I'm on iOS12, my wife is on iOS 13, she's in my family group. Today, I decided to share photos for the first time. On my iPhone 6, I went to the photos app and created a new album in 'shared albums'. Then I added 128 pictures to it. I then got a window with a pie chart saying "Vorbereiten..." ("preparing"). It has taken a very long time to complete this process, so I assume the images are physically downloaded and re-uploaded.

Why doesn't icloud just give permission to the photos I share in my family group?

  • I’m going to assume very long is 300 seconds for less than 5 images. You could legitimately have bandwidth issues if all 128 were large sized.
    – bmike
    Jun 13, 2020 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


Files in your cloud count against your storage container and are stored there on the server.

Shared files don’t count against your allocation and are stored in different buckets with different QOS and technical details.

Depending on if you optimize space on your device and have some items represented as thumbnails instead of the full images (or the image was modified on another device), you would have to round trip all 128 photos down to your device and then back up to the new bucket.

I’ve had preparing hang on one item, so I would cancel that and start with a single image, then add in a few and then maybe do the rest once you’re sure it’s not a server side issue.

  • And some good news, this isn’t a common issue. I have about 60k photos / 160 GB of space in my personal iCloud bucket - plus dozens and dozens of complicated shared albums with 250+ items in them each, both Some I initiated and others that I get invited in to. The system has been very reliable / glitches rare and self healing so far.
    – bmike
    Jun 13, 2020 at 18:01

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