Mac Apps

How to Share your iCloud Photos with non-Apple Devices

As a Mac user, whenever you want to share a large number of photos with friends or family, chances are that iCloud Photo Sharing is one of your top choices – but what if one of the people you want to share photos with doesn’t own an Apple device?

Although iCloud Photo Sharing is most effective when you’re sharing content with other Apple users, it is possible to share iCloud Photos content with people who aren’t using Apple products, by generating a URL that anyone can use to access your shared album.

In this article, I’m going to show you how to generate a URL that’ll allow anyone to access your shared iCloud album on any device.

However, there are two major drawbacks to sharing iCloud content this way. Firstly, anyone who accesses your content via a URL will be able to view and download your photos, but they won’t be able to like or comment on those photos, and they won’t be able to add their own content to your album.

The other major drawback is that anyone who has the correct URL will be able to access your shared album – although hopefully anyone you share this URL with won’t pass it onto other people without your permission!

You should also be aware that the URL that’s generated is assigned to your shared album permanently. If you want to make a shared album private, then you can always disable URL sharing for this particular album, but if you do ever re-enable URL sharing for this album, then it’ll once again be accessible via the same URL.

If you do still want to go ahead and create an album that you can share with non-Apple users, then you’ll need to complete the following steps:

1. Enable iCloud Photo Sharing

  • Launch the Photos app on your Mac.
  • Select ‘Photos > Preferences…’ from the toolbar.
  • In the subsequent window, make sure the ‘iCloud’ tab is selected.
  • Select the ‘iCloud Photo Sharing’ checkbox.
  • Close the ‘Preferences’ window.

2. Create your shared album

  • Back in the Photos app, Control-click all the images you want to add to your shared album.
  • Click the ‘Share’ button (where the cursor is positioned in the screenshot below).

  • Select ‘iCloud Photo Sharing.’
  • Click ‘New Shared Album’ and give your shared album a name.
  • If you also want to share this album with one or more Apple users, then now’s your chance to enter their email addresses!
  • Click ‘Create.’

3. Share your album with non-Apple users

  • Make sure your shared album is selected in the left-hand menu.
  • Click the ‘People’ icon (where the cursor is positioned in the screenshot below).

  • Select ‘Public Website.’ This generates a URL that anyone can use to access this album.

You can now share this URL with everyone who needs access to your album. How you share this URL is up to you – you could paste it into an email or an instant message, or even send it via text message, although bear in mind that anyone who has this URL will be able to access your content, so you should use a method that’s private and secure!

The recipient then just needs to enter this URL into their web browser, and they’ll be able to access the entire contents of your shared album, regardless of the device they’re using.

If you want to stop sharing an album at any point, then open that album in the Photos app, click the ‘People’ icon and then deselect the ‘Public website’ checkbox.

If you want something more permanent then you can delete the album, by clicking the ‘People’ icon and then selecting the ‘Delete Shared Item’ button. Note that when you delete a shared album you’ll lose all comments and likes associated with that album.

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About the author


I've been a passionate evangelist for Apple and the Macintosh throughout my working life, my first love was a Quadra 605 working with a small creative agency in the south of Norfolk UK in the mid 1990's, I later progressed to other roles in other Macintosh dominated industries, first as a Senior graphic designer at a small printing company and then a production manager at Guardian Media Group. As the publishing and printing sector wained I moved into Internet Marketing and in 2006 co-founded which grew to become one the top 200 visited sites in the US (according to Quantcast), at its peak receiving over 15 million visits per month. For the last ten years I have worked as an Affiliate and Consultant to many different business and start ups, my key skill set being online marketing, on page monetisation, landing page optimisation and traffic generation, if you would like to hire me or discuss your current project please reach out to me here.

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