Create Public Albums with Apple Photos

Apple Photos, and iCloud Photo Library, make it easy to store and sync photos across devices. You can also create albums that you share with friends and families. But the ability to create public albums or galleries is MIA, almost.

Back in the day, with .Mac and MobileMe, it was dead simple to make photo galleries to show off your pictures on the web. In 2012, Apple added photo sharing features to iCloud, which are essentially what we have today as shared albums. I had wondered why you couldn’t create a public album, and I mentioned it on Twitter a few days ago. One person pointed out that it was possible, and showed me where the feature was; it’s not easy to find. For example, the Help isn’t any help:

Help

Start by creating a new album in Photos. When you’ve done that, click the Share button, and choose iCloud Photo Sharing. Click New Shared Album, enter a name for the album, then click Create.

Public album1

Next, select the shared album, click the People button in the toolbar, and check Public Website. In a couple of seconds, Photos will display a link with the URL of the album. You can click it to view it, and if you right-click the link, you can choose Copy Link to send it to others. Here’s a link to the album I’ve set up for this article.

Public album2

It’s surprising that Apple thinks that this is a good user experience. The public album option should be visible when you set up a shared album; there should be a checkbox under the field where you add users. I’m sure that most users – like me – never discover this feature because it’s so well hidden.


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24 thoughts on “Create Public Albums with Apple Photos

  1. To publicly share photos in iCloud, must the photos reside in the iCloud, by purchasing space in iCloud, should my free 5gb be near full?

        • They don’t count as additional storage for iCloud; but you’re using your iCloud storage allotment for the original photos. You also don’t get dinged for photos others have shared with you at all.

          • You don’t need to store your photos in iCloud Photo Library for this to work. I’ve name public albums since before iCloud Photo Library, and have always stored my photos locally on my drive, in Aperture. The public albums don’t count towards my iCloud space at all.

  2. To publicly share photos in iCloud, must the photos reside in the iCloud, by purchasing space in iCloud, should my free 5gb be near full?

        • They don’t count as additional storage for iCloud; but you’re using your iCloud storage allotment for the original photos. You also don’t get dinged for photos others have shared with you at all.

          • You don’t need to store your photos in iCloud Photo Library for this to work. I’ve name public albums since before iCloud Photo Library, and have always stored my photos locally on my drive, in Aperture. The public albums don’t count towards my iCloud space at all.

  3. Any security/hacking implications between this public space and your iCloud account that you might be concerned about?

    • Such as? There’s no public access to your account, just to a gallery that is linked to your account.

  4. Any security/hacking implications between this public space and your iCloud account that you might be concerned about?

    • Such as? There’s no public access to your account, just to a gallery that is linked to your account.

  5. So there is no real connection to one’s account other than Apple knowing who to connect the Album to? Paranoia runs deep these days, probably more than the reality calls for.

    • There is no way to access any content via the link to a share library. The photos are copied from the account to create the album.

  6. So there is no real connection to one’s account other than Apple knowing who to connect the Album to? Paranoia runs deep these days, probably more than the reality calls for.

    • There is no way to access any content via the link to a share library. The photos are copied from the account to create the album.

  7. I just followed this same process successfully on my iPad.

    Now, I’m running iOS 11.4 in beta, so I don’t know if it works in the current release. However, I feel like it’s a safe assumption to make.

  8. I just followed this same process successfully on my iPad.

    Now, I’m running iOS 11.4 in beta, so I don’t know if it works in the current release. However, I feel like it’s a safe assumption to make.

  9. I have found sharing photos in Photos to be massively slow and unreliable. I tried several times to set up albums, which at first appeared not to take any of my pictures, then would have multiple copies as I tried several times to set them up.

    Massively frustrating, and not an advance over Mobile Me galleries, which were rolled out with such fanfare way back when. Those just worked. Easily and elegantly.

    I don’t bother trying to set up shared albums anymore. I e-mail a few pics to family.

  10. I have found sharing photos in Photos to be massively slow and unreliable. I tried several times to set up albums, which at first appeared not to take any of my pictures, then would have multiple copies as I tried several times to set them up.

    Massively frustrating, and not an advance over Mobile Me galleries, which were rolled out with such fanfare way back when. Those just worked. Easily and elegantly.

    I don’t bother trying to set up shared albums anymore. I e-mail a few pics to family.

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