Feature Request: iCloud Photo Library support for multiple Apple IDs

Over the years Apple has made steady improvements to how our devices sync content. On the whole, it’s becoming more seamless to keep photos, videos and other content synced and organized across multiple iOS devices and Macs with software like iCloud Photo Library and iCloud Music Library.

However, one area I believe Apple could really improve the user experience is with photo and video management for multiple users. While iCloud Photo Sharing is a nice social way to share and organize photos with others, it’s not a great option to mange your photo and video collection. A feature I’d really like to see is iCloud Photo Library support for multiple Apple IDs.

Although it’s not the right solution for everyone, my wife and I prefer to share one photo library and I’m sure there’s many others who do the same (or would like to). Since we’re together a lot of the time, we often end up with the same or similar photos and it’s easier to manage and organize. It’s also convenient to automatically have photos and videos synced between all of our devices as well as edits.

If we kept separate libraries, we’d end up with a lot of duplicate content and my wife would likely accumulate an overwhelming amount of data (while my wife has some great skill sets that I do not, managing our digital information is not something she enjoys). I happen to love keeping things organized and as simple as possible, so I manage all of our data.

For now (though I don’t recommend this to many people) my wife and I share one Apple ID for iCloud and use separate ones for FaceTime and iMessage. There’s a bit of work involved to make sure things work smoothly (although a couple Apple Watch issues remain), but for us, it’s a lot less time than managing two iCloud Photo Libraries.

Potential Solutions |

The first way that Apple could improve iCloud Photo Library management for users who would like to share a library with someone else would be to build in the option with Family Sharing. There is currently a family album sharing option, so it wouldn’t seem too difficult to build on that. Apple could just include a toggle to either keep your iCloud Photo Library separate or combine with someone else’s.

Another idea to provide more flexibility for iCloud Photo Library would be including the Apple ID sign in under Settings → Photos & Camera instead of being automatically tied to whatever Apple ID is used in Settings → iCloud (just like how FaceTime and iMessage have their own Apple ID sign in for each respective section in Settings).

Apple could make this user-friendly to opt-in or opt-out with a toggle in iCloud settings for choosing to use the iCloud Apple ID as the default for iCloud Photo Library or to manage manually.

There are definitely other ways to manage photo and video collections like Google Photos, Dropbox, NAS options, and more. But for users who would prefer to stick with a native solution, bringing more flexibility to iCloud Photo Library could be a great improvement.

Have your own ideas for how Apple could improve family iCloud Photo Libraries? Let us know in the comments!

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