Apple Confirms 3rd-Party Extensibility and Robust Editing Features in OS X Photos


Although still far from its public debut, more and more information about the new Photos app for OS X is making its way to the public.

Meant to be the successor to both iPhoto and now Aperture, Photos is said to create a more seamless photography workflow across OS X and iOS devices. And the latest news indicates that the OS X version of Photos will offer some potentially exciting features.

In a statement to Ars Technica, an Apple representative spoke of a number of newly-confirmed features that will make their way into the iPhoto/Aperture replacement. Ars Technica specifically shares:

When asked about what Aperture-like features users can expect from the new Photos app, an Apple representative mentioned plans for professional-grade features such as image search, editing, effects, and most notably, third-party extensibility.


While many of these details could have be drawn from context clues given in Apple’s keynote, the last one is the one that has potential to really raise some eyebrows. Especially considering Apple announced the discontinuation of development of Aperture.

While the Photos application may never become a full-fledged Aperture replacement, the news that Aperture users will be able to import their libraries into the new Photos, along with the announcement of third-party extensibility and robust editing features, leaves us hopeful that not all is lost.

We’re particularly intrigued by the extensibility. Opening up the ability for third-parties to create apps and/or plugins that work from Photos means that the potential editing capabilities will be vastly more diverse than many thought originally possible.


Just one example is something Apple already showed off: During the iOS 8 keynote, they showed how filters from third-party apps such as VSCO Cam could be non-destructively implemented directly within Photos.

This functionality could easily translate over into the OS X version, but in a more powerful way, leaving room for companies such as VSCO, AlienSkin, NIK, and more to create extensions that broaden the creative capabilities of the application for photographers.

Another added benefit of this kind of integration is that, just as in the iOS app, it would allow you to make these edits and changes non-destructively, so that you can revert to the original at any time. For those worried about the archival of digital formats, this could be key.


We’re still far from knowing what exactly is going on behind the scenes at Apple, so for now, we’re left piecing together what Photos is and isn’t. But this confirmation of a number of features does go to show that Photos for OS X might not be as underpowered as some fear.

(via MacRumors)

  • Tyson Williams

    I am considering going back to Lightroom 5 now but I think I will hold off until it the new Photos App ships with the OS X to see how my huge Aperture library will benefit or not from it.

  • Robert Mark

    This opens the door to a) the full wish list of features we’ve been asking Apple for, and b) the ability for Adobe to directly support the OS level integration in a future Lightroom and/or Photoshop release. I expect third parties to easily supply the wish-list items, and Adobe to never support the OS level integration.

  • Poki

    Hmm.. already downloaded CaptureOne Pro after reading about the discontinuation of Aperture. Somehow I still don’t think the Photos App will be able to replace these RAW-converters. And the asset management, if it’s anything like in iOS7 / iOS8, just doesn’t cut it. But this news makes my purchasing decision on CaptureOne Pro 7 a little more difficult …

  • Arthur Nazarian

    This is the most important Apple-news for me in the 8 years I have a Mac. Yes, a new Macbook or iPhone is nice, but I’ll live with everything they come up with. Aperture however, is/was very important for me professionally. I tried Lightroom 3 and 4 simultaneously with Aperture, but although Lightroom has faster processing, the workflow is slower and more awkward for me. Also, I have better results with Aperture for the things that didn’t have to go to Photoshop.

    Anyway, I surely hope my Aperture libraries (about 600GB) will be 100% correctly imported in this Photos with all the adjustments! This statement, that importing from Aperture will be no problem, gives me hopes that Photos indeed will support all the features Aperture has, including brushes! How else will Aperture’s RAW files be imported without losing the adjustments?

    Anyway, I really hope this will be a good update!

  • dodude

    I tried liking lightroom after the announcement that they are dropping Aperture. looks like i will be using either aperture for a while now and switch to photos whenever It will do what i want. I’m not using my phone for photography and shared photostream is one of the very important features that I wont be using software without.

  • gochugogi

    I wonder if, when you port your aperture libraries, the image adjustments will go with it. I’ve tweaked thousands of RAW images and really don’t want to start over. Hopefully OS X Photos will be Aperture 4 and more…

  • Peter Hollz

    it wil be an app for noobs and casual facebook shooter.
    most apple users are not very tech savy.
    they like to look like they are … that´s why they buy apple.
    but they can´t even change RAM or a GPU themself.

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  • karmaportrait

    That is certainly a generous view of “professional-grade features”

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  • Steve

    Lens corrections and better support for one of my cameras which outputs DNG only (ugh) would be nice.