Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In the new version of iPhoto for iOS it has a setting for "Wireless Beaming". I'm not quite sure what this even is. If I can share photos among devices, do they all have to have iPhoto installed? What is used to do the "beaming"? Do I have to have wi-fi or bluetooth on?

enter image description here

share|improve this question
According to Apple's iPhoto page (near the bottom), both devices must have iPhoto, and it will work over either wifi or bluetooth. – ughoavgfhw Mar 8 '12 at 16:15
@ughoavgfhw, you should list your comment as an answer - it's accurate and contains a direct reference to the relevant Apple page. – JW8 Mar 8 '12 at 17:03
Sorry for not doing my proper Google search to find that page prior to posting. I figured this was more of an iOS feature and not necessarily specific to iPhoto, so I didn't look for information on the iPhoto page. – dpollitt Mar 8 '12 at 17:32
up vote 3 down vote accepted

How to use Wireless Beaming

The first step is to install iPhoto on two iOS devices such as an iPhone and an iPad on which iPhoto is compatible. You then start up iPhoto on both devices and head to the "gear" icon which is the settings menu. You want "Wireless Beaming" set to On for both devices inside of here. As far as I can tell, you actually need to have both devices on the same wifi network for this to work, so if necessary turn on wifi and connect to a shared network. From this point, all you have to do is find an image and click the share button(pointy arrow) which brings up the share menu. Inside of that you will find an option for "Beam" that looks like a wifi network icon. Once you hit the beam icon you can then select up to 100 images to share, and you are provided with a list of devices to share the images with. Once you select the "Beam Photos" button, the receiving device will be asked for a confirmation, and within seconds the images are sent.

What exactly is Wireless Beaming

Wireless beaming requires both devices to be on the same wifi network. The Bonjour networking from Apple is working behind the scenes to create a zeroconf network that keeps it dead simple for the user. According to this article iPhoto Beaming: Under the hood - iPhoto Beaming uses a UDP service called _mobileiphoto._udp. The article also describes that it looks as though this communication is setup specifically for iPhoto only, and not as an iOS wide implementation of file sharing. To send the files, the source iPhoto looks for potential recipients, connects to them, negotiates a handshake, asks for permission from the receiver, and sends the files. More detail with flows can be found at the link above.

As ughoavgfhw pointed out in the comments, the Apple iPhoto site notes that the functionality works over wifi OR bluetooth, but I have not been able to verify this, and other users have noted it requires the same wifi network. I will be testing this on my own shortly.

share|improve this answer
You should accept your own answer too. – Jason Salaz Apr 12 '12 at 3:54
@JasonSalaz Done :) – dpollitt Apr 12 '12 at 13:26

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.