How to restore a deleted shared album in Photos

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Apple

iCloud Photo Sharing lets you create albums from your images and videos and then share them to invited parties, or create a link that anyone can access. It’s a great way to leverage your existing photo libraries without having to set up sharing on other services.

However, Macworld reader Grace ran into one of the downsides: if you delete a shared album, there’s no way to restore it. MacOS and iOS warn you when you try to delete, noting that the shared album will be deleted from all your linked accounts and all of those with whom you shared photos. But once you confirm, poof! It’s gone.

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After you confirm deleting a shared album, you cannot restore it.

All your original media remains in place, so there’s no worry about losing images or videos, but comments and other metadata added to the shared library is lost.

There’s one strategy you can employ if you’re painstakingly setting up shared albums, and worry you might delete one unintentionally. In Photos for macOS, you can:

  • Create a regular album and then copy all the images and videos from it to a shared library. (Select all the media, Control-click on any item in the selection, and then choose File > Share > iCloud Photo Sharing, and follow prompts.)
  • After creating a shared album, you can import the contents back into Photos by selecting the items in a shared library, Control-clicking any item in the selection, and choosing Import. This will duplicate images and videos already in your library, however.

In Photos for iOS:

  • Select media from the Photos app by tapping Select in any view that shows that button in the upper-right corner. You can then pick images and videos, and then tap the Share button. In the first row of shared destinations, tap iCloud Photo Sharing and follow prompts.

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