The iCloud Shared Picture Library feature of iOS 16 will now be available “later this year,” according to Apple, instead of when the mobile operating system update debuts on September 12th (via AppleInsider). The information about the delay was updated at some point this week, according to an archived version of the iOS 16 webpage.
When it happens, the feature will let you automatically share a collection of photos with up to 5 people. You may include all of the pictures in your personal library, photos that were taken after a specific date, or photos that feature a certain person.
It's not unusual for Apple to omit features from the initial release; last year, iOS 15 was made available without SharePlay, Common Control, or improved Discover My support for AirPods. The options were then gradually released in point releases over the following few months. While the iPadOS 16 updates for Apple's tablets are delayed and may instead come as iPadOS 16.1, iOS 16 doesn't seem to include as many features that might be getting pushed back.
It's possible that Apple's decision to launch iPadOS 16 on its own may have contributed to the feature's delay. It's easy to imagine users setting up the feature on their phones, only to be perplexed when it doesn't appear on their iPads or Macs (Apple's website states that macOS Ventura will launch sometime in October). Or, the company may simply be issuing an additional warning given that the feature contains pictures that users wouldn't want to lose. Apple didn’t promptly comment on The Verge’s request for touch about their change in plans for the Shared Picture Library.