photos iconIn 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.
    how to share an icloud photo link in ios 12 01

  4. Tap the Copy Link button in the third row of the Share Sheet.
  5. Wait a moment while iCloud prepares your link.
  6. Launch the app or service you want to use to share the link. We're using Messages in our example.
    how to share an icloud photo link in ios 12 02

  7. In the message text field, tap and hold your finger.
  8. Tap Paste.
  9. 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.

how to share an icloud photo link in ios 12 04
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.

how to share an icloud photo link in ios 12 03
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.

Top Rated Comments

codemonkey85 Avatar
50 months ago
Does anyone know if this can be done with multiple selected photos? Ie share 5 photos at once from a single link?
Yes, you can share a group of photos the same way.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mac 128 Avatar
50 months ago
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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RightMACatU Avatar
50 months ago
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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Keane16 Avatar
50 months ago
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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Xenc Avatar
50 months ago
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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mac 128 Avatar
50 months ago
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 ...
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

ios 16 lock screen feature

What to Expect From Apple Through July: iOS 16 Public Beta, New MacBook Air, Back to School Promotion, and More

Monday June 20, 2022 4:39 pm PDT by
While the summer months following WWDC are often a relatively quiet time of the year for Apple, there are still some notable items on the agenda through July. Below, we've rounded up six things to expect from Apple over the next six weeks or so. Public Betas of iOS 16 and More As part of WWDC 2022, Apple announced that public betas of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura, watchOS 9, tvOS 16,...
Shazam Music Recognition Control Center

iPhone's Built-In Music Recognition Feature Syncs With Shazam App on iOS 16

Tuesday June 21, 2022 7:37 am PDT by
Since the release of iOS 14.2 in 2020, the iPhone has included a built-in Music Recognition feature in Control Center powered by Shazam. And with iOS 16, and also the iOS 15.6 beta, the feature has received a small but useful upgrade. As noted by Twitter user @someone_andrew, songs identified with Music Recognition in Control Center finally sync with the Shazam app. It also remains...
home app ios 16

Apple Confirms iPad Will No Longer Be Supported as a Home Hub in iOS 16

Wednesday June 22, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
The iPad will no longer be able to be used as a home hub following the launch of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura, and the HomePod 16 software this fall, Apple confirmed today. As discovered in iOS 16 code by MacRumors contributor Steve Moser, Apple says that the iPad will no longer be supported as a home hub. This information will be displayed in the Home app after updating to iOS 16.A home ...
customize wallpaper setting ios 16

iOS 16 Beta 2 Tidbits: New Wallpaper Colors, Backup Over LTE, SMS Filtering and More

Wednesday June 22, 2022 2:16 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded the second betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to developers for testing purposes, and the new betas introduce new features and refine some of the changes that Apple made with the first iOS 16 release. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Lock Screen Photo Wallpaper Customization When customizing a photo on the Lock Screen, there are two new DuoTone and...
apple ar headset concept 2

Apple CEO Tim Cook Hints at AR/VR Headset: 'Stay Tuned and You'll See What We Have to Offer'

Wednesday June 22, 2022 6:34 pm PDT by
CEO Tim Cook this week did an interview with China Daily, where he once again commented on on the future of augmented reality and hinted at Apple's work on an AR/VR headset. Render via designer Ian Zelbo Cook said that Apple is excited about the opportunities available with augmented reality, which is not too far off from prior comments that he's made, but he went on to say that people should ...
ios 16 lock screen feature2

Apple Seeds Second Betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to Developers

Wednesday June 22, 2022 10:07 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the second betas of upcoming iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming two weeks after Apple unveiled the new software at WWDC and released the initial betas. Registered developers can download the iOS and iPadOS 16 profiles from the Apple Developer Center, and once installed, the betas will be available over the air. Given...
apple back to school

Apple Said to Launch 2022 Back to School Promotion on Friday, Might Offer Gift Cards Instead of Free AirPods

Tuesday June 21, 2022 8:27 am PDT by
Apple plans to launch its annual Back to School promotion in the United States on Friday, coinciding with the launch of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In a tweet, Gurman said Apple may offer a gift card with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad, rather than free AirPods like last year. Each year, Apple's Back to School promotion offers...
12S HiRise3 LS15 HiRes

Twelve South Launches New 'HiRise 3' Charger for iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods

Tuesday June 21, 2022 6:03 am PDT by
Twelve South today announced the "HiRise 3" stand charger for iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods, priced at $99.99. The stand supports MagSafe-compatible charging and holds an iPhone 12 or later vertically, and also includes a charging puck for Apple Watch and a Qi charging mat on the base that supports AirPods or any Qi-compatible smartphone. The HiRise 3 is available in black and white color ...