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  1. Computer Skills
  2. Apple Photos

How to Do More With Apple's Photos App: Part 2


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 second 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.

Please note, however, this tutorial will not cover any tips related to migration from iPhoto or Aperture as they’re no longer updated.

For this tutorial, I’ve used a 9.7 inch iPad (2017) with iOS 11 public beta 10 and a Mac Mini with macOS Sierra 10.12.6. The software will improve as the beta progress and features may change towards the final release.

14. Browse Photos Seamlessly

macOS and iOS Photos interface is minimal, made up of a single pane window. By default, you navigate through Photos in a series of panes—Photos, Memories, Shared, Albums, and Projects. If you prefer a sidebar, choose View > Show Sidebar or press Option-Command-S.

When you enable sidebar, you can see the entire organisational structure in list form. It includes shared albums, regular and smart albums, screenshots, last import, and more.

Every section in the sidebar is a click away and you can hide unneeded sections to reduce the visual clutter.

view sidebar or panes in the photos app
View sidebar or panes in the Photos app

Photos uses Moments, Collections, and Years to automatically organise photos. For example—you’ve taken a vacation in Paris in the month of August 2017. 

  • Moment view groups all the photos and videos you’ve taken in Paris at a particular day
  • Collection view groups all the related moments
  • Years view group all the photos you’ve taken in the year 2017

On macOS, click the Back button or Forward button to see the photos organised by moments, collection, or years. On a trackpad, pinch in or out to switch between different views.

Click the back or forward button to switch views in Photos
Click the back or forward button to switch views in macOS

On iOS, tap the Back button at the top left of the screen to switch views from collection to years. See the label besides the back button to know the type of group you’re on. Tap the thumbnail again to switch views.

The photos are hard to see in collection or years view. Tap and hold on the Year or Collection view screen. Slide a finger back and forth across the collection. This will give you a larger thumbnail view of each photo. Release the finger to view the photo.

collection view in iOS photos app
Collection view in iOS Photos app

15. Repair Photos Library

If you’re experiencing problems with photos in a library—like missing or blank photo thumbnails, unexpected lag or crash, or Photos won’t launch then you’ve to repair the library. 

Before you begin, backup all the photos and clone the photo library.

Quit the Photos app. Press and hold Option-Command keys and launch the Photos again. The Repair Library window opens. Click Repair and enter the administrative password to begin running the repair tool.

repair library of the Photos app
Repair library of the Photos app

16. Create and Switch Between Multiple Photo Libraries

Photos lets you create multiple photo libraries. You can keep separate photo libraries for multiple reasons—to keep personal and work photos separate, selectively sync files with iCloud, or your profession needs.

To create a new photo library, quit the Photos app. Press and hold the Option key and launch the Photos again. In the Choose Library dialog, click Create New. Type a library name and choose a location to store the library.

create a new photos library
Create a new photos library

To switch between the library, quit the Photos app. Press and hold the Option key and launch the Photos again. In the Choose Library dialog, click the library you created, then click Choose Library

If the library don’t exist in the Choose Library dialog, click Other Library, navigate to the library location and click Choose Library.

switch between photo libraries
Switch between photo libraries

17. Manage Multiple Photo Libraries

If you’ve multiple photo libraries, then Photos lets you choose only one System Photo Library. According to the Apple Support Document, a System Photo Library is the only library that syncs with iCloud.

It lets you sync photos to iOS and Apple TV via iTunes. The system apps for macOS, such as Pages, Keynote, iMovie, Wallpaper preference can access photos only from the System Photo Library.

If you manage multiple photo libraries, you’ve to designate one of them as a System Photo Library. To do this, quit the Photos app. Press and hold the Option key to launch Photos again. In the Choose Library dialog, select another library and click Choose Library

choose another library from the dialog box
Choose another library from the dialog box

When Photos opens the library, choose Photos > Preferences. In the General tab click the Use as System Photo Library button.

choose system photo library option of second library
Choose system photo library option of second library

If you later decide to merge all the libraries, then check out PowerPhotos from Fat Cat Software. It has many features—find duplicate photos, merge photo libraries, copy photos and their metadata, easy way to browse and search multiple photos, and more.

18. Export Photos, Videos and Slideshows

Photos app lets you export both unmodified and modified photos. To export modified photos, select the items you want to export. Choose File > Export > Export (number) Photos. From the pop-menu specify file format, quality, and dimension of the exported file.

You can choose to include titles, keywords, and descriptions you’ve added in the Photos. Check Location information if you want to include location metadata.

export modified photos
Export modified photos with lots of options

To export unmodified original photo, select the items you want to export. Choose File > Export > Export Unmodified Original. If you’ve added copyright or keyword info to the files in Photos, then check Export IPTC as XMP to export the IPTC metadata as a sidecar file in XMP format.

export unmodified original photo
Export unmodified original photo

To export a video, click the Movie Quality pop-up menu and choose the video quality. Standard definition (480p) is good for standard definition TV. Choose 720p or 1080p to play the video in HDTV.

export a video from photos app
Export a video from Photos app

To export a slideshow, Photos creates a movie file with the video format you select.

Choose File > Export > Export Slideshow. Click the Format pop-up menu and choose the format quality. If you want to send this video to another device, then check Automatically Send to iTunes.

export slideshow from the Photos
Export slideshow from the Photos app

19. Customise a Slideshow

Creating a slideshow is intuitive and Photos give you a variety of options. Select a group of images, and choose File > Create Slideshow. Give the slideshow a name, and click OK. A new entry appears in the Projects pane. In the slideshow editor, you can organise the images, add text, theme, music, and customise slide duration.

Note—apart from photos you can base your slideshow on a moment or collection, a whole album or multiple albums.

create a slideshow project
Create a slideshow project

Photos support several slideshow presentation styles called Themes. Click the Theme Picker icon at the right and click the theme name. Photos previews what each theme will look. Click the Preview button to view the preview.

Click the + symbol to add text or images. You can re-order the images in all themes, but some themes are more customisable.

customize theme of a slideshow
Customize theme of a slideshow 1. Choose a theme 2. Add a text or photo 3. Preview the slideshow

Themes come with default music, you can pick any tune from the iTunes library. Click the Music Picker button. The Selected Music section list the music that will play with your slideshow. To preview the music, move your mouse over the track and click Play.

To pick a different music, click the disclosure caret next to the Music Library header. Click the search icon to search iTunes library, or choose from the tracks that appear. Note—songs that reside on the Mac and not encumbered by DRM are available.

customize music of a slideshow
Customize music of a slideshow

Click the duration icon to set the time of your slideshow. You can either choose a specific duration or choose Fit to Music. The duration of each individual slide is determined by the number of slides and the length of the presentation.

customize slideshow duration
Customize slideshow duration

20. Make Quick Edits to Clips in iOS

iMovie for iOS easily lets you trim a video clip, add filters, titles and music without leaving Photos app. Select the clip you want to edit and tap Edit. Tap the More Options button, then tap iMovie from the extension list.

edit clip with iMovie for iOS
Edit clip with iMovie for iOS

To trim a clip, tap the Trim button, then drag the yellow trim handle to shorten or lengthen the clip. Tap Done to export the clip.

trim a clip with iMovie
Trim a clip with iMovie for iOS

To add a filter, tap the Filter button, then tap a filter to preview it in the viewer. Tap Done to export the clip.

add a filter with iMovie
Add a filter with iMovie

To add a title, tap the Title button, then tap a select a title style. In the viewer, tap the sample title and type a title. Tap Done to export the clip.

Add a title with iMovie for iOS
Add a title with iMovie for iOS

When you make edits to a video clips in Photos, the original clip gets replaced with the edited version. To restore the original clip, select the video clip you edited. Tap Edit > Revert > Revert to Original.

revert to original clip in Photos
Revert to original clip in Photos


In this part of the tutorial series I showed you some tips and tricks you can use to improve workflow with the Photos app. In the next part of the tutorial series, I shall show you more tips and tricks to use Photos like a pro.

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