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iOS 6: Shared Photo Streams

Mel Martin

Apple shuttered MobileMe Galleries in June, which many Mac users were happily using as photo albums for sharing on the web.

Apple has made a small step back toward photo sharing with Photo Stream sharing, which is now a part of iOS 6 and iPhoto and Aperture on the Mac.

The implementation is flawed in many ways, but here's how it works.

On the iPhone or iPad go to Photo Stream in your Photo app and press the + button. That will allow you to name your collection of photos. Type in an email address (it must be someone on iCloud) and decide if you want the stream posted publicly or not. If you make it public you will get a URL so anyone can see it. If you are keeping it to other iCloud users, your album will show up in their Photo Stream collection, and they will get a notification that it is available. You'll get a notice back when they subscribe.

It's completely different with iPhoto, for no apparent good reason. With iPhoto, you select your pictures from your iPhoto library then click on share at the bottom-right of the iPhoto window. Select Photo Stream and it will make copies that will show up in a new album on the Photo Stream window, or photos can be added to an existing album.

Once those albums are created new photos can be added from any iOS device or a Mac. Photos can also be deleted by clicking on the edit button. However, photos can't be rearranged in the gallery. That's kind of messy, and very un-Apple like. It's also far behind the functionality you got with MobileMe.

When your friends or family view the public web page it appears as a collage. Apple has done the layout, so again, you get no control. When a photo is clicked on it expands to full screen. People can move from photo to photo, or trigger an automated slide show.

After a shared Photo Stream is created you can add more subscribers, make it public, turn public access off or delete the entire stream.

These Photo Stream galleries do not count against your iCloud storage, which is a plus, but the whole shared Photo Stream feature set is non-intuitive and severely limits your ability to determine how things are arranged and displayed.

Apple can do better and I hope they do.

Gallery: Photo Stream Sharing | 6 Photos

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