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(Pocket-lint) - When you set up or join a family group on your Apple device, a Shared Family Album is created automatically in the Photos app on all family members’ devices.

Everyone in the family can add photos and videos to this album. They can also comment and get notified when something new is added. This is handy when you've just celebrated Christmas or gone on a holiday and want to share with everyone the moments and memories you captured. But instead of creating an album on Facebook or a multi-post on Instagram with a select few shots, you can directly share all your photos and videos with your family members via a Shared Family Album. That way they can choose which to grab and post on social media themselves if they want.

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Confused about how the Shared Family Album works on iPhone, iPad, and Mac? No worries. Pocket-lint made it all easy to understand below. 

Shared Family Album: Two things to do before you get started

Before we dive into how to find and add and remove photos to your Shared Family Album, you need to make sure you've set up or are in a family group and that you've turned on iCloud Shared Albums. This is a one-time thing. 

Step 1. Set up your family

One adult in the family - a family organiser —-can set up Family Sharing for the group from their iPhone, iPad, or Mac. The family organiser pays for family members' purchases and must have a valid payment method on file.

  • On your iPhone or iPad: Go to Settings > Tap your name > Tap Family Sharing, then tap Set Up Your Family. Follow the onscreen instructions
  • On your Mac: Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Family Sharing. Confirm the Apple ID that you want to use for Family Sharing.

Want to join an existing family group instead? Check out Apple's support page for tips on how to join.

Step 2. Turn on iCloud Shared Albums

Finally, to add to a Shared Family Album, you need to ensure iCloud Shared Albums is turned on on your device. On an iPhone, just go to Settings  > Your name > iCloud > Photos, then turn on Shared Albums. 

How to find the Shared Family Album on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac

If you want to see what your family members have added to the Shared Family Album, open the Photos app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac and go to the Shared section.

On iPhone or iPad: 

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the Albums tab.
  3. Scroll down to the Shared Albums and select the Shared Family Album.
    • Don't see it? Tap on See All and browse until you find it.

On your Mac:

  1. Launch Photos on your Mac.
  2. Under the Shared section of the Sidebar, click Shared Albums.
  3. Select the Shared Family Album.

How to add photos to the Shared Family Album on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac

When you want to add images to the Shared Family Album, you'll be glad to know it works a lot like how you add photos and videos to a normal album on your device.

On your iPhone or iPad:

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the Albums tab.
  3. Scroll down to the Shared Albums and select the Shared Family Album.   
    • Don't see it? Tap on See All and browse until you find it.
  4. Tap on the plus sign.
  5. Tap the photos and videos you want to add.
  6. Tap Done in the upper corner.
  7. Type a description if you want, and then tap Post in the next window.

 On your Mac:

  1. Launch the Photos app on your Mac.
  2. Click the photos you want to share with your family.
    • Shift-click or command-click to select multiple
  3. Click the share button on the upper right of the window (box with an arrow).
  4. Click Shared Albums.
  5. Click Family. 

How to remove photos to the Shared Family Album on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac

If you want to delete an image or video in your Shared Family Album, that's easy - in fact, any family member can delete content from the album at any time.

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On your iPhone or iPad:

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the Albums tab.
  3. Scroll down to the Shared Albums section and select the Shared Family Album. (
    • Don't see it? Tap on See All and browse until you find it.
  4. Tap Select in the upper corner.
  5. Tap the photos or videos you want to remove.
  6. Tap the Trash icon in the bottom corner.
  7. Tap Delete Photos to confirm that you want to remove the selected photos.

On your Mac:

  1. Launch the Photos app on your Mac.
  2. Click on Shared Albums in the sidebar.
  3. Select the Shared Family Album.
  4. Select the images you want to remove.
  5. Press the Delete key on your keyboard.
  6. Click on Delete to confirm that you want to remove the photo from the Shared Family Album.

Want to know more?

Apple has a support page for Shared Albums in general if you need more instructions or information.

Pocket-lint also has the following guides for further reading:

iCloud

Apple Photos

iOS and MacOS

Finally, be sure to tune into Pocket-lint's Apple hub for all the latest. The company usually announces new hardware and software in the autumn, so updates to how its apps and services work are likely coming down the pike.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.