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Apple Adds Better Editing, OSX Integration and More Into Overhauled Photos app



Along with the updates to iOS at the developer level, Apple has taken new strides in its own photo applications. As presumed by many, the iOS version of the Photos app received quite an update while Apple also showed off a new ‘Photos’ app for OSX, which may very well take the place of what has long been known as iPhoto.

Following in the footsteps of our first WWDC-related announcement, we’ll start off by walking you through the changes to the stock iOS Photos app. After that, we’ll hit on the dramatic change to Photos in the all-new OSX Yosemite, which has been built from the ground up to work seamlessly with the iOS app.

iOS Photos App

When redesigning and reorganizing the Photos app for iOS 8, it’s obvious Apple looked into how people go about using the photos they capture, not just how they capture them. Rather than being a place purely for storage, the updated Photos app allows users to take both a macro and micro approach to how they browse, search, edit and share the photos they capture with their iOS devices.


The first hint at that is the new search function. You can search through your entire library using the date, time, location or album name to quickly find just the photograph you’re looking for.

Additionally, the built-in suggestion feature will bring up the photos most relevant to you as soon as you tap the search button. Using your location, frequency of access to a particular set of images and other variables, the suggestion box allows smart access to the photos most relevant to you at any given time.

From there, Apple took a look at the editing features currently present in the app and not only improved upon what was currently there, but added a completely new set of features that many have been wanting for some time.


The first of these is a new collection of “smart composition tools.” Rather self-explanatory, this new set of tools within the Photos app will allow you to more easily make compositional adjustments to your photos, such as straightening out horizons and making more effective and accurate crops. The straightening tool uses a simple UI that allows you to drag a radial dial up and down to choose the correct amount of straightening needed, while the cropping tool works as it currently does.


The second of the new features is not so much new as it is a complete revamp of the basic editing capabilities currently available in the app. These smart adjustments take a much more dynamic approach to editing images within the Photos app, allowing you to adjust both the color and lighting curves of an image. This means that rather than simply brightening the image, it actually edits the exposure, brightness and contrast, while simultaneously adjusting the highlights and shadows.

For the power-users among us, Apple was also wise enough to include a drop-down menu that allows for precise control of a number of the editing components we’re used to seeing: brightness, contrast, exposure, highlights and shadows. To tweak these, simply tap on the menu drop down and drag over the desired setting to make precise adjustments.


The last of the new features added to the app is one that I have hit on in my first article regarding photography-related WWDC announcements. It is the ability to use other apps to edit your images from right within your Photos app.

With the creation and opening of PhotoKit to developers, you will now be able to edit a photo from within the iOS Photos app using the editing capabilities of third party apps available in the App Store. Apple specifically showed off two of the more popular photo editing apps in the App Store: Waterlogue and VSCO Cam.

Those three main components summarize the changes to the upcoming iOS Photos app. If you’re looking for more information, you can click here to read Apple’s own rundown of the features.


Side Note: One final tidbit worth pointing out, because it actually wasn’t announced during the Keynote, is the addition of a time-lapse feature to the iOS Camera app. Simply select the time-lapse mode, tap record, and when the given sequence is covered to your liking, a second tap of the record button will stop the time-lapse. The sequence is then automatically compiled and placed in your photo library.

OSX Photos App

To properly coincide with the changes made to the iOS Photos app, Apple announced a brand new Photos app for OSX Yosemite, which makes its way into public beta this Summer and public release this Fall. As with much of OSX Yosemite, the Photos app for the desktop takes a number of design queues from the iOS app. Actually, if we’re being honest, the UI is absolutely identical in every regard, it’s just been blown up to desktop proportions.


It’s capable of browsing and searching through your photo library using “Moments” and albums, editing the composition of your images, adjusting the exposure, and even basic retouching. As you can see from the above and below screenshots captured during the Keynote, its simple UI gives you exactly what you need and nothing more when it comes to organizing and making minor edits to your mobile photos.


It’s worth noting that the OSX Photos app doesn’t seem to be a full-fledge editing resource for outside photographs as much as it is a desktop option for browsing through and editing the media captured on your iOS devices. This is another step towards solving the puzzle that is figuring out how to properly bring together the capturing, organizing, editing, archiving and sharing of images across the entire Apple ecosystem.


There’s one piece to that puzzle missing, though: the resource that ties the iOS Photos app to the OSX Photos app, keeping images properly synchronized across every device you own.

Thankfully, Apple delivered on that front as well, but we’ll talk more about Apple’s iCloud Photo Library, the cloud-based solution that ties together the entire mobile photo ecosystem of iOS and OSX, in the final WWDC article of the day.