Mark Dorison

Apple's iCloud Shared Photo Library

An Eager, but not Too Eager, Review and Feature Request

After holding out for a month, I decided to give the new iCloud Shared Photo Library a go. This has been a feature that I have really been looking forward to, but I was hesitant to turn it on straight away since I tend to be risk-averse with photo data.

Overall, it’s great! It does the basics of what needs to be done. Someone moves a photo to the shared library, and it shows up for everyone! I decided not to move a large number of historical photos since my family has had various methods for sharing previous to this feature and I didn’t want to have to deal with duplicates. Being able to take photos and have them go directly to the shared library is a nice convention and the UI to understand wheee a photo is going is understandable enough.

There are lots of things that could be listed as feature requests for a future iteration, but the biggest thing I am missing in this version is the ability to know when new photos are added to the shared library. When someone other than me adds new photos, I often don’t realize it until I open the Photos app and catch a glimpse of some photos I don’t recognize.

I recognize this is a feature that is easy for me to suggest but difficult to implement. For example, I wouldn’t want to get a notification every minute when a photo is taken. Maybe this could be rolled up to a daily summary and still accomplish the overall goal. seems to do something similar when suggesting a memory or making a sharing suggestion after you have taken a bunch of photos in a new place or with a person it recognizes.

All in all, this seems like a solid first version for what is probably a sneaky problem to solve behind the scenes. I am excited to see what's next for iCloud Shared Photo Library!

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