If you've got an Apple iOS device such as an iPhone or iPad, then you've probably come across the built-in iCloud feature that allows you to automatically share photos and other information across multiple devices. The photo-sharing option within iCloud is called My Photo Stream, and we've looked at this in the past, showing you how to share photos between your iOS devices and your Windows PC. See all Apple tutorials and iPhone/iPhone tips.
My Photo Stream works really well, but it does have limitations. The main one is that it can only share photos with devices that are linked to your personal iCloud account. You can take some photos with your iPhone while you're away on holiday and – Wi-Fi permitting – they'll automatically be transferred to your PC or Mac at home for you. However, you can't use My Photo Stream to share photos with your family or friends, and you can't use it to share videos that you shoot either. See also How to use a passcode to lock folders on iPad.
However, Apple recently updated iCloud with a new Shared Streams option that, as the name implies, does allow you to share your photos with other people. Also, unlike Shared Photo Streams before it, Shared Streams now allows you to share videos too. Setting up the sharing options can be a little confusing, though, so here's how to master it.
How to share your iPhone and iPad photos and videos with anyone: Step 1
First of all make sure iCloud is set up properly. Open the Settings menu on your iPhone or iPad, and then select iCloud. There are several options for sharing different types of data, so select Photos and then make sure you turn on both My Photo Stream and the new Photo Sharing option.
How to share your iPhone and iPad photos and videos with anyone: Step 2
The photos in the Camera Roll on your iPhone will be automatically copied across to your PC since you've turned on My Photo Stream. And, as you've also activated Photo Sharing, you'll see a 'Shared' button at the bottom of the screen as well.
How to share your iPhone and iPad photos and videos with anyone: Step 3
Tap the Shared button and you'll see this window, which gives you the option of creating a new ‘stream' that you can share with other people. If you're running iOS 6 you can only share photos, but upgrading to iOS 7 allows you to include videos in your shared streams too.
How to share your iPhone and iPad photos and videos with anyone: Step 4
Tap ‘Create New Stream' and you'll be prompted to give the stream a name. You can call it anything you want, but try to use a name that will make sense to people when they receive your invitation. You'll then be prompted to invite people by entering their email addresses.
How to share your iPhone and iPad photos and videos with anyone: Step 5
You can use the contact info stored on your iPhone or iPad to invite people to share your photo stream. An invitation will then be sent to each person via email. What happens next depends on whether those people have their own iCloud accounts set up on their own iOS devices or PC.
How to share your iPhone and iPad photos and videos with anyone: Step 6
Jim owns an iPad and has iCloud already set up on his PC – and you can see his own iCloud photos folder in the Windows Explorer here. He'll see this invitation automatically popping up from the iCloud icon in the Taskbar, and can simply click the invitation to accept it.
How to share your iPhone and iPad photos and videos with anyone: Step 7
Once you've invited one or more people, you'll be prompted to add some photos and videos to the stream. Unlike My Photo Stream – which automatically syncs all your photos – a shared stream requires you to tap and select each individual photo that you want to include.
How to share your iPhone and iPad photos and videos with anyone: Step 8
Jim can now see all my shared photos and videos in the iCloud Photos folder on his PC, and can even add his own photos and videos to the stream as well. And if he has iCloud set up on his iPad he can see the photo stream on that too.
How to share your iPhone and iPad photos and videos with anyone: Step 9
Of course, not everyone will have an iCloud account, so there is also an option to ‘publish' your photo stream as a public web site on www.icloud.com. Click the Public Website button to activate this option, and then click Share Link in order to send out more invitations.
How to share your iPhone and iPad photos and videos with anyone: Step 10
Anyone with an Internet connection and a web browser can view your shared stream on the iCloud web site. They can't add their own photos and videos without having an iCloud account of their own, but they can download files that they want to keep.
How to share your iPhone and iPad photos and videos with anyone: Step 11
Back on your iPhone, you can view the contents of your Shared Stream and add or delete more photos and videos whenever you want. Tapping the People button also allows you to send more invitations, remove people if you change my mind, and to publish or delete your public website.