How to setup shared Photo Stream on iPhone and iPad

If you are someone who shares photos from your iPhone or iPad with friends and family often, then you should rejoice at the introduction of Shared Photo Streams in iOS 6. Before Photo Stream, most people would use iMessage, SMS or attach photos to an email. Apple realized this was a terribly inefficient method of sharing photos made even worse if you want to share more than a few images. If you share photos often, read on for how to setup shared Photo Streams on iPhone and iPad. This might just be the best feature in iOS 6, making it easier than ever to share those important moments.

What you’ll need
This being an entirely new feature, there are some requirements that might be a bit of hurdle for some. In order to share and accept a share, you’ll need to be running iOS 6. As per our iOS 6 compatibility chart, the following devices support iOS 6.

  • iPhone 3GS
  • iPhone 4
  • iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 5
  • iPad 2
  • iPad 3
  • iPad 4
  • iPad mini
  • iPod touch 4G

Photo Stream Settings
You are going to need to turn on both your personal Photo Stream and Shared Photo Streams. On your device, navigate to Settings > iCloud > Photo Stream. You’ll need to turn both of these features to On. Here’s a quick definition of what you’ll be enabling:

My Photo Stream: Automatically upload new photos and send them to all of your iCloud devices when connected to WiFi.

Shared Photo Streams: Created photo streams to share with other people, or subscribe to other people’s shared photo streams.

Configure Photo Stream

Create Shared Photo Stream

Go to your Camera Roll or Photo Stream. They are located in the Photos app. Tap on the Edit button at the top right. Now select the photos you would like to share by tapping on each photo. A red check mark should appear next to each photo.

Select photos

When you are finished, tap on the ‘Share’ button at the bottom left. You are going to want to select Photo Stream. For some reason, Apple chose to call it Photo Stream rather than Shared Photo Stream, which is a bit confusing. Technically, you could be sharing Photo Stream to Photo Stream. Semantics aside, click on Photo Stream.

share photo stream

This will create an entirely new Photo Stream that will be shared with either one person or a group. Select the plus sign to add contacts for whom you’d like to share this group of photos. When finished, tap in the Name field and give your Shared Photo Stream a title. In this example, I aptly chose the title “Meeting Santa”.

Create Photo Stream

When finished tap on next and your invites will get sent out. If the person on the other end of the invite is running iOS 6, they will be able to accept, subscribe and view photos that appear in the Shared Photo Stream.

Message with Photo Stream

Tip: You can always add photos to an existing stream. Let’s say I take pictures this weekend with Santa for a second time, I can add those to an existing shared Photo Stream. Once the person or persons accepts your share, they are subscribed to that Photo Stream.

I share photos often and up until iOS 6, I relied on email, iMessage and photo sharing websites. Not only were they cumbersome to use, but they were incredibly limiting. None of the above made it easy to share a large group of photos, without great effort on my part or those on the receiving end. Shared Photo Streams removes all,of those hurdles, making it easy to share and view photos with friends and family.

  • Caro

    When others are subscribed to shared photo stream, would my pictures take up room in their storage (phone)???
    I have shared streams of thousands of photos and feel bad for anyone subscribed to my photo stream . Often they will unsubcribe for fear they will run out of storage on their own phones.