How to Email Multiple Images in iOS

We already know that when we purchase a new Apple product, we don’t get an owner’s manual any more. Who reads them anyway?

I have a confession to make.

As an Apple Consultant, I have made money providing answers and fixes just by RTFM (Reading The Friggin’ Manual). I feel bad about this. So, to atone for this transgression, I will divulge to you – at no cost –  that Apple does indeed have manuals in PDF format for all their hardware and software products.

Yes, this means that you can get your own answers without spending an arm and a leg. You just have to know where to find these manuals. That place is Apple's support site. Simply go to The information in this article can be found in the iPhone (or iPad or iPod touch) User Guide. Be sure to select the correct manual according to which version of iOS you are using. By the way, the current version of the iPhone User Guide for iOS 6.1 is a prodigious 156 pages.

As an example, I am constantly asked by students and clients if it's possible to mail photos directly from the Photos app in iOS. In particular, can multiple images be sent? Well, any of the manuals mentioned above include answers to those questions, and more.

Let's dig right in.

The Share symbol found in many apps.

The Share symbol is often used in lieu of a "Share" button, and is pretty much used universally – even in Mac apps.

Most, if not all, modern photography apps include a number of “sharing” options. (I tell you, what would life be like without “sharing” options?) Always look for the tell-tale Share Button. More often than not this is represented by a symbol described by one student as the arrow-shooting-out-of-box button. Emailing is perhaps the most common method for sharing one's images.

The stock Photos app, pre-installed on every iOS device, is no exception. Yes, you can now email directly from the Photos app as many images as you want - as long as it’s five or less. Here’s how:

An iPhone Photos app screen showing thumbnails in the Photo Library and calling attention to options and buttons at the top and bottom.

Notice the EDIT button at the top of this page of thumbnails.

On your iOS device, launch the Photos app. Tap to open the Camera Roll or any album, including your Photo Stream, Events, and Faces. Find the Edit button at the top-right corner when looking at a pageful of your photo thumbnails. Incidentally, it seems that I am constantly reminding people about the importance of always glancing at the top and bottom edges of an app's screens to discover buttons and other controls for app behavior, options, actions, and settings. 

Tapping the Edit button puts you into Edit Mode; go figure! Simply tap-to-select all the images you want to email – again, as long as it’s no more than five. The selected image thumbnail will be grayed-out and sport a lovely red badge emblazoned with a check mark. Actually, there are quite a few things you can do with your images once they are selected in this manner. When your selections are made, two buttons activate on-screen: Share and Add To (for adding to new or existing photo albums).

Two iPhone screens. The first one shows a page of thumbnails with three selected. Tapping on the Share button leads to the sharing options shown on the second screen.

Select the images to email (up to five), tap Share, and you will see available options.

Tap on Share to view your choices. Among those, you will see a button labeled Mail. Of course, being able to email photos assumes that your device is properly configured to generate email. Tapping on the Mail button will copy your selected images into a new email document, ready for you to address, enter a subject, and compose text in the message body, if needed. Not seeing that email button in the list of sharing options? The answer to that lies in what I told you a couple of times about the number of images you’re limited to. Remember?

An email in the Mail app with photos attached (only the first one can be seen in the illustration).

All selected images are attached to the email.

To finish up, tap the Send button and off it goes with, hopefully, a satisfying swoosh sound.

When emailing multiple images, you need to be concerned about how big they are – in terms of pixel dimensions and file size. Some email providers impose size limits to outgoing email. Additionally, your recipients may have their own set of issues with multiple large image attachments.

An iOS dialog box presenting a list image resizing options.

iOS calculates the total file size of the email and gives you an opportunity to select image size.

Fortunately, when you tap on Send, if required, your iOS device will prompt you to select from a list of image sizes (Small, Medium, Large, and Original Size). Choose according to how the photos will ultimately be used, and iOS will scale and compress the images accordingly.

If your email recipient just wants to view the photos within the email or if you need to post them on a website, Small or Medium should be sufficient. If the recipient is ultimately interested in printing the images, then no smaller than the Large size should be selected. Original Size is always best for printing, but by doing so, you stand a better chance of hitting those limitations imposed by the service provider.

With iPad's version of the Photos app, there is a way to manually select the resizing options before sending, but this is far from obvious. Here's how:

On iPad, an email shows an clickable

On iPad, you can manually select the desired image sizes.

In the email that the Photos app generates for you with the photos attached, you will notice an "Images" label at the right edge of the From: field along with the total size of all the images that are to be attached. Simply tap on that text, and an additional line shows up just above the Subject field. From there you can tap on the button representing the photo size(s) you want to have iOS send out.

Finally, let me show you another, and highly convenient, way to send multiple images in an email. It's a relatively new feature, but again, hard to intuit. This method allows you to attach photos while composing your email.

When tap-and-holding within the body of an email, a pop-up menu of options appears. One of the options available is to insert a photo or video.

Tap-and-hold to produce a pop-up list of options. Use the arrows to navigate across the options.

When you are ready to attach the photos from your photo library, simply tap-and-hold anywhere in the message body. A list of options pops up, including "Insert Photo or Video" which you can invoke several times for multiple images.

In conclusion, attaching multiple photos in an email is relatively painless now. Just be aware of any issues with image sizes, particularly in later device models where the pixel counts continue to increase. Oh, and don't forget to check out the manuals on Apple's support site – where you will find much more information on manipulating images and email on your iOS device.