How to Share an iCloud Photo Link in iOS 12

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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.

  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.

  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.


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.

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
27 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)
Avatar
27 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)
Avatar
27 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)
Avatar
27 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)
Avatar
27 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)
Avatar
27 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)

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