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How to email more than five photos at once in iOS 10

Apple still won't let you send more than five pictures at a time, which can make for some serious sharing hassles. Here are some workarounds.

For all the changes and improvements (some might say "improvements") iOS has delivered over the years, there's one curious limitation still imposed by Apple.

If you want to email someone more than five photos, you can't.

That's a pretty big hassle when you're looking to share a big batch of snapshots from a vacation, wedding, day at the beach or other photo-worthy occasion.

Even more curious, Apple eliminated this restriction in iOS 9, then brought it back in iOS 10!

You might think your only option is to send multiple five-photo emails -- a hassle at best -- but there are other, easier ways to work around this limitation.

Copy and paste

Normally, the email-photos process goes like this: fire up the Photos app, select from one to five pictures, tap the Share icon and then tap Mail.

However, if you select more than five photos, you'll no longer see Mail in the menu that appears. (Weirdly, Message is still there -- iOS doesn't impose this five-photo limitation for text messages.)

iOS 10 won't let you email more than five photos at a time, but you can tap Copy, then paste as many photos as you like into the body of an email.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Solution? Tap Copy instead. Now head to the Mail app, compose a new message, then paste the contents of the clipboard (i.e., your photos) into the body. (For those unfamiliar with pasting, you first put your cursor into the body of the email, then do a long tap on that cursor until a pop-up menu appears. Tap Paste and you're done!)

The downside to this method is that the recipient may get an email with all your photos embedded in the message rather than attached as files, which can make them more challenging to extract/save. (It depends on the recipient's mail client.)

Use AirDrop

AirDrop is a great option for "emailing" photos to other iOS users, as long as they're in close proximity.


Apple's often-overlooked file-sharing tool works well for sharing photos, but there are a couple caveats. First, you have to be in physical proximity to the recipient(s) -- this isn't a long-distance solution. But that's fine when you're with a group and everyone says, "Hey, send me those photos!"

Second, AirDrop works only with other iOS users; you'll have to find another method of sharing with your Android friends.

Assuming you've met those requirements, you also need to make sure both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are enabled on all devices involved in the transaction. For complete instructions, here's how to share your iPhone photos with AirDrop.

It's worth noting that Apple's iCloud Photo Sharing option can also be used to share photos with other iDevice users, but it's not quite the same thing as sending photos. Rather, it's a shared album, which may be fine for your purposes. I find the whole setup a little clunky.

Use an app

Apple may not want you to email more than five photos at once, but plenty of third-party apps have no problem with it. Granted, in most cases you'll be sending a link rather than the actual photos, but that can actually work out better for the recipient(s): no mammoth email to download.

If you're already using a cloud-storage app like Dropbox or OneDrive, that's your best bet for sharing large batches of photos. (Curiously, the Google Drive app for iOS offers no way to share a batch of photos.) Assuming the photos in question have already been uploaded (or backed up, if you use the service for that purpose), just select the ones you want to send, then use the app's "share" option.

This will generate a link that you can email to one or more recipients. Once received, clicking or tapping that link produces a web page where the photos can be viewed and downloaded.

Free app Send Anywhere makes it easy to share large batches of photos. Select them, then tap the three dots and choose Share Link.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

You don't need a cloud-storage app to share this way, though. Send Anywhere for iOS is an example of a file-sharing app that uploads selected photos to temporary storage, then generates a link you can send to others. One key difference: accessing that link immediately downloads the photos; there's no preview option.

To use it, just tap your finger and drag it to select all the photos you want to share. Then, in the "selected" bar near the bottom, tap the three dots to access the action menu, then tap Share Link. That'll lead you to the iOS Share menu, where you can tap Mail. The newly created message will include the Send Anywhere link; now you just need to specify the recipient(s) and send it.

Again, this is just one example. If you've found another app that makes batch photo-sharing easy, by all means name it in the comments.

Editors' note: This article was originally published on October 1, 2013, and has since been updated.