How to share and send photos on your Apple Watch

Apple Watch how to send and share a photo

There’s some great news for folks that love their Apple Watches; we can now share and send pictures directly from the watch without needing to open our iPhones!

Plus, the watch’s Photos app now shows you memories and featured photos along with whatever photo album you selected to sync with! So there are alot more photos to share and send to your family and friends, without pulling out your iPhone!

This functionality is available in watchOS 8 and above and uses the watch’s photos app to share to the Message app or the Mail app. So you can text or email photos right from your watch. 

This short article runs you through all the steps you need to start sharing and sending photos using just your Apple Watch (and an internet connection, of course-either WiFi or cellular will do.)

So let’s get to it!

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How to send pictures from your Apple Watch using the watch’s Photos app

  1. Open the Photos app on your watch.
  2. Scroll through the list of photo albums available on your watch and open an album. Then, scan through all the available pictures in that album. Albums in Apple Watch photos app
  3. Choose a single picture you want to share and tap on the image.
    1. You cannot currently select multiple images.
  4. In the bottom right corner, tap on the share button (it looks like a square with an upwards pointing arrow.) apple watch share button in Photos app
    1. This opens your Apple Watch share sheet.
  5. Select one of your frequently used contacts or use your finger or the watch’s Digital Crown and scroll to and tap either the Messages or the Mail app icon. choose method for sharing photos from Apple Watch Photos app Messages or Email
    1. To send the photo in a text message, tap Messages.
    2. To send the photo in an email, tap Mail.
  6. Tap Add Contact to choose the person or people you wish to send your message or email to. If you tapped one of your frequently used contacts, this information is pre-filled. You can add additional contacts if desired. Share photo using Apple Watch Photos app and Add Contacts to send photo to
    1. Use one of the top icon shortcuts:
      1. Tap the microphone, speak the person’s name, select the person’s info, and press Done.
      2. Or tap the contacts app icon to see your list of contacts. Then, select their contact info from the list to add it to your message.
      3. For text messages only, you can also tap the keypad icon and type in the phone number.
    2. You can also scroll with your finder or using the Digital Crown to see a list of your most recent contacts.
  7. Tap Add Message and speak or type your message. When finished, press Done. Apple Watch send a photo using the Photos app and Messages or Mail
  8. Tap Send and your photo is shared!

The limitations of sharing and sending photos from your Apple Watch

While it’s awesome that we have the functionality to send photos from our Apple Watch, there are some limitations. 

  • First, you can only send photos from the Photos app. You cannot currently share photos directly in the watch’s Messages and Mail apps.
  • Secondly, you can only share one photo at a time. You cannot select multiple photos right now. 
  • And finally, your Apple Watch stores a limited number of photos due to its smaller storage (compared to your iPhone.) That means that the total number of photos stored on your Apple Watch depends on its available space.

Additionally, you may have limited the maximum number of photos you watch stores. At this time, your watch can store between 25 and 500 photos, but you set that maximum.

To change your watch’s maximum photo limit:

  • Go to your iPhone’s Watch app > My Watch tab > Photos app.
  • Scroll down to the Album section and tap Photos Limit. Photos app Photos limit on Watch app on iPhone
  • Choose a limit that works for you (and your watch’s available storage.) Apple Watch Photos Limit

Want to share from your Apple Watch a picture sent to you in text message?

We love getting picture messages on our Apple Watch! And now, we can share those pictures with others via a text message or email, without needing our iPhones.

Apple Watch finally offers a way to save images.

So now, when a friend or family members sends you a picture via text, you can save it to your iPhone’s Photos app!

How to share photos sent from a text message on your Apple Watch

  1. Open Messages and tap the text that has the photo you want to share.
  2. Tap the photo to view it full screen on your Apple Watch.
  3. In the bottom corner, tap the share button. Apple Watch share a text message photo
  4. Select one of your frequenty used contacts or scroll down and tap the Messages app or Mail app and choose a contact to send it to.

If you have multiple images to share, you need to repeat these steps for each image. We hope that soon Apple supports sharing multiple photos at the same time!

How to save photos from text messages using your Apple Watch

Another awesome feature is that we can now save photos to our iPhone’s Photos app from text messages we interact with on our Apple Watch.

  1. Open Messages and tap the text that has the photo you want to save to your iPhone’s photos app. text message with photo on Apple Watch Messages app
  2. Tap the photo to view it full screen on your Apple Watch.
  3. In the bottom corner, tap the share button.
  4. Scroll all the way down and choose Save Image. Apple Watch save a photo from a text message to the Photos app on iPhone
    1. That photo is now saved on your iPhone, in the Photos app!

If there’s more than one photo, you need to repeat the steps. But that’s a small price to pay for the convienence. And hopefully, soon Apple Watch will support saving multiple photos at once!

Wrapping it up

For the longest time, you could only look at photos on your Apple Watch and if you wanted to share or save it, you’d need to use your iPhone. 

But watchOS 8 changes all that. You can now share photos via the Messages or Mail app AND you can quickly save a photo from a text sent to you to your iPhone’s Photos app, without ever needing to pull out and use your iPhone.

In the Messages app, you can even forward a photo sent to you via text to someone else via another message or even send it in a new email.

While there are some pitfalls, namely there is no support for sharing photos directly from Messages and Mail apps (you must use the Photos app,) we are excited about these changes and the added convience of using your Apple Watch for sending photos to friends and family!

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A. Beth Whittenberger
I started my love affair with computers way back in elementary school with the Apple II. Since then, I've worked with technology in my career as a media educator and videomaker. I have an MFA in media making from Temple University, where I also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member. Additionally, I was a writer, content producer, and editor on the popular tech blog AppleToolBox. So I know a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides! After a cancer diagnosis, I turned to mobile technology like my Apple Watch to help me monitor my health throughout my chemotherapy treatment and later, to regain my wellness once in remission. I love sharing how to understand and use mobile tech, like smartwatches and phones, as a tool for empowerment to live our best and healthiest lives! Connect with me on LinkedIn!


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