Bring Yourself Recurring Joy with Apple’s New Lock Screen Photo Shuffle

Originally published at: Bring Yourself Recurring Joy with Apple’s New Lock Screen Photo Shuffle - TidBITS

Technology has a hard time delivering happiness. Apple has cracked the code with how it uses machine learning to populate the Lock Screen Photo Shuffle feature and Featured Photos widget with images you’ll like.

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OT, but I’d have even more joy if they applied this marvellous code to in order to assign album cover art properly.


So that was pretty cool. But I can’t add it to my existing lock screen, I have to set a new one up all over again? I also can’t seem to change the category once I have it set up.


Where does one find the Featured Photos album? Under the For You section of Photos (iOS 16), I find a bunch of Memories that Apple has curated, and below that, the Shared with You gallery. But no sign of my Featured Photos.
Is there an option hidden away somewhere that needs to be enabled?

Look at the bottom of this page, see if yours is turned off.


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Thanks for this tip, Glenn!

Thanks for posting!
That option (Settings/Photos/Show Featured Content) was already turned on. Hence, my iPhone was displaying some Memories.

After spending some time with Ms. Google, I found a ‘fix’:

  • turn off the Show Featured Content switch in Settings
  • force quit the Photos app
  • return to Settings, and re-enable Show Featured Content
  • launch Photos
  • open the For You page
  • with Photos open, connect iPhone to power and leave it overnight.

When I checked the iPhone this am, the Featured Photos section had appeared!
Apple’s selection of pictures that it thinks are worthy of being featured is a bit odd. Perhaps it will get updated overnight tonight, or on a schedule of Apple’s choosing…

Another oddity I’ve found is a bug in the Shuffle Categories pane (used to manage what photos are displayed on the lock screen). It has 4 select buttons: People, Pets, Nature, and Cities. The People option lets one choose which people will be included. Alas, it only offers two (of the seven) people that the Photos app has found and named.

You’re welcome! Mine was also on and I occasionally watch the “On This Day” slideshow that Apple offers me.

I am only given the choice of “Nature”. I don’t have many people pix but I have probably equal amounts of my cats and nature. I think I will try your steps today to see if I get new choices. For the most part what they’ve selected in my Nature slideshow is fine but it’s only about 15 pix.

Actually, I don’t have a “For you” section and I know I watched one a few weeks ago as it was on a trip I took a year prior. I wonder if the upgrade to iOS 16 wiped some of it out on mine.


These new photo capabilities in iOS are still a bit fuzzy (pun intended…).
I’ve never seen an “On This Day” slideshow, even though I have many thousands of photos in the Camera Roll, going back many years.

Quite odd that you are only given the choice of “Nature” in the Shuffle Categories selection box. I get People, Pets, Nature, and Cities. As mentioned before, the People option only offers two of the seven people that the Photos app has found and categorized. I’ve poked around a bit (designated some of the other people as Favorites, power-cycled the iPhone, force-quit Photos, created yet another custom lock screen, etc). So far, I’ve not been able to coerce iOS to show any of the other people in the lock screen rotation.

However, Glenn’s article says “With People, you’re presented with a subset of your People album and can select the people you want to see regularly”. So perhaps my Photo Shuffle feature is working as designed, only showing a subset (2) of the 7 people in my People album.

In any event, this enhancement to iOS16 does bring some joy to my iPhone experience – thanks to Glenn for publishing the article.

I wish I could remember if I had other choices before. If I try to setup a new one, Nature is checked off under the deck of pix and on the bottom is gives me a choice of Featured or Manual

If I select manual, I again am given Featured or Nature. Featured shows 23 pix and Nature shows 26. Except for the extra 3 I think they are all the same - all nature shots.

The featured section in Photos has completely different ones and only one is Nature.

I have over 7000 pix on the phone. I read posts that said it took days for that many to process. It’s like my processing never went through.


I followed all the steps and still have the same handful of pix. I’m not resetting the phone to see if that works, so I guess this is what I’ve got until Apple maybe changes things in another update!


Sometimes I get a couple of photos, like the algorithm gives up and says, “Meh, here you go.” And a few times I’ve gotten the same handful of photos. But not every time. I wonder if there’s background processing that’s stuck.

This morning I removed a few pix I didn’t want to see. Maybe that will kick something off (but not yet). I even did a hard restart (which is kind of convoluted on the 13 Mini)


Glenn, I have avoided downloading IOS 16 on my IPhone 12 Mini. I have read so many complaints about the update. Is it safe to do it now?

Gosh, I’ve been running it since summer on a test phone and since a few weeks before release on my day-to-day phone. I installed it on an iPad mini in beta and then upgraded to iPadOS 16.1. I may be out of the loop, but I haven’t heard widespread problems? I am not sure I am informed enough!

I’ve experienced no particular problems with iOS 16, and we’re already several updates into the cycle, so if you’re looking to try the new Lock Screen capability, I see no reason to wait longer. Some people seem perturbed about the size of the clock, but others (including me) prefer it larger.

I started with iOS 16 when it was first released, and I’m up to 16.1.1. No problems so far.
And I’ll probably get started on the Lock Screen after the holiday weekend.

One thing I wanted to ask - is this supposed to work in sync with iCloud? I don’t use iCloud for my photos and wonder if that could be my issue.


For me, it’s not the size of the clock, but the default thickness of the digits. I’ve picked the thinnest version given, but I would like a greater range of choices than the 8 allowed.

Of course, this situation is much better than iPadOS where the same bold version of the font is used, but, because there are no Lock Screen choices available beyond changing the wallpaper, you are stuck with the default.

It’s not inconceivable, though Apple usually says when something like that is required. What iPhone model are you using, and when did you upgrade to iOS 16? On Tonya’s third-generation iPhone SE, which has less processing power than my iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro, it took a lot longer—multiple days—to show any suggestions for Photo Shuffle. We haven’t previously ever used Memories or Featured Photos in Photos, so we didn’t notice any issues there.

One thing to point out for everyone who’s just starting with these features. Don’t expect it to be predictable. It’s a black box algorithm, and apart from telling it not to use a particular photo, there’s no way to know why it selects some photos and not others. Plus, the selection changes over time, so even if you’ve looked at all the featured photos at one point, you may still see new photos showing up later.