How to Transfer Pictures to Shared Library on Photos App

iOS 16 adds a new way to share photos and videos from a recent trip or gathering with your friends and family members using iCloud Shared Photo Library. With this feature, you can move certain images from your personal collection to the shared library so that anyone can view or edit them or add their own content in a single shared space.

Although Apple offers many ways to share these images automatically during setup or from the Camera app, you can always manually transfer anything you want to the shared library using the Photos app. . In this article, we’ll walk you through how to do that, what happens when moving content to the shared library, how to view it, and more.

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How to manually upload photos to shared library

When you create or join a shared library on iOS 16, the Photos app automatically categorizes your photos and videos into personal library and shared library. Unless configured otherwise, not all content on your iPhone is transferred to the shared library, so you may need to manually move some of your photos and videos after the initial setup.

One way to move content is to share photos directly from the Camera app to the shared library. However, you will not be able to move existing pictures from your iPhone to the shared library using this method. To move these pictures, you will need to manually transfer them from the Photos app to the shared library.

To manually upload photos to the shared library, open the Pictures application.

You can upload your content individually or in bulk and we’ll explain those two ways below.

Upload a photo or video individually

To move a single photo or video to the shared library, tap it in the Photos app.

This will open the content in full screen mode. To share this photo/video, tap the 3 dot icon in the upper right corner.

From the overflow menu that appears, select Move to shared library.

The image will now be removed from your personal library and uploaded to the shared library.

Related: 5 Ways to Copy Subject on iPhone on iOS 16

Transfer multiple photos and videos

To move photos and videos in bulk to the shared library, you must first select them in the Photos app. In this app, tap Select in the upper right corner.

You can now select all the images you want to move to the shared library by tapping on them. When an image is selected, you will see a checkmark with a blue background on it.

After selecting the content you want to move, tap the 3 dot icon in the lower right corner.

From the overflow menu that appears, select Move to shared library.

The selected content will now be moved to the shared library.

What happens when you upload photos to the shared library?

When you transfer content from the Photos app to the shared library, the selected content is removed from your personal library and moved to the shared library. To let you know what content you just moved, iOS will display a “Move to shared library complete” banner at the bottom of the screen.

Since the Photos app is, by default, set to show you both libraries (personal and shared), you’ll see photos and videos available in both the personal library and the shared library at all times, unless you change your view of the library. However, none of the images and videos will remain in the two libraries of the Photos app. This means that when you switch to the personal library, you won’t see the content you moved to the shared library and vice versa.

Can you transfer your photos automatically?

Yes, depending on how you configure the shared library at the very beginning. Existing content in the Photos app will ONLY move to the shared library automatically if you selected one of these options when setting up the shared library on your iPhone – All My Photos & Videos or Choose by Date. We will explain below which of your content is transferred automatically.

If you selected All my photos and videos During setup, the Photos app will move all images from your existing library to the shared library, along with any new content you capture or save to your iPhone.

If you selected Choose by date During setup, the Photos app will move everything you capture from a start date you specified when setting up the shared library. With this option, only photos you have taken or saved since the specified date will be moved from your personal library to the shared library. Any content older than the set date will be kept in your personal library.

Your photos and videos WILL NOT automatically be uploaded to the shared library if you chose to share them manually during initial setup. In such cases, the only way to move existing content to the shared library is to transfer it using the Photos app, as explained in the guide above.

No matter how the shared library is set up on your iPhone, you can always automatically move new content to the shared library from the Camera app by following the guide in the link below.

➤ How to Share Photos and Videos from Camera to Shared Library on iPhone

How to check the contents of your shared library

The Pictures can show you images and videos from your personal library, shared library, or both. When the in-app library view is set to Both Libraries, you can take a quick look at the content in the shared library by tapping Select in the upper right corner.

The Photos app will now reveal all photos and videos in the shared library by marking them with multi-user icons.

This way, you can differentiate this content from images outside of the shared library, which won’t be marked with icons as such.

Another way to check the contents of your shared library is to change the library view in the Photos app. To change the library view, open the Pictures app and press the 3 dot icon in the upper right corner.

From the overflow menu that appears, select Shared library.

You will now see all visible content in the shared library you are a part of.

When the library view changes to the shared library, the 3-dot icon will also change to the multi-user icon to indicate that you are now only viewing content from the shared library.

What happens when you duplicate images from the shared library?

Like all content in the Photos app, photos and videos in the shared library can also be mirrored to your iPhone. When you duplicate a file from the shared library, the Photos app saves the copied version to your personal library.

In the screenshot below, you can see the shared library images marked with multi-user icons, and the duplicates we created are unmarked. Untagged ones are saved to your personal library in the Photos app.

How to transfer content from shared library to personal library

Similar to transferring your photos to the shared library, you can also move content from the shared library to your personal library. To put something back in your personal library, open the Pictures app and press Select in the upper right corner.

When the Photos app is in Both Libraries view, you’ll see a multi-user icon on the photos and videos available in the shared library.

To start moving them to your personal library, tap on content to select the ones you want to transfer.

Once you’ve selected the photos and videos you want to transfer, tap the 3 dot icon in the lower right corner.

From the overflow menu that appears, select Move to personal library.

The selected content will now be transferred to your personal library. The Photos app will also display a “Move to personal library complete” banner at the bottom once the transfer is complete.

That’s all you need to know about transferring photos to shared library with Photos app on iOS 16.

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Lance B. Holton