is pretty much useless to me. Not sure how this is going to work in message forums where a link is entered into an image box.

Has the expiring link always been a part of this? I thought that, in the past, iCloud albums had a persistent link I could share. Is that not (or no longer) the case? Is it different for albums than for a (or a handful of) picture(s)?
I like that the link can be set to expire, and easily managed, but the 30 day expiration is a problem. My biggest pet peeve is searching for an old thread on a forum, and finding all the picture images I would have greatly benefitted from have broken links from photo services that are defunct.
 
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Keane16

macrumors 6502a
Dec 8, 2007
810
671
Not sure how this is going to work in message forums where a link is entered into an image box.
Don't use this then? It's trivial to set up Workflow to upload to something like Imgur and auto copy the link ready for pasting.

This is handy for sharing to friends and family. I personally don't want to share anything from my personal iCloud account to the wider internet.
 
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Mac 128

macrumors 603
Apr 16, 2015
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Don't use this then? It's trivial to set up Workflow to upload to something like Imgur and auto copy the link ready for pasting.

This is handy for sharing to friends and family. I personally don't want to share anything from my personal iCloud account to the wider internet.
And why would I want some of those links to ever expire then, especially for friends and family? Can’t really imagine how this is useful. Friends and family are the least of my concerns for managing sharing.

Not sure exactly why you think it’s a bad thing to share a direct link to something in your iCloud account tho ...
 
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jtmacb

macrumors member
Mar 23, 2004
41
10
Triangle, NC USA



In iOS 12, Apple has added the ability to share pictures or video in your Photo Library using an iCloud.com link that lasts for 30 days.

Not only is sharing a link quicker and less burdensome on your data allowance than sending several images or gigabytes of video, you can also share the same link as many times as you want within the expiry limit.

For the new photo link option to appear, you'll need to ensure iCloud Photos is enabled on your iOS device. To do so, launch the Settings app, tap your Apple ID at the top, select iCloud -> Photos, and make sure the toggle next to iCloud Photos is on.

How to Share an iCloud Photo Link in iOS 12
  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Tap the photo you want to link to. If you want to share a link to several photos, tap Select in the upper right corner of the screen and tap the photos you want to include.
  3. Next, tap the Share Sheet button at the lower left corner of the screen.

    Tap the Copy Link button in the third row of the Share Sheet.
  4. Wait a moment while iCloud prepares your link.
  5. Launch the app or service you want to use to share the link. We're using Messages in our example.

    In the message text field, tap and hold your finger.
  6. Tap Paste.
  7. Send the message to share the link.
If you share the link over Messages and the recipient is using an iOS device, they'll see a tappable thumbnail of the shared photo(s). If they're on an Android device, they'll just see the URL.


Tapping the thumbnail/URL link will take them to an iCloud.com web page similar to the one above, with a preview image, the author's name, the photo's title, an expiry date, and an option to download the photo or add it to an existing Apple Photos library. If several photos have been shared, the recipient can select which ones they'd like to add or download.

To share the same link again within the 30-day time limit, or simply stop sharing the photo altogether, launch the Photos app and navigate to the For You tab, where you'll find a Recently Shared section.


Tap the photo you shared and then tap the blue dotted button in the upper right corner of the screen, and you should see two options: Copy Link and Stop Sharing.

Article Link: How to Share an iCloud Photo Link in iOS 12
In iPhotos Apple gave yo the ability to type a title for one photo then tab to the next title field. When Photoscwas introduced the feature was removed. Why the hell was that done. Now you have to use your mouse to move to the next phito’s title field, select it and then start typing. Multiple steps needed where before only one was needed. Put this feature back!!!!! PLEASE!!
 
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Keane16

macrumors 6502a
Dec 8, 2007
810
671
And why would I want some of those links to ever expire then, especially for friends and family? Can’t really imagine how this is useful. Friends and family are the least of my concerns for managing sharing.
Clearly this isn't for you. Personally I don't want to share indefinitely. I think 30 days is fine for sharing between the less tech inclined amongst my friends and family. Go on a trip, take a few pics, select a few photos and post the link on our Whatsapp group. Those that want the pics can grab them, those that don't can ignore.

Friends and family is pretty much my only care when sharing from my personal library.

Not sure exactly why you think it’s a bad thing to share a direct link to something in your iCloud account tho ...
I don't want it out in the open. Don't care how secure it's claimed to be, how it may or may not have been compromised. Feel safer to keep some things private.

I've got throwaway Gmail addresses for internet related posting/sharing.
 

jtmacb

macrumors member
Mar 23, 2004
41
10
Triangle, NC USA



In iOS 12, Apple has added the ability to share pictures or video in your Photo Library using an iCloud.com link that lasts for 30 days.

Not only is sharing a link quicker and less burdensome on your data allowance than sending several images or gigabytes of video, you can also share the same link as many times as you want within the expiry limit.

For the new photo link option to appear, you'll need to ensure iCloud Photos is enabled on your iOS device. To do so, launch the Settings app, tap your Apple ID at the top, select iCloud -> Photos, and make sure the toggle next to iCloud Photos is on.

How to Share an iCloud Photo Link in iOS 12
  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Tap the photo you want to link to. If you want to share a link to several photos, tap Select in the upper right corner of the screen and tap the photos you want to include.
  3. Next, tap the Share Sheet button at the lower left corner of the screen.

    Tap the Copy Link button in the third row of the Share Sheet.
  4. Wait a moment while iCloud prepares your link.
  5. Launch the app or service you want to use to share the link. We're using Messages in our example.

    In the message text field, tap and hold your finger.
  6. Tap Paste.
  7. Send the message to share the link.
If you share the link over Messages and the recipient is using an iOS device, they'll see a tappable thumbnail of the shared photo(s). If they're on an Android device, they'll just see the URL.


Tapping the thumbnail/URL link will take them to an iCloud.com web page similar to the one above, with a preview image, the author's name, the photo's title, an expiry date, and an option to download the photo or add it to an existing Apple Photos library. If several photos have been shared, the recipient can select which ones they'd like to add or download.

To share the same link again within the 30-day time limit, or simply stop sharing the photo altogether, launch the Photos app and navigate to the For You tab, where you'll find a Recently Shared section.


Tap the photo you shared and then tap the blue dotted button in the upper right corner of the screen, and you should see two options: Copy Link and Stop Sharing.

Article Link: How to Share an iCloud Photo Link in iOS 12
Also, why doesn’t apple make it possible to give titles to photos immediately after taking the photo? Then you could have a more robust search capability. It could be as simple as a check box next to “Lable Photos” in settings for Photos with the option of skipping the labeling by hitting a button after a photo is taken. This should apply to videos too.
 
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iMerik

macrumors 6502a
May 3, 2011
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354
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Also, why doesn’t apple make it possible to give titles to photos immediately after taking the photo? Then you could have a more robust search capability. It could be as simple as a check box next to “Lable Photos” in settings for Photos with the option of skipping the labeling by hitting a button after a photo is taken. This should apply to videos too.
Yes please.
 

Frantisekj

macrumors regular
Mar 9, 2017
199
108
Deep inside Europe :-)
I ma very demanding on functionality in this. I find this as lousy solution when you are forced to manually share resulting link. If, it should copy link to clipboard and then again offer you where you want to share it.
Skilled ones can make Workflow that will do that all or somebody may post online it soon for all.

If I will be willing to use Google Photos I would want such functionality, or Flicker one. Otherwise why to put pics on iCloud if I can not give link to anybody to browse whole my public photos?
 
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charlituna

macrumors G3
Jun 11, 2008
9,629
811
Los Angeles, CA
So many things that Apple could do to make iOS Photos far more useful like adding keywords, titles, manually adding Faces (which you can do in the Mac version), manually adding Locations (which I believe you can still do in the Mac version), plug ins for additional filters and editing tools. But hey lets just tweak the searching and sharing
 

Mac 128

macrumors 603
Apr 16, 2015
5,360
2,927
Clearly this isn't for you. Personally I don't want to share indefinitely. I think 30 days is fine for sharing between the less tech inclined amongst my friends and family. Go on a trip, take a few pics, select a few photos and post the link on our Whatsapp group. Those that want the pics can grab them, those that don't can ignore.

Friends and family is pretty much my only care when sharing from my personal library.



I don't want it out in the open. Don't care how secure it's claimed to be, how it may or may not have been compromised. Feel safer to keep some things private.

I've got throwaway Gmail addresses for internet related posting/sharing.
You make it seem like it's one or the other. All Apple has to do is provide the option for perma-links to photos, with an anonymous path, just like Flikr and Google do, and so many others. Those of us who don't have the same fears you do can use it, and you don't have to. Simple as that. This is about choice, and options, neither of which Apple has ever been very generous with offering.
 

NotSafeForWork

macrumors regular
Apr 9, 2015
239
88
This has enabled itself automatically when I want to send more than three images at once via iMessage. But I don’t want this, I just want to send them via iMessage directly. Can’t find out how to disable this function.
 
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reggoboy

macrumors member
Jul 8, 2009
44
3
The biggest problem I find with this otherwise excellent new feature is that the recipients appear to have to download the photos and videos in order to see anything more than an thumbnail. Often, however, people will be content to browse them, and only download the few they want to keep.

My observation is that people logged into iCloud get an "Add All To Library" button, and otherwise you get "Download".

Is there another option I'm missing?
 

codemonkey85

macrumors newbie
Sep 17, 2015
12
7
The biggest problem I find with this otherwise excellent new feature is that the recipients appear to have to download the photos and videos in order to see anything more than an thumbnail.
What do you mean? If you tap on a photo or video, it downloads it to your device temporarily just like it would for your own iCloud Photo Library items... just like it would if it were an image on a web page.
 
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NotSafeForWork

macrumors regular
Apr 9, 2015
239
88
I found a way to work around this. Instead of using the Photo button in iMessage go directly to the Photos app and select and Copy the images from there from the share sheet. It then pastes them in the old way and doesn’t do the iCloud link.
 
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