With iOS 12+ and iPadOS, Apple added the ability for users to easily share photos using an iCloud Photo link. It’s simple and seamless when it works. It saves recipients of your photos from downloading large images to their devices. If for some reason, your iCloud Photo link is not working, here are some tips that will help you fix the issue.
- What is an iCloud Photo link?
- Troubleshooting iCloud Photo link problems
- Try these alternatives to share your iPhone photos
- How to backup your iPhone or iPad photos to an external drive with iOS 13 and iPadOS
- How to transfer your photos from iCloud Photos to Google Photos
- The Definitive Guide to iCloud Photos in 2019
- How To Disable iCloud Photo Link When Sending Photos on your iPhone
- How to View iCloud Photos on iPhone
First, a bit of context. An iCloud Photo link is essentially an URL that leads to a small gallery with the photos you selected. It’s an elegant solution because it’s a lot faster and a lot easier on your cellular data allowance than simply sending photos.
There aren’t really any special permissions, either. Both iOS and Android users can see the iCloud photo link. If you try and click the link on macOS, it’ll simply open it in a web browser.
On the other hand, there are a couple of downsides to the feature. Some of them we’ll get to below, but the primary one is that there isn’t a way to bypass the iCloud Photo link. If you have iOS 12 and later, you’ll need to use it.
But that isn’t really that much of a problem, and there are workarounds. The bigger issue is when an iCloud Photo Link isn’t working. Which brings us to …
There are a number of things that can go wrong with iCloud Photo link, whether you’re sending a cloud link or trying to open one you’ve received. You may run into a Here are a few steps that can help mitigate potential problems.
First, make sure everything’s in order
If you’d like to use an iCloud Photo link to send pictures to friends and family, but it isn’t working, you’ll want to make sure that the following conditions are met.
- Make sure you have at least iOS 12 installed. iCloud Photo link isn’t available in past versions of the mobile operating system.
- Double-check that both iCloud Photo Library and Shared Albums are enabled.
Make sure it isn’t expired
This is an important one. Like a gallon of milk, an iCloud Photo link has an expiration date. More specifically, it’ll only be available for 30 full days after it’s sent.
After that, the link will expire and the pictures will no longer appear. This, of course, can cause some confusion if the actual URL is still hanging around in a message or something. Typically, when an iCloud Photo link has expired or if the sender has deleted the link, it may show a message that says “Failed to Retrieve.”
You can log into your iCloud.com account and check that the photos that you are trying to send are there.
You will need to resend those photos in a new iCloud Photo Link if this is the case, however.
See if you’re on low power mode
Occasionally, an iCloud Photo link will work but it’ll hang when loading the actual images. Essentially, you’ll see an endless “waiting for photos” indicator at the bottom of the photo link.
This can sometimes be the result of a network error or a slow internet connection. But it could also be due to your iPhone being in Low Power Mode. When you’re low on battery life and Low Power Mode is enabled, images in an iCloud Photo Link may take longer to load — or may not load at all.
Charge your iPhone or iPad battery and once it is out of the low power mode, you can try to download the photos.
Reset your network settings
In some cases, there could be an issue with your device’s network settings. This can impact both sending and receiving iCloud Photo links.
To reset them, go to Settings —> General —> Reset. Tap Reset Network Settings. (Also, be careful. Some of the other buttons in this menu can completely erase your iPhone.)
Check your Wi-Fi
If you’re receiving a “network unavailable, please try again later” error, then the issue might be with your current cellular or Wi-Fi connection.
Make sure you have a decent cellular connection. Alternatively, make sure the Wi-FI network you’re connected to is working properly. If possible, connect to a 5 GHz network instead of a 2.4 GHz network.
Check Apple iCloud Server status
If all else fails, there’s a chance that Apple’s systems are down or iCloud is experiencing some type of issue.
You can easily find out whether this is the case by using a handy Apple support webpage that shows the status of each of its platforms or systems. You can get to Apple’s System Status with this link.
For example, users can view content, comment, and even “like” media on the Shared Album. If another user has permission, they can even add their own pictures to the album. This makes Shared Albums a good option if you’re creating a family photo album or an album of images from a trip with your friends.
You can enable Shared Albums in Settings —> iCloud —> Photos. Once it’s on, you can create a Shared Album by opening Photos, tapping the + icon in the upper-right corner, and then tapping New Shared Album. iOS will then walk you through the rest of the process.
Third-party cloud storage software, like Dropbox, may also be a good alternative. Drop, in particular, can integrate fairly well with both macOS and iOS.
Sharing photos still comes down to sending off a cloud link, however. If that part of iCloud Photo link isn’t your favorite, then you might not like Dropbox photo sharing nearly as much.
We hope that you were able to resolve the issues associated with iCloud Photo links using some of these tips. Please let us know in the comments below if you have any questions.
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.