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I understand how to set the cover ("key") photo of an Apple Photos album, but I can't see how to change the cover photo of a "shared" (copied) album.

How do I set the cover photo of a "shared" Photos album?

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You can't.

With shared iCloud photo albums the key photo will always be the photo that was uploaded last.

Update: This is still valid for iOS 12.1.2.

  • That's what I feared. – orome Jan 19 '17 at 21:11
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    You don't have to stop here, though. Please send Apple your feedback. See this answer to see how I sent feedback in the past. I think your requested feature is worth adding and I have wondered how to this, too. apple.stackexchange.com/questions/252679/… – oa- Jan 19 '17 at 21:28
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Actually, you can. Open an image to full view in the Shared Album, then in the menu select Image -> Make Key Photo. The key is to open the image to full view, it's not possible to select a Key Photo from the thumbnail view.

  • Fantastic UX! (Please Apple: less time on tax evasion; more on product quality and design.) – orome Nov 21 '17 at 13:44
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    Actually, it's even worse: this works until new photos are uploaded to the shared album, then the cover photo resets to the first photo sequentially. Insane. – orome Dec 5 '17 at 16:07
  • There is no such menu on iPhone iOS 11.2.5. – Jonny Feb 18 '18 at 2:37
  • By menu do you mean 3D Touch on an iPhone? – zeristor May 27 '18 at 17:05
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There's no way to do this. Though you can temporarily set a "key photo" (though a surprisingly awkward procedure), that will reset to the first photo in the album as soon as any photos are added.

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