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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

Hands on with Photos for Mac 1.1

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


Due as a part of El Capitan this fall, and available right now as a public beta is the first major update to Photos for Mac, the replacement for iPhoto and Aperture that Apple launched earlier this year.

Here are the major additions you can expect to see in Photos when 1.1 arrives this fall (or when you install the public beta, depending on your enthusiasm):

Geotagging. Yes, in Photos 1.1 you can add a location to an image or batch of images that weren’t geotagged, as well as edit the location of data of already-geotagged images. To do this, you open the Inspector window. A not-yet-geotagged image will offer a section of the window labeled Assign a Location. Clicking in this area will let you enter a street address or a name of a point of interest, and Photos will search Apple’s Maps database. If that location isn’t good enough for you, you can always click on the pin and drag it around the map, placing it wherever you like.

For photos that have already been geotagged, you can click on the location label above the map in order to search for a new location, or just click on the pin and drag it to a new location. This behavior works whether you’ve got one item selected, or many.

Batch titling. If you want to name a whole bunch of images in one go, you can do that, too. Just select a bunch of images and, again from the Inspector window, click in the Add a Title field and add your title. (There doesn’t appear to be a way to apply something like a unique serial number (i.e., Photo 1 followed by Photo 2) in a batch.)

Album sorting. In the first release of Photos, albums could be sorted in one way: by date, with the oldest on top. In the Photos 1.1 public beta, you can now sort photo albums by date with either the oldest or newest on top, or alternatively you can sort the photos by title. Apple says other sorting options may arrive before Photos 1.1 ships, but I’m not sure what they might be.

Editing extensions. Photos will support image-editing extensions written by third-party developers. Like the built-in editing tools, you can actually stack multiple extensions while editing a photo, so you can combine third-party editing extensions with Apple’s own tools to get exactly the image that you want to see.

Apple says editing extensions will be available from the Mac App store, either bundled with an existing app or distributed as standalone extensions. I haven’t had a chance to try any editing extensions out, unfortunately, so I can’t report more about this feature yet.

Other stuff. Apple says you’ll be able to batch organize Faces, letting you drag multiple photos onto a Face to assign them to that person, but I couldn’t make that work in this beta. Apple also says that large libraries can launch up to 40 percent faster than in Photos 1.0, something I won’t be able to verify until I upgrade one of my primary photo libraries to the public beta.

[Want to learn more about Photos for Mac? Buy my book, “Photos for Mac: A Take Control Crash Course”. And yes, I plan on updating it when Photos 1.1 gets closer to shipping.]

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