Bulk-adding photos to a shared photo album?

I recently picked up an Apple TV (the device, not the service; yes, in spite of rumours that they’re launching a new one soon-eventually…) almost chiefly for the purpose of having a nice photo screensaver on our TV.

Now, I’m trying to find the best way to add a couple thousand photos from my and my wife’s Photos to a Shared Album.

Ideally, this would just mean dragging the 2,000 favourites I have to the Shared Album—but it seems that Photos is quite finicky. This workflow and every alternative I’ve tried crashes or, perhaps worse, thinks it succeeds only to result in no photos being added.

Anyone have a magic trick for this, or will I have to try to split up the adding and do it manually somehow?

Things I’ve tried:

  • Dragging all photos to the Shared Album
  • Selecting all photos and using Share → Add to Shared Album
  • Doing the above on iPhone and iPad
  • AppleScript, Automator, and Keyboard Maestro—none of these options have any awareness of Shared Albums
  • Shortcuts: Find All Photos where Photo is Favorite → Add to Shared Album (Shortcuts crashes eventually)
  • Shortcuts: Repeat 22 times → Find All Photos where Photo is Favorite and Album is Hold for Import (limit: 100) → Add to Shared Album → Remove Photos from Hold for Import (This seems to work for each iteration, only Shortcuts eventually crashes, and no photos are actually added to the Shared Album).

I have probably tried a few other things too—getting frazzled at this point…

For what it’s worth, I think I have a good Shortcuts automation for maintaining this Shared Album once it exists. Pseudocode:

  • Every day at 9pm (or whatever)
    • Find All Photos where Photo is Favorite and Date Modified is within the last 1 day
    • Add Photos to Shared Album

Could be easily modified to suit different timescales (e.g., a weekly update instead of daily).

According to the support document there is a limit of 1000 pictures per hour for upload to a share album, so maybe it’s connected to that.
You could try upload a few pictures in the beginning to get the album working and then slowly upload the rest?

I think @Casi is on the right track. You probably are trying to move too many photos at the same time. Try doing it in batches of, say 50-100 at a time and see how that works.

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@Casi Great find, thanks. Definitely hitting the 1000-item limit.

@tgara Aye, that’s what I’m doing now. I was hoping for a way to automate it at least to error-proof it; it’s somewhat hard to remember which photo I stopped at when trying to do it in batches. So, here’s what I did:

Added all Favourites to an album called “Import to Gallery”

In a shortcut
Repeat the following x 22 times (I had 2064 photos):

  • Set a new album title to “Import to Gallery [Repeat Index]”
  • Create a new photo album titled the above (a Toolbox Pro action)
  • Find 100 photos in “Import to Gallery”
  • Add those 100 photos to “Import to Gallery [Repeat Index]”
  • Remove those 100 photos from “Import to Gallery”

Now I can add them to the shared album 100 at a time, deleting the subset albums as I go so I don’t lose my place or upload anything twice.

Still tedious, but at least a little easier to process.

Thanks folks!

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Sadly, after uploading 1400 photos, I am now getting this very informative and useful error:

There was an error adding the selected items to ‘Gallery’


Please share your shortcut - when I save to Shared Album I get an error.