Breaking: Google Photos' album sharing feature broken on iOS

Update (November 20): This is indeed an issue on iOS. For more info, head here.

Original story:
From excessive mobile data consumption to draining battery, Google Photos on iOS has hampered the user experience with its multiplicity of issues. And now, adding another problem to the list, the iOS client is throwing error while sharing albums as well.

While entertaining user queries on Twitter, we came across a tweet where the user was complaining about Google Photos on iOS not letting him share albums. ‘Can’t share album. Try again in few minutes‘ is the notification that showed up.


So, we thought of taking the lead, and digging deep to analyze the problem. After carrying out extensive tests, we can confirm that the album sharing functionality is indeed broken on the Photos iOS app (we tested version 3.6.0, which is the latest, on an iPhones running iOS 10 and 11).

Let’s show you how (if you wanna try these steps, make sure Backup and Sync option in Settings is disabled, meaning auto-backup is off):

  • First, we created a new album with pictures that were not backed up on Google Photos, and then tried to share it. The app threw an error stating ‘Can’t share album. Try again in few minutes
  • We then backed up the pictures manually and tried sharing the album again. Taking us by surprise, the app still displayed the same error, and refused to share the album.


  • Next, we did the same test on some already backed-up pictures. We created another album with a handful of such images and then tried sharing the same. The app flashed the same error notification again.
  • However, we found a workaround here – instead of sharing the newly created album right after creating it, if we exit the newly created album window, go to the Albums tab at the bottom, open the newly created album from there, and then try sharing it, the app shows sharing options without any issues.


The workaround discussed above doesn’t work when applied in the first test, which is a bit weird. But we have tested several times to conclude that it’s indeed the case.

Moving on, we can confirm that the issue rears its ugly head only when auto-backup is off. Also the issue is specific to the Photos app on iOS only, as it could not be reproduced on Android – we observed that Google Photos’ Android client first uploads the images (if they aren’t already backed up) while creating albums, something which the iOS client doesn’t do.


So if you are trying to save your data or phone battery by turning off auto-backup in Google Photos, keep in mind that you won’t be able to share albums with others in most of the scenarios. This indeed is a bug that Google needs to fix, and we hope it happens sooner than later.

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Dr. Aparajita Sharma

A budding entrepreneur by profession, and a psychologist by education. As a founding member of PiunikaWeb, I am nurturing this firstborn with my sharp-eyed expertise and even journalistic writing when needed.