iOS 16 has the biggest upgrade — how iCloud Shared Photo Library works

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iOS 16 introduces a new kind of picture sharing.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

When it comes to sharing images with friends and family, iOS 16 brings a new method. If you’re eager to share your memories with a wider audience, iCloud Shared Photo Library is coming to the iPhone this autumn with the iOS 16 software upgrade.

You may wonder, “Isn’t iOS already capable of supporting shared albums?” Indeed, such it is. When it comes to organizing and adding folders to the shared library, iCloud Shared Photo Library is a different story. In addition, the individuals with whom you’re sharing have the same authority that you have in terms of adding, deleting, and even editing the photographs that are shared.

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As of iOS 16 developer beta 3, the iCloud Shared Photo Library feature has not yet been included to the software. In ahead of the public beta release of iOS 16 this month, we do know a little something about how the new Shared Photo Library works, thanks to Apple included this top iOS 16 feature in its June preview.

How to Set Up an iCloud Shared Photo Library

A major difference between iOS’s current shared photo libraries and the iCloud Shared Photo Library is the way you put things up. The Photos app on your iPhone generates standard shared libraries. However, users of the iOS 16 developer beta report that you may construct your iCloud Shared Photo Library by making a change to one of the Photos settings in the Settings app.

A simple switch-to-on action initiates the iCloud Shared Photo Library. As a result, you’ll be given the option of creating a shared picture library with as many as six other individuals.

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Choosing with whom and what to share is the next step after you’ve decided who to share it with. If you wish to add all of your images, you may do so, but there is also an option to choose photos based on the individuals in them or the dates they were taken (or both, if you prefer).

There are a number of methods that make use of the Photos app’s face recognition and metadata capabilities to make uploading photographs to a shared library a lot easier (though you do have the option of adding photos manually if you prefer.)

Shared Library vs. personal library in Photos

As far as I can determine, your iCloud Shared Photo Library does not have its own album or area in the Photos app. All of the images you’ve shared to iCloud are now part of your collection, along with the ones you’ve chosen to keep private. This is a break from iOS’s existing approach, which places a distinct Shared Albums section in the Albums tab under Photos.

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A new feature in iOS 16 allows you to see your personal photographs, shared images, or a combination of the two libraries in the Library tab. It’s not clear whether shared photographs will have the same visual distinction as photos that came on your iPhone through Messages. (A little text bubble appears in the bottom left corner of certain images.)

Some iOS users may have a hard time comprehending the notion of a single tab for both personal and shared images since shared albums are already a familiar concept. Once the beta of iOS 16 is out, we’ll be able to test how smooth and natural the transition is.

How sharing works with an iCloud Shared Photo Library

The iCloud Shared Photo Library lets you share photographs with others, but there are also nifty ways to upload your own photos as you take them. In the Camera app, you’ll be able to share your images directly with the individuals in your shared library.

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You’ll be able to move back and forth between the camera app and taking photographs that are only kept in your personal library, but how useful this feature is will be determined by how easy it is to transition between them.

When you’re at a party or on a family vacation, you may share images with your iCloud Shared Photo Library’s members via proximity-based sharing.

It is likely that you will need to be among individuals who have iOS 16 on their iPhones in order for the images you shoot to immediately be shared with the group.

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Images for your iCloud Shared Photo Library are shown under the For You tab in Photos. Currently, this tab offers up groups of photographs called Memories, which is one of my favorite innovations to iOS 15 Photos. Now, it will contain photos of the individuals included in your shared library. With a tap, you’ll be able to add them to your collection.

Editing shared photos in your iCloud Shared Photo Library

The existing shared libraries are static, which means you may make changes to the photographs on your device but no one else will see them until you upload them to the shared folder.

Everyone has the ability to modify photos in iCloud Shared Photo Libraries, therefore this is not an issue. Sharing folder members may update captions, keywords, and other information, as well. Even if they remove a picture, you’ll receive a notice and the option to save it in your own personal library if you so want.

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iCloud Shared Photo Library outlook

We’ll have to test this properly to determine whether it’s a real improvement over the current method of sharing photographs. Sharing and managing images is a good innovation, but the fact that shared photos are saved alongside your own personal library is a potential stumbling block for some.

As part of the iCloud Shared Photo Library, Apple wants to eliminate any remaining obstacles to sharing images with your loved ones by making the process as easy as possible for everyone. Using more time with the iOS 16 public beta, we’ll be able to judge whether or not they’ve lived up to their promise.

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