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How to Do More With Photos in Apple Photos App: Part 4


Apple's Photos is the default photos app for macOS. Photos makes it simple to browse, edit, and manage your growing photo and video library. The powerful editing and organisation tools built into the Photos complement the workflow so you can share them instantly.

The fourth part of this tutorial uncovers tips and tricks related to the Photos app, showing its capabilities and ways you can use it on macOS  and iOS devices for greater productivity in managing photos.

For this tutorial, I’ve used a 9.7 inch iPad (2017) with iOS 11.2.1 and a Mac Mini with macOS Sierra 10.12.6.

34. Backup the Photos Library With Google Backup and Sync

Backup and Sync is an app for Mac and PC that lets you backup photos and files. Once you install the app, click the Backup and Sync menu and choose More > Preferences. Sign in to the Google account, that you use for Google Photos and Drive.

google sync preference in Mac
Google Sync preference in Mac. Click the More icon and choose preference

Choose the default location of Photos library and check Backup photos and videos. Under Photo and video upload size choose either High quality or Original quality.

Photos and video you upload with original quality will count against your Google Drive quota. But if you choose high quality, then you’ll get unlimited free storage.

When you remove an item, Backup and Sync lets you keep all the items in sync, so if you remove a item from the computer or Google Drive, that item will delete from all the devices. You can also delete a item from the computer but let it stay on the Google Drive.

Or, let it ask you what to do when you delete a item from the computer.

backup photos with google backup and sync
Backup photos with Google Backup and Sync

35. Organise Albums into Folders in Mac

When you’ve albums of the same type, such as holiday photos of each year, you may want to put them in a folder. This helps to reduce clutter in the My Albums and makes it easy to browse photos of a like kind.

Open the Photos app and click File > New Folder. Or, primary-click in the My Albums and select New Folder. Give the new folder a name, and drag the albums inside the folder. Click the arrow to collapse and expand the folder.

If you later decide to delete the folder, all the albums will get removed but photos will remain safe. Note—you can’t move the shared albums into a folder.

create new folder to group albums
Create new folder to group albums

36. Remove Location Data From Photos

When you take pictures with an iPhone, it records the location along with other metadata.

Whilst location metadata is useful, at times you may not want other people to know where you’ve been. Or, let them know when you share a photo.

If you don’t want to capture location information, then open the Settings app and go to Privacy > Location Services > Camera and choose Never. Doing so will eliminate the ability to make albums based on location. 

Also, this setting only applies to the default Camera app. If you use a third-party app, then you’ve to manually alter the setting from it as well.

disable location services in camera app for iOS
Disable location services in camera app for iOS

On Mac, open the photo and click the Get Info button in the toolbar. From the menu choose Image > Location and click Remove Location

 When you remove the location, you’ll not see this information when you share or export the photo. This procedure quickly becomes tedious when you’ve hundreds of photos.

remove location metadata in Photos for Mac
Remove location metadata in photos for Mac

You need an app which is simple but also removes bloated metadata from hundreds of photos. Install the ImageOptim app and check Preferences > Strip JPEG metadata

Drag the images onto the app and wait for the process to complete.

imageoptim preference to strip location info on Mac
Imageoptim preference to strip location info on Mac

To remove location data from photos in iOS, you’ll need a third party app. HashPhotos for iOS lets you easily remove Exif and location related metadata. 

Open the photo and tap Share icon. Tap Remove Metadata and Save.

remove location information from iOS
Remove location information from iOS through a third party app

37. Convert HEIF to JPEG

Apple announced support for HEIF (High Efficiency Image File Format) in macOS High Sierra and iOS 11 in June 2017 with filename HEIC. 

HEIF, in comparison to JPEG, can store multiple photos in one file, supports better compression and can store image edits. Being a new format you cannot view this file if you switch from High Sierra to Sierra or have a PC running Windows 10.

If you run into problems or wish to see the photos on a PC, use the HEIC converter from iMazing. Drag and drop the images and click Convert.

heic converter from imazing
HEIC converter from iMazing app

38. Fine Tune Photos With Adjust Control

Photos app includes a variety of adjustment tools. Open the photo and press A on the keyboard to open adjustment panel. 

There are three basic adjustment categories—Light, Color, and Black & White. Each category include a number of tools. Click the Add button to add or remove adjustments.

add or remove adjustments in photos app
Add or remove adjustments in Photos app

There’s a vertical white slider atop a row of thumbnails called as smart slider. 

They’re smart because dragging one adjusts a slew of settings simultaneously. For example, dragging the Light slider adjust exposure, highlights, brightness and more. 

You can also adjust individual controls.

smart slider in adjustment panel
Smart slider in adjustment panel 1. Smart slider 2. Individual slider for fine tuning

When you click and drag any one of the sliders, the scale can increase or decrease in the range from –1.00 to +1.00. If you press the Option key, then drag the slider, the scale increases from –2.00 to +2.00.

Every action you perform in the adjustment panel is non-destructive. You can safely experiment with the photos without worrying. At each step press the M key on the keyboard to compare the edits and if you don’t like the edits click Revert to Original.

39. Organise Photos by Creating a Smart Album

Smart albums lets you gather and display photos based on their attributes. It could be inherent to the picture itself (camera used, exposure details, location, date and time, location) or based on information that you’ve added (keyword, faces). 

It is available only on macOS.

To create a smart album, choose File > New Smart Album… or press Command-Option-N. In the dialog that appears, type the name of the smart album and set the conditions for the smart album. 

On the left side select the attribute you’d like to choose. Next set the is or is not condition.

On the right side, choose what you’d like to do with the photo. For example, tagged with GPS, referenced, favorite, edited and more.

create smart album in photos for Mac
Create smart album in Photos for Mac

For example, if you want to find images that contain location data then choose Photo:is:tagged with GPS

Photos will immediately find all the listing, and will indicate it with gear icon. You can refine the match by adding more conditions.

Click the + icon, and this time choose Date:is in the range: 1/1/2017 to 31/12/2017. Adjust the title to include 2017 and select match all of the following conditions.

smart albums in photos app tagged with GPS
Smart albums in Photos app tagged with GPS

40. Organise Photos by Keywords

Keywords are tags or labels you add to the photos to help locate specific pictures and videos, regardless of which album, collection or year they’re in. 

There’s a key difference in between albums and keywords. Albums are great for grouping pictures but keywords are great for describing characteristics of images that are also likely to appear in other images.

To add a keyword, select a single or multiple images and choose Window > Info or Command-I to open the floating info window. Under Add a Keyword section enter the keyword. Put a comma if you want to add more keywords.

add keyword to a photo
Add keyword to a photo

If you maintain a large list of keywords and want to add, edit, or delete bunch of keywords then use Keyword Manager. Choose Window > Keyword Manager or Command-K to open the Keyword Manager.

keyword manager for the photos app
Keyword manager for the photos app 1.quick group area 2. list of all the keyword

With Keyword Manager you assign keywords or edit your list of keywords. Click the Edit Keywords button to see the Manage My Keywords window. From here you can add, delete, rename and assign a keyboard shortcut to a keyword.

edit keyword in keyword manager of the Photos app
Edit keyword in the keyword manager for the Photos app 1. Add or Delete keyword 2. Rename keyword 3. List of all the shortcuts

41. Use Photos With Workflow App

Workflow for iOS is a powerful app to let you perform tedious and repetitive tasks easily. It combine a bunch of steps across apps into a single tap. 

You can mix and match hundreds of actions through drag and drop to create quick shortcuts, manage media, share content and much more.

Launch the Workflow app and tap + Create Workflow. Under Actions tap Photos and Video, you’ll notice it supports a bunch of actions—edit, crop, flip, overlay, resize, rotate and more. 

If you’re just getting started, then we’ve a complete tutorial series on Workflow.

workflow app for iOS
Workflow app for iOS

42. Use Photos With Automator for Mac

Automator, included as a part of macOS enables you to construct multi-step operations called workflows using graphical building blocks rather than code. With workflows you’ll be able to solve everyday problems. 

For example, you can create a graphic from a phrase, import all the photos from a web page into photos, create and mount a disk image, and more.

If you’re just getting started, then we’ve a beginner tutorial on Automator and uses for Automator. The workflow I use most is to scale images at specified size.

Launch the Automator app. Create a new Folder Action document to move screenshot from Desktop to a particular folder and scale it to a specific width.

create folder action in automator
Create a folder action in Automator

Then, at the top of the window it says, Folder Action receives files and folders added to. Click where it says Choose Folder and select the Desktop folder.

On the left side, there is a list of all the available actions. Look for Find Finder Items and drag it to the right side of the window to build the workflow.

add find finder items to automator workflow
Add find finder items action to the automator workflow

Change from All to Any and choose the following parameters

*Name* begins with a Screenshot
File extension ends with *png*

change parameter of find finder items action
Change parameter of find finder items in Automator

Drag the Move Finder Items to the right side of the window. Set the To: parameter to the folder of your choice. 

Drag Scale Images to the right side of the window to conclude the workflow. This workflow will move a screenshot to the designated folder and scale it to 850px.

final part of the automator action
Final part of the automator action


In the final part of this tutorial series I showed you some tips and tricks you can use to improve workflow with the Photos app. Photos is the default app for macOS and someways it’s the most feature rich app developed by Apple.

Every release of macOS adds some new features to it. If you want to manage your photo library, then you must at least try Apple Photos.

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