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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

Things you should know about Photos for Mac

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.


With the release of OS X 10.10.3 today, Photos for Mac is available to the general public. I’ve been using it from the first day it was released as a developer beta because I’m writing an ebook about it. And so I’ve learned a lot about it.

If you’re used to iPhoto, Photos won’t be that jarring. Photos can import your iPhoto library and retains most, but not all, of the features of iPhoto. Star ratings have been demoted to keyword status, flagged items are now Favorites, and Events are now just another kind of photo album. But with the optional sidebar displayed in Photos, you’d think you were using a slick new version of iPhoto.

Hard-core Aperture users will probably be disappointed. Photos is much more iPhoto than Aperture. If you use Aperture because it’s more than iPhoto, but haven’t availed yourself of most of Aperture’s features, you may find Photos sufficient. But if you rely on one of the many Aperture features Photos doesn’t support, be prepared for disappointment.

You should read my Photos FAQ, which I wrote back in February and just updated.

If you’re wondering about how importing libraries from iPhoto and Aperture works, check out my story about how Photos accomplishes that task.

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