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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

WWDC 2017 wish list

It has been an exciting year for developers so far. Facebook is making the camera a platform, Microsoft is making cloud computation happen with two clicks of a mouse, and Google is doing everything that everyone else is doing plus a billion more things.

WWDC is next week. So what are my wishes? Since I use Apple products far more than Facebook, Microsoft, or Google products, I tend to want more specific things from WWDC.

Here is my list, in no particular order:

  • Shared iCloud Photo Libraries. There are a few ways that Apple could do this. The simplest, in my opinion, is for me to allow access to my iCloud Photo Library to anyone in my iCloud Family Plan. All photos taken from all family members in the same library. Perhaps somehow filtered by device or person. That’s it.
  • iCloud data Family sharing. I buy 1TB for me and 50GB for Eliza. I’d like to purchase 1 set of storage for both of us and be able to share the space allotment. Not only to save the $1 per month but also to combine the accounts.
  • An all-new Mac App Store. The app store app on macOS feels incredibly dated and fragile. It doesn’t seem to work nearly as well as its iOS counterpart. This part of the OS should be rock solid and perform very well. But there are little idiosyncrasies (like how the progress bars look weird when downloading, or how the fonts look…).
  • App Store demos. If Schiller is serious about bolstering the App Stores I think it is time to bring true demos to both App Stores. I don’t have a silver bullet model (7 days, 14 days, 30 days, etc.) but I do believe this is achievable and would be a boon for app developers.
  • App slimming. Apple announced something about this a few WWDCs ago I think. And I believe it is on the developers of the apps to make their apps as small as possible. However, I think Apple can lend a hand to the most popular apps (Facebook, Uber, Twitter, Messenger, SnapChat, Instagram, etc.) and ask that they somehow combine frameworks or resources in order to shrink their apps considerably. Just think, every megabyte Apple can help slim from those apps would be hundreds of terabytes of data usage saved.
  • More Camera app filters. I use the Camera app a lot. Even with the numerous camera apps available (which I’ve likely bought dozens of and installed even more of over the last decade of having an iPhone) I usually gravitate to the camera that I can swipe to from my Lock Screen. Once and a while I’ll use a filter. Either in editing or even in shooting. Its fun. I’d like to see more added. Like, 50 more with me being able to select my top 12 somehow.
  • Apple Prime. Amazon Prime comes with a slew of things; music, movies, photo storage, free shipping, etc. etc. I’d like a one-payment Apple bundle that would give me iCloud space, iCloud Photo Library, Apple Music, Apple TV (or whatever their TV service will be if it ever happens), etc. Some “prime” membership per year that I can be all-in on Apple stuff.
  • Rename iCloud Photo Library? Perhaps it should just be called Apple Photos. If every app simply had an iCloud switch that allowed you to store / sync its data with iCloud we wouldn’t need separate names for things. The apps simply can have an iCloud feature.
  • Apple Watch Series 3. I’ve said since the beginning that the first Apple Watch I’d buy would likely be the Series 3. (Actually, I begged Apple not to make a watch at all. But, since they did, the first one I’d likely buy might be the next version.) My wish list for series 3 would be slimmer (less tall), no phone needed at all for it to function (network-connected with no additional plan), much, much faster, and easier to update/install apps. Essentially, a stand-alone device rather than an iPhone accessory.
  • Apple Photos improvements. Only a few of my wishes from May 2016 have been addressed. I would like to see Apple Photos get substantially better this year. However, Apple seems to improve things much slower than they used to. (Remember the iPad 1 to iPad 2 jump? I wish we saw more of that speed from Apple)
  • More iOS Extensions. Perhaps Apple’s purchase of Workflow won’t bear fruit so quickly, but I’d like a lot more Extensions in iOS. I often find myself limited in what I can do with a file on iOS. I think it should be much more powerful to send files from app-to-app or to a service or run a routine on it, etc. I think we’ll see that in future iOS releases.
  • Siri. I’ve nearly given up on Siri. My WWDC 2016 wish list still has Siri items on it that haven’t been addressed. Still, if Siri was 5% better I’d take it.
  • Apple Maps accuracy updates. Apple Maps has improved a lot since its debut. Its design is far better than it was and its feature set has grown too. But, for me, its accuracy is still terrible. Google Maps gets me to the correct location every single time. I can’t remember when it hasn’t. Apple Maps routinely gives me the wrong location when I ask Siri for directions somewhere. Somewhere around 75% of the time. Three out of four. This is not an exaggeration. So, I do not use it. With each update to iOS I give it another try. Then I go back to Google Maps. I don’t think Apple Maps needs any new design, or any new features, it just needs to be accurate. Side note: I was in Philadelphia with Eliza recently and we relied on Google Maps for all transportation. It was excellent at getting us around via Uber, walking, and driving. It was perfect the entire time.

I’ll stay away from any hardware wishes as I don’t have any needs currently. I’m all set on the hardware front. Our iPhones, iPads, MacBook Pro, and iMac are all just fine the way they currently are. And, I don’t need an Apple Home (if they release one) because I have enough terrible Siri devices laying around the house.

What Photos for OS X and iOS will be able to automatically detect in iOS 10

Alternate title: My hopes are low for object detection in the new Photos but I still have hope

Reddit user vista980622 dig some digital sleuthing and may have come up with the list of over 4,000 objects, memories, and facial expressions that Photos for iOS and OS X will be able to mine all on its own with Apple’s Advanced Computer Vision technology announced at WWDC. The user then wrote this about the landmark detection on Ev’s blog:

Additionally, you can search for various landmarks. For example, Photos can respond for search query of “Maho” (beach in Saint Martin), despite Photos is not programmed or trained to understand specific landmarks. Behind the scenes, Photos app first generates a generic categorization for the scene, “beach”, then searches through a built-in dictionary for all landmarks that has the name “beach” in its definition.

This is smart approach.

It reminds me of something Craig Federighi (Hair Force One to me) mentioned during John Gruber’s live Talk Show event during WWDC. There are a lot of ways to teach Apple’s Advanced Computer Vision system that do not need to involve sending your photos to them. They know what a beach or mountain or forest looks like. They have access to the location of the photo. And they have access to the world’s knowledge via the web. Combining those things they can find a huge amount of information in your photos that can be used to discover them without ever needing to look at the photos themselves.

In my wish list for Photos for OS X, iOS, and iCloud Photo Library I mentioned that I wanted to be able to search for objects. I wrote:

Sort of related to the auto-generated albums above, I’d love to be able to search for “red” or “lake” or “tree” and get results. Google is killing Apple at this. And it just makes so much sense. The more the application does for you the less classification you have to do manually. I tag my photos with things like “cat” or “ants” or “beetle” or “snake” because I want to be able to search for these things later. And adding my own layer of taxonomy on top of my library should always be an option … but for objects that are easily identifiable these days (like lakes or cats) it just makes sense.

It appears I’ll be getting that. I noticed a lot of object and animal specific terms in the list that vista980622 shared. One stood out; “arachnid”. I hope, and am pretty sure I will be able to, still search by “spider” though it isn’t listed. Which brings us to the discoverability of these types of searches. I hope Apple doesn’t only provide a search box but that they also suggest searches or create pseudo-albums for you.

For example, Google Photos creates albums (sort of) by simply giving you a way to find those objects in your library without searching for them. They aren’t albums so much as links to search results that look like albums. I hope Apple builds in a discovery mechanism too. And it’d be great if it were based on what I took photos of the most.

Looking through my Library it’d be easy to see that I take a lot of photos of lakes and rivers (kayaking), bees, barns, and buildings. I also visit a lot of wineries and breweries. It’d be nice if Apple simply had “pseudo albums” or saved searches at the ready for me for all of these things. And then they could throw in a few for fun like cats, pink, beach, panoselfie.

One tidbit about the assumed facial expression detection in Photos… They seem to be using this to create memories. Who wants memories of a bunch of angry people? So I’m guessing that if they want to make a bunch of happy memories for people they needed to go beyond just detecting the people in the photos but also what mood they were in.

OK, one more tidbit about face detection. I’m skeptical that this will be any good. But I hope I’m wrong.

Currently there are two kinds of face detection. The first involves determining that there is a face in the photo. You’ll see iOS’s camera app doing this live while you’re shooting. A yellow box will surround people or objects in a photo to get a good focal length to make sure your subject(s) are in focus. That is face detection that simply says “we think this is a face”. Then there is face detection that involves determining the actual person in the photo. Photos for OS X has this currently… though it needs to be improved a lot. Like, a real lot. Check out this example from this weekend:

Photos OS X Face Detection Error Fail

You can click the image to zoom in a bit.

On the left, my friend Matt (who has a face). On the right, a vending machine (which does not have a face).

Photos for OS X believes that the vending machine is a face. This is technology that Apple has been mucking around with for at least 8 years as it was debuted in iPhoto in 2009. It didn’t suggest any names for the face (it rarely does, which I’ve covered here), but it doesn’t even see Matt’s face.

I’m sure that Apple’s new Photos for iOS and OS X will be better than what we currently have but I’ll wait and see before I get excited. Because so far they’ve yet to be great at this and Google and Facebook kill them at it.

I’m anxious to play with iOS 10 and macOS Sierra. But not anxious enough to install the betas on my hardware. So I’ll be writing a lot more about this in the fall.

Improving Photos for OS X and iOS and iCloud Photo Library

I’ll start out this post, as most empathic developers would, by saying that I realize how hard syncing is. It is incredibly hard to get right. The fact that it works at all is magic. It is amazing. And I’m tickled that I even have it.

That being said, we’re a few years away from men and women walking on the surface of Mars. So I guess we can expect a bit more from Apple’s photo experience.

For context, I have a library that weighs in at just about 230GB and is comprised of 67,000 photos and videos. And it is growing pretty quickly. I shoot with a variety of cameras but mostly I use my iPhone and GoPro. I also shoot a fair amount of video. I use Photos for OS X on my Mac which is backed up to an external USB drive. Photos for OS X is set to download originals from iCloud Photo Library (which I pay for the 1TB option). Photos for iOS is set on both my iPad and iPhone to sync to iCloud Photo Library but to “manage space” by not keeping the originals on the device.

Now that you know my setup, here are just a few of my suggestions to how Apple could improve Photos for OS X and iOS and iCloud Photo Library. Some of these I expect to see this year. Others, likely never. Let’s start off with some things I feel will likely improve.

Improve sync connection hogging

As I’ve griped about many times over the last two months while my photo library on my Mac synced to iCloud Photo Library — it kills my connection to the internet. I don’t mean to mix words. Let me be very clear. It doesn’t slow down my connection. It doesn’t make it a hassle to use the internet while this sync is happening … it kills it. The internet connection in my home is unusable by any other application or device while Photos for OS X syncs.

A huge improvement to the entire experience would be to stop this from happening. If you’re at Apple reading this I’d be more than happy to share any information about my current set up to help improve the process.

Facial recognition could be more liberal

The number of false positives I see when using Photos for OS X’s facial recognition are very, very low. Yet I still have to click click click click click click click to add Faces to photos. Even if I’m adding them en masse (it selects about 4 to 6 at a time and asks you “Is this Colin Devroe?” and you have to hit yes over and over and over).

One way to improve this would be to just allow more possible faces through. Rather than automatically tagging 10-15% (which it seems to now), auto-tag 50% or more. I’d be willing to bet that I wouldn’t need to go back and change many.

Or, and this is likely the easier solution, show 50 or 100 possible matches rather than so few. This way I can quickly scan them all and get on with my day.

Aside: There is a bug in adding Faces that is super frustrating but I’m sure they’ll lick it in an upcoming release. If a face isn’t detected by Photos you can add it yourself. You open the info panel, click “Add Face”. Pretty simple. However, more often than not when the circle appears that you are to drag and resize onto someone’s face, you can’t move it. It doesn’t always happen but it happens a lot. Far greater than 50% of the time. I have not figured out how to get around this bug.

Sync Smart Albums

I have a collection of Smart Albums for all sorts of things. One is to filter by camera model. This way I can see the photos I’ve taken with my SLR or my iPhone 5 or 6 or SE. Photos for iOS does not show the Smart Albums. It’d be nice it if did.

Sync metadata at the same time as the photos

My sync to iCloud Photo Library is nearly complete. I have about 67,000 or so photos and videos and my iPhone, this morning, is reporting just over 61,000. However, much of the metadata for the photos that have already synced haven’t yet made it across the chasm. I mentioned this in an earlier post; if I search kayaking I get far less results on iOS as I do on my Mac. Yet the photos from those potential results have already synced to iCloud Photo Library.

This results in a bit of frustration, which I can deal with, but I’m willing to bet that “normals” would think that search simply doesn’t work and wouldn’t know to wait until the entire sync is done.

Author’s note: I’m finishing the editing of this post several days later (after the sync has been complete) and the metadata does come over last. So search results are matching up. I really do think the metadata should transfer at the same time. Or, perhaps even before the entire library is synced.

Improve syncing new photos back to Mac

If I take a photo on my iPhone it shows up on my iPad through iCloud Photo Library fairly quickly. However, not a single photo has shown up on my Mac that I’ve taken since starting my months-long-sync to iCloud Photo Library. Perhaps they will when I’m finished this sync.

Author’s note: This has in fact happened. Now when I take a new photo it shows up on all devices, including my Mac, within a short period of time. It works beautifully. It would have been nice if this was happening on the Mac all along like it does on iOS. Why the difference?

Spotlight?

Maybe I just haven’t been able to find this… but Spotlight doesn’t search my Photos library on OS X or on iOS? This seems like something that has to be coming, right?

Now, onto wish list items. Things I wouldn’t hold my breath for but that I would love to see in an upcoming version of Photos for OS X and iOS.

Auto-generated Albums ala Google Photos

I know I’ve mentioned this before but the albums that Google Photos auto-generates are genius. And I know Google Photos is a cloud-based service and so they’re able to run all sorts of fancy algorithms against your library (whereas, presumably, the Mac app would kill someone’s computer figuring all of this out) but with iCloud Photo Library turned on could Photos on Mac and iOS show auto-generated albums for things like cats, lakes, rivers, sky, etc? Once I saw something like this I wanted it everywhere. If you haven’t tried Google Photos give it a whirl. It is pretty amazing.

Face tagging on iOS

Tagging faces would likely be even easier to do on iOS than on the Mac (for the photographer). I may even take a moment after shooting photos to tag my friends faces just to keep up with it rather than falling behind and having to wait until I get back to my computer.

Facebook has had this for years.

Photo editing and filter improvements

The current filters on both OS X and iOS are trash. Where Instagram goes for rather subtle or nostalgic edits, Apple’s filters just trash your photo. I do not know why I feel so strongly about this but, to me, they are terrible. And I hate dogging on people’s hard work.

That being said, the editing features are pretty good. I think one thing I’d add to both OS X and iOS is the ability to turn edits on and off quickly during the editing process. Have you ever tapped and held your finger on your photo in Instagram’s edit screen? You can see the original photo and compare specific sections while you edit. Say you’re bringing up the shadows to show a rock cliff a bit better, you can tap, hold, and see how much light you’ve pulled out of that area. The same thing can be done now on OS X and iOS by toggling off each section of the editor (3 or 4 taps rather than a single press and hold). It’d be nice if this was a single action.

Search by color or object

Sort of related to the auto-generated albums above, I’d love to be able to search for “red” or “lake” or “tree” and get results. Google is killing Apple at this. And it just makes so much sense. The more the application does for you the less classification you have to do manually. I tag my photos with things like “cat” or “ants” or “beetle” or “snake” because I want to be able to search for these things later. And adding my own layer of taxonomy on top of my library should always be an option … but for objects that are easily identifiable these days (like lakes or cats) it just makes sense.

Facial recognition in videos

I would have guessed we’d have this in 2016. I remember in 2008 or 2009 when I was working at Viddler I had come up with a conceptual way of pulling this off for our platform. We never fully implemented it. But I did take a swing. I still have the code.

It went something like this; every video has a certain number of keyframes in it. You can think of those keyframes as thumbnails. In fact, at Viddler we stored several of those thumbnails per video. Imagine tagging someone’s face in a video and using facial recognition on the rest of the keyframes just to mark where in that video the person was. (at the time, face.com’s API was still a thing, it could have been done for free).

The simplest, easiest solution for Photos would be to search through a few keyframes of the video, find some faces, and suggest some names. Even at that level it would allow for saying “Hey, Colin appears somewhere in this video.”

However, even deeper and more valuable, would be to know when someone appeared in a video. And this would be totally possible to do using machine tagging. E.g. “person:name=colin-devroe”, “person:appears=99.00” or “person:appears=99.00-110.00”. How cool would that be? “Hey siri, show me some clips of my friend Bryan from our camping trip in 2008.”

Tagging on iOS

I can tag photos on OS X with things like “kayaking” or “insects” so that I can find them later. And these search results appear on iOS. I’d love to be able to tag my photos on iOS too.

A Map view

Honestly, how isn’t this a thing? A single map view that shows where all of my photos were taken. Nearly every other photo service I’ve used has something like this. Flickr has had it since the dawn of man. It seems likely that this was a conscious omission by the Apple team. They must not find this sort of feature valuable because they have all of the pieces (Apple Maps is built into both iOS and OS X pretty deeply at this point).

Better Library exporting

Exporting from Photos is terrible. Apple’s history of photo library management, which is decades and decades of hard-learned lessons, should tell them that making the library exportable to some open standard is a huge win for customers. Apple’s mission over the last few years has been beaten into our brains … they care about us. They say they do. They are willing to fight the Supreme Court to protect the information I create with their devices… are they not willing to allow me to own that data in a way that I can use it anywhere on anything and move at any time?

Moving to Photos was painful. Moving away shouldn’t be.

I’m very interested to see what this year’s WWDC brings to this entire experience. Will every single interaction with the platform improve? Will Apple continue to invest in making this experience great? I really, really hope so. And if they do, I hope a few of the things I’ve mentioned here are addressed.

Overall though, now that my library is available on all devices, I’m happy with how it works. I can make do with what they’ve provided. It is well worth the money too. If you’re debating using iCloud Photo Library I highly recommend it.

 

Further iCloud Photo Library observations

On March 29th I began syncing to iCloud Photo Library using Photos on OS X. Today, over a month later, I’m just over halfway done. For context, you may want to read Photo stats and observations, and A few iCloud Photo Library observations.

As with those last two posts I’m going to provide a laundry list of observations that I’ve made. In no particular order:

  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that Apple throttles photo syncing. Telling Photos to sync takes a random amount of time to begin, suggesting that Apple has some queue in place. Also, I physically drove my external hard drive to a location with 4x the Internet connection that I have at home and I was able to upload roughly the same amount of data over the same period of time. Though, at that location the connection was still usable while syncing and at home it is not.
  • Library metadata is not kept up-to-date with every sync. For instance, I’ve begun tagging my photo library and on my Mac the keyword “kayaking” has hundreds more results than on my iOS devices even though those photos are already synced to iCloud Photo Library. I’m hoping that the metadata gets synced at the tail end.
  • During this month-long sync routine I’ve taken 445 photos/videos (not including Eliza’s hundreds of photos). As I take photos they are synced across my iOS devices but are not synced to Photos on Mac. So I have to manually import new photos/videos into Photos myself. I’m guessing this process will work (a new photo should show up everywhere automatically according to what I’ve read) once the entire library has been synced. In fact, Ben Brooks says it is fast.
  • Looking at my “Years” view on iOS I see a bunch of blank thumbnails unless I tap into each respective section over and over and over. Apple is likely trying to conserve as much space as they can by only loading thumbnails as you need them… but it is annoying. Tap tap tap tap.
  • There is no such thing as a photo on my phone anymore. Once my library has gotten to a specific size, I think, all photos are now going to iCloud Photo Library once I’m on wifi. So even recent shots need to “download” from the cloud. Since I typically post photos that I’ve taken within the last few weeks, it’d be nice if iOS kept 1,000 or so photos fully loaded.
  • Prior to syncing all of these photos to my iOS devices using Photos was lightning fast. Now, with  just about 45,000 photos/videos on all devices synced so far, everything to do with photos feels slower.

I’m looking forward to this process being over with. I have about 50GB still to go. On average I’m able to sync about 12GB a night. So perhaps in a week or two I’ll be completely done and I can really see how great this service will be.

One last observation: If I wasn’t a geek I wonder if I would ever go through this. My wife, as an example, can’t stand that our connection is down while this process is happening. I’m a little more understanding because, while I think Apple could prevent the issue, I understand it takes a lot of connection to sync so many photos. I’m willing to bet only the geekiest of the geekiest people would ever go through the relative pain I have to get this library synced. Google Photos, Flickr, and Picture Life didn’t have this issue.

A few iCloud Photo Library observations

Somewhat related: Photo stats and observations.

I began the switch to iCloud Photo Library a few days ago and so far it has been a mixed experience. Since weaving a good narrative is not in my wheelhouse, here is a laundry list of observations that I’ve made over the last few days.

  • iCloud Photo Library brings the Internet crashing down. While syncing my library using the Internet for anything else is impossible. And, last night, it brought my Airport Extreme down. Actually down. No devices were connected to it when I woke up this morning. Something that has only happened once or twice since owning the device. I can only imagine this is a bug of some sort that I’ve found.
  • After tens-of-hours (since I let Photos sync at night only) I’ve only managed to back up less than 15GB out of 220GB. I think I will call Apple Support today, not because I think they can help me fix it, but because I hope they will write down the issue and perhaps issue a patch in the future.
  • Photo editing on any device and then the edits appearing on all devices is a miracle of modern technology. For the last several years I’ve been editing exclusively on my iPhone or iPad since doing so was cumbersome on the Mac. Photos for OS X doesn’t have every editing feature Photos for iOS does but I hope these will continue to improve. But nothing beats editing a photo full-screen on a 27-inch display and I haven’t been able to do this in years.
  • One of my biggest hangups with Picturelife was the speed of perusing my library or finding a specific photo. It didn’t matter if I was using the web site or the mobile apps. It was impossibly slow. Photos on iOS is much, much faster. I don’t think this is a fair comparison just yet (since I only have ~5,000 images on iCloud Photo Library so far) but I hope Photos is still snappy with 65,000 photos.
  • Searching is pretty great on Photos for iOS. I can type in a location, name, date, and they all return results. And very quickly. Imagine being in a conversation at a bar with friends and they mention a trip you took 4 years ago and how awesome this one night was. Two or three taps and you’re there. Something that should be possible on Picturelife but in practice wasn’t.
  • Photos including “Faces” is great. Like I said in my previous post, I really hope they make facial recognition 10 times better in an update (because it is very poor now compared to say Google Photos). Picturelife didn’t have facial recognition at all though so I’ll take what I can get. Even if I have to do it manually.
  • Having a copy of all of the originals in the cloud gives a lot of peace of mind. But, even more so, having an application on my desktop which stores the originals on an external drive makes accessing them very quick and painless. Both Picturelife and Google Photos merely piggyback on top of Photos and so would never be able to provide that complete seamless experience.

As you can see, so far it has been a mixed bag. Uploading has been horrendous. Impossible even. Yet, every other part of the experience has been pretty great. Sometime in the near future I’d like to write up specific comparisons between Picturelife, iCloud Photo Library, and Google Photos since I’ve tried all three.

Photo stats and observations

As I’ve been moving my photos from Picturelife into Photos for OS X over the passed two weeks I’ve run across some interesting observations so I thought I’d jot them down.

Here are some statistics in no particular order:

  • We take a lot of photos in October, August, and June. This is because we generally vacation during those months.
  • You’ll notice October 2011 was a boon for our photo library — this was the month we went to Ireland.
  • Our monthly average of photos has crept slowly up and to the right as the cameras in our phones have improved. We’ve gone from 228 photos per month (ppm) in 2007 to 826ppm in 2015.
  • Two years out of these 10 we spiked passed 10,000 photos for the year. I feel like we’ll break 10,000 photos each year from here on out.
  • In June 2007, when the iPhone debuted, the number of photos we took per month multiplied by 4 (and we got our iPhones on the 29th of the month).
  • The size of our library on Picturelife was 185GB. In Photos it weighs in at nearly 230GB. I’m assuming this has something to do with the thumbnails that Photos creates.
  • In 2007 an average month’s worth of photos weighed around 35MB. In 2015, 3.5GB (including videos).

And now some observations about Photos for OS X (keep in mind, I’m running Photos off of an USB3 external HD):

  • The app started slowing down when I hit 30,000 photos or so. But it never got too much slower in use. Just in start up time.
  • From a cold start the app takes 25 full seconds to launch. But once open it is fairly usable.
  • I feel like the only way for me to get any performance back my next computer will need to have at least 1TB internal SSD.
  • After using Photos for OS X and realizing you can maintain multiple libraries with it… it would likely make a great application for designers to store design resources in a separate file.
  • The app handles video far, far better than iPhoto ever did.
  • The Photos for OS X Keyword Manager is like a relic from a bygone era. But pretty useful.
  • Oddly the app can’t search GoPro photos or videos by date from the main search field. If I search “October 2015” I’ll see all photos/videos except the ones shot by GoPro. However, if I create a Smart Album by the same date range they all appear. This is super frustrating and I haven’t found a fix yet.
  • I’d like a feature that would help me find possible duplicates based on filename, date taken, and the contents of the file. Photos does a great job preventing duplicates but I was able to find a few using my 2010 technique.
  • I’d also like a way to search the entire library for blurry photos.
  • My solution for finding all photos created by Instagram was a Smart Album that searched both the Text and Description for the word Instagram. It found 2,600+ photos. It seems pretty close. Apple seems to be cheating by providing a “Panoramas” Smart Album based on aspect ratio and yet does not offer that as an option to us users. If I had that I’d likely be able to make it even more accurate.
  • I’m still trying to find a way to create a Panoselfie Smart Album. But so far I’ve been unsuccessful. It should be easy, two rules; 1. Is panorama. 2. Face contains Colin Devroe.
  • Photos has something called a “System Photo Library (SPL)” and that is kept on my local computer. I could make the one on my external HD the SPL but it is used by applications like Pages, Keynote, etc. and I do not always have this external drive with me. It contains things like My Photostream and a few thousand other photos. I don’t know what to do with it. I cannot import from it to the other library without losing all EXIF. This is mind boggling. Even Picturelife retained the EXIF information. Why wouldn’t one Photos for OS X library be able to be imported into another?
  • The “Selfies” Smart Album provided aren’t photos of you but are rather photos people took with the front-facing camera and have a face in them. To create a true “selfies” smart album you’ll need a ton of rules; 1. Face contains Your Name. 2. Lens equals ANY of the front-facing camera models you’ve ever had. That will get you close. But it is far from perfect because you’ve likely taken selfies with the back camera too or with GoPro or point-and-shoots.

I’m just getting started with Photos. I plan on really digging in and making the best of this large library that I have. I haven’t even scratched the surface of photo editing since all of my editing over the last few years has been on my iPad or iPhone.