Easy photo management
See Sierra’s impressive upgrades that make it easier to find your photos
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How to make use of the new Memories and improved image analysis features to view your photos.
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Whether you’re a hobbyist or a pro, photography is such a popular activity that it’s no wonder that some of Sierra’s biggest changes are in the Photos app.
These improvements go further than previous changes, which addressed shortcomings that stemmed from Apple replacing the app’s popular predecessor, iPhoto, and starting from scratch with its photo management tool.
One of the most prominent new features is Memories, which live in an eponymous tab in the app’s toolbar. Over time, the app picks out collections of pictures it thinks you might want to see again, typically comprised of pictures taken on or around the same date, or around a particular location.
You can scroll through this automatically generated timeline to look back at all the memories the app has picked out. However, that’ll only get more unwieldy as the timeline gets longer, so the app enables you to add a memory to a collection of your favourites, which are stored in a folder in the Albums tab. The app also lets you delete a memory if you disagree that it’s something you’ll want to look at often – perhaps there are one or two interesting images in it, but many more that you’re not that fond of. Note that this only deletes the memory; its contents remain in your photo library.
A memory can be played as a slideshow by opening it and then clicking the toolbar’s Play button, but there’s no option there to export it as a movie to share with others. However, click the adjacent + button, choose Slideshow, make a few decisions, and the slideshow is saved to the Projects tab. Select it there, then choose File > Export > Export Slideshow.
Photos’ other big new feature is automatic analysis of your photos – not just so you can then browse them by the people they contain, like in previous versions, but so you can search for pictures that contain a specific object or kind of scene. Until your entire library has been scanned, the People album will show a count of how many photos have been scanned and how many remain. Analysis takes place when your Mac is connected to mains power and Photos isn’t open. Open Activity Monitor, click the CPU tab and find photoanalysisd; it’s responsible for analysis – notice it’s suspended while Photos is open and resumes its duties as soon as you quit the app.
Photos picks out images it believes you’ll want to see again without you needing to find them