How to Beam Photos Between iOS Devices Using iPhoto

Apr 26, 2012 - 9 Comments

Beam photos from iPhoto for iOS between iPad and iPhone

iPhoto for iOS has a great feature that lets you wirelessly beam pictures from one iOS device to another, this means that if you’re editing a photo on an iPad you can immediately send it over to an iPhone and vice versa, without ever leaving the app.

  1. Launch iPhoto on both iOS devices
  2. Tap the gear icon in the lower right corner and tap to turn on Wireless Beaming
  3. Now tap the photo or picture album that you want to beam, tap the arrow icon at the top of the screen, and choose “Beam”
  4. Confirm the pictures to wirelessly beam, then tap the recipient iOS device and tap “Beam Photos”
  5. From the receiving iOS device, tap “Yes” to start receiving the beamed photos

You will need Location Services enabled to use beaming with iPhoto, this is usually on by default but can be turned on quickly through general iOS Settings > Location Services.

iPhoto isn’t the only way to move pictures between iOS devices though, with iCloud enabled and Photo Stream, pictures taken on one device will appear automatically on each device using the same iCloud account, and pictures can also be sent through iMessage or a group of photos can be sent with email. The latter two options also work to send pictures between iOS and OS X, though preferably a future version of iPhoto for Mac will include the same beam option.

If you don’t have it, iPhoto is $5 on the App Store and comes as a universal app, meaning the same version will run on all compatible iOS devices.


Related articles:

Posted by: Matt Chan in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. bikermikem says:

    I’ve rolled back to iPhotos. Couldn’t find a way in Photos to load my pics onto my old iPhone 4 running IOS 7.1.2. Assuming you have to use iCloud to do this. Don’t want to upload my stuff to the “Cloud”.

  2. Wong Ho Poh says:

    I have iPhoto 11 on my iMac
    I do not see the gear icon you refer to.
    Why is that so ?

  3. Jim P says:

    I’m guessing you can’t beam 500 miles.. but that is certainly a job for Dropbox, Sky drive, Box etc…

  4. Heatherb says:

    I’m assuming this is only for iOS devices in the same wireless network. Am I correct? I’d like to beam photos to my aunt 500 miles away, can I do this? Or do we need to be on the same iCloud account?

  5. Billy S. says:

    So, I’m assuming this is only for the newest iPad(3)?

  6. Yaten says:

    And if I do that, all the iPads in my neighbours’ apartments will ask their owners if they want to receive my photos as well?

  7. Dukakis says:

    Why didn’t I know about this?

  8. […] OSX Daily had a very handy tip today about using iPhoto to beam an image from one iOS device to another iOS device. I just wanted to follow up that post with a video demonstration of beaming a photo from one device to another. I also wanted to mention that when you make edits to a photo in iPhoto and then beam them to another iOS device your edited photo will also be beamed as well as the finished photo which is placed in your “Beamed” album. If you open the edited album you can revert the edited image back to the original unedited image. If you are using PhotoStream to send photos from device to device you only get the finished image. […]

  9. parakeet says:

    personally I think this feature needs to go beyond iPhoto and be included in Photos. Think of it like AirDrop for pictures.

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