Shared iCloud Photos Library

Gizmotoy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Nov 6, 2003
1,081
118
Some basic background: my wife and I share a photo library on Google Photos. It's fantastic. All photos across all devices are uploaded and merged, and we can each see photos the other has taken automatically. Great for pictures of our son. This is synced back to my iMac via Google Drive to keep a local copy and be send off to an actual reliable backup service. This works great, except Google is discontinuing that Google Drive part next month because they say users found it confusing.

I thought: Great! I'll just switch to iCloud Photos. It looks pretty good now. But after uploading our 500GB of photos I found there's a huge snag: you can't actually share a library as of iOS 12. It never even occurred to me that this wouldn't be a possibility.

The alternatives I've found are:
  1. You can share an Album, but not if it contains images greater than 6MP or 4K video. They'll be downscaled, which makes them useless for archival purposes. And even then it's a manual process that basically guarantees you lose some photos eventually.
  2. You can share an Apple ID, which we already do for purchases, but only your primary account is allowed access to Photos. This means that you also have to share Contacts and Email to get it to work.
Does anyone know of any other alternatives, or if 1 or 2 are treated differently as of iOS 13 betas? Just allowing Photos on a shared secondary account like they do for the App Store would be enough. I wish that was an option.
 

niji

Contributor
Feb 9, 2003
1,455
1,166
tokyo
hi

i think your # 1 is the best option for you:
1 Photos Library that has certain Albums you make available (Share) for others to view and upload to.

I think your point of "...f it contains images greater than 6MP or 4K video. They'll be downscaled..." is not accurate.
It would do this if you have chosen to optimize your photos library. If you have chosen to not optimizer, then it will store individual photos up to the max that Photos allows.
 

Gizmotoy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Nov 6, 2003
1,081
118
hi

i think your # 1 is the best option for you:
1 Photos Library that has certain Albums you make available (Share) for others to view and upload to.

I think your point of "...f it contains images greater than 6MP or 4K video. They'll be downscaled..." is not accurate.
It would do this if you have chosen to optimize your photos library. If you have chosen to not optimizer, then it will store individual photos up to the max that Photos allows.
We have to choose the Optimize option. Our phones cannot store the entire 500GB photo library. Beyond that, though, the fact that it’s a manual process makes it extremely unattractive for backing photos up.

Edit: Actually, I did some testing and it appears the previous poster is incorrect. The size limitation does not appear to be tied to that setting. From Apple’s support page on the topic (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202786)
“When shared, photos taken with standard point-and-shoot cameras, SLR cameras, or iOS devices have up to 2048 pixels on the long edge. Panoramic photos can be up to 5400 pixels wide. You can share GIFs that are 100MB or smaller. ... Videos can be up to fifteen minutes in length and are delivered at up to 720p resolution.“

My testing matched Apple’s claimed limitations. I got max 2048px images and 720p video back from the Shared Album.
 
Last edited:

TrueBlou

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2014
3,778
2,487
Scotland
Good luck, I’ve been nagging them about this for years.
While my wife and I have separate accounts (natch) she isn’t interested in maintaining her photos, she likes to take lots of them, but just wants them added to my Photos app on Mac, so that I can maintain them. But, crucially, she wants to see the changes and have new photos added automatically and so on and so on.

A shared album isn’t ideal and isn’t what we’re after. Ideally having two separate accounts linked to one photo library is what would be ideal. I’ve been told it’s something they are working on, but considering I’ve been getting told that for a few years now, god knows.

Perhaps submit a feature request to Apple, maybe the more of us who let them know it’s a feature we want, the more chance we have of getting it.
 

Gizmotoy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Nov 6, 2003
1,081
118
Good luck, I’ve been nagging them about this for years.
While my wife and I have separate accounts (natch) she isn’t interested in maintaining her photos, she likes to take lots of them, but just wants them added to my Photos app on Mac, so that I can maintain them. But, crucially, she wants to see the changes and have new photos added automatically and so on and so on.

A shared album isn’t ideal and isn’t what we’re after. Ideally having two separate accounts linked to one photo library is what would be ideal. I’ve been told it’s something they are working on, but considering I’ve been getting told that for a few years now, god knows.

Perhaps submit a feature request to Apple, maybe the more of us who let them know it’s a feature we want, the more chance we have of getting it.
You can already use a separate account for some subset of the built-in OS features, it seems reasonable you could also do it for Photos, but who knows.

I'm still kind of shocked that there's absolutely no way to share a collection of full-resolution photos and video between family members. You're stuck going a couple at a time with AirDrop or copying files between Macs. I'm not sure how Apple thinks that's OK.