9 Ways to Fix an iCloud Photo Sharing Link Not Working Message on Your iPhone

Saving photos and photo sharing is easier than ever before with iCloud, particularly now that we can share pictures from our iCloud photo library with a link. It's even possible to use iCloud photo sharing with non-Apple phones, by creating an iCloud for Android link. Sometimes, though, an error occurs and recipients can't open the iCloud photo sharing link. We'll go over nine ways to resolve this problem, so you can see the videos and pictures that have been shared with you!

Related: iPhone Photo Saving & Sharing Guide: Text, Email, AirDrop, Shared Albums & Social Media

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Let's go through nine things you can do if you're getting a message that an iCloud Photo sharing link isn't working. 

iPadOS & iOS Update: Get the Latest Apple Software Update

Apple has released a new version of its iPhone software every year for the past several years. It's a good idea to install the newest iOS update as soon as possible to improve device security and avoid bugs and glitches. Apple debuted iPadOS 13 in 2019, and will no doubt offer regular iPad software updates, as well. The first thing you should do if you're getting a message that a photo-sharing link isn't working is to make sure that the software for your device is updated to at least iOS 12, as photo links weren't offered before this operating system. If that doesn't fix the problem, move on to the next fix on our list.

Make Sure That iCloud Photo Library & Shared Albums Are Enabled

If you haven't enabled iCloud Photo Library and Shared Albums, there's no wat to access iCloud Photo sharing links. To enable these features:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap your name at the top of the page.

    iphone settings appapple id banner
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Tap Photos.

    tap icloud tap photos in icloud settings
  5. Make sure iCloud Photos and Shared Albums are both toggled on.

    toggle on icloud photo settings

Make Sure the iCloud Photo Link Hasn't Expired

Your iCloud Photo link expires after 30 days; the recipient will see a Failed to Retrieve message if they click the link after that time. If this happens, you'll need to send a new link to your friend or family member.

Make Sure You're Connected to the Internet

If the device you're using isn't connected to the internet, there's no way for the iCloud Photo link to open. Make sure that your iPhone or iPad is connected to the internet via a stable Wi-Fi or Cellular network.  

Turn Off Low Power Mode

Low Power Mode on the iPhone can extend battery life by three hours, but that comes with several tradeoffs. One of the capabilities your device loses while it's in Low Power Mode is the ability to load images from an iCloud photo link quickly. If this is the case, you'll see a Waiting for Photos message. You'll need to either charge your phone until Low Power Mode turns off or manually toggle it off. To do this:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Battery
  2. Toggle off Low Power Mode.

    tap battery in iphone settingstoggle off low power mode

Log In to Your iCloud Account 

If the photos included in your link have been deleted from your iCloud Photos, then the link recipient won't be able to open them. If the iCloud photo link still isn't working, log in to your iCloud account and make sure that the photos are still there. Remember, your iCloud photo library is synced across devices if you're signed in to the same account; deleting pictures on one device deletes them from your library as a whole. 

Check the Apple System Status Page

The problem might not be within your control at all; it might be on Apple's end! Visit the Apple System Status Page and make sure that iCloud services are available; you'll be able to tell because there will be a green dot next to the system name.

apple system status page

Do a Network Settings Reset

If it seems like an iCloud photo link isn't working because your device won't connect to the internet, and you've already checked your Wi-Fi or cellular connection, it's time to do a Network Settings Reset. This will reset your Cellular settings, and you'll need to sign back into any Wi-Fi networks you've joined in the past. To do this:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap General.
  2. Tap Reset.

    general in iphone settingsreset network settings iphone
  3. Tap Reset Network Settings.
  4. Enter your password and tap Reset Network Settings to confirm.

    reset network settings on your iphoneiphone passcode

Contact Apple Support

If all else fails, there's always Apple Support. Follow the support link and click or tap on the device that you're using, and you'll be able to connect to an Apple associate via phone, email, or chat. Alternately, if you live near enough to an Apple Store, just drop by and ask for assistance. 

Top image credit: Dean DrobotShutterstock.com

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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays is an SEO Content Strategist and Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and has written hundreds of in-depth how-to and troubleshooting articles. She's a former Associate Editor for iPhone Life magazine, and has written for the Iowa Source, as well as web content for education marketing. Leanne has an associate's degree in education, with a focus on curriculum development, as well as a bachelor's degree in science. She has over nine years of experience with SEO, social media management, and web development and writing. Despite years of web work, Leanne is by no means an early adapter; she's only owned a smartphone for five years, which makes her highly sympathetic to the learning curve of new iPhone owners. She enjoys making reader's lives easier and putting her education experience to work by walking them through the most practical ways to use Apple devices, step-by-step.

In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.