Inside iOS 12: Photos Encourages More Engagement

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Are you overwhelmed by the hundreds or thousands of photos you’ve taken with your iPhone, or imported into your iPad? Apple has several ideas for how the Photos app in iOS 12 can help, starting with new features that encourage you to revisit your images, share them with friends in a new way, and edit raw files natively on some devices.

The only thing I ever wanted in Photos is the ability to Move(!) photos from the main album to other albums.

The editing is nice though. I almost always straighten and crop photos I share.

Continuing Jeff’s RANT,
Why is syncing Shared Albums from iOS Photos to macOS Photos so problematic? I find that more often than not, additions made to a shared album on my iPhone fail to appear in the corresponding album on MacBook Pro. I’ve tried all the ‘tricks’ in the article, and then some: giving the MBP lots of time (hours, days…), making sure it’s plugged in, quitting/relaunching Photos, rebooting the MBP. Nothing seems to reliably trigger a sync from iCloud to macOS Photo. I haven’t been able to find a way to manually force the MBP to resync to iCloud. As Jeff points out, Photos is a black box with little ability for users to control.

One trick I have found that generally works is to add a photo to a different shared album on the Mac. That change (usually) gets synced quickly to the iPhone’s shared album, and then seems to trigger the syncing of the changes that had been made to the shared album on the iPhone back to the Mac.

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What’s the reasoning behind moving photos to albums out of the main library?

I’m not interested in sharing. Occasionally, I will send an individual pic to my wife. As long as I have access to the file I can send that as an email attachment just fine.

I find it quite annoying how Apple doesn’t allow me to deselect useless (to me) categories like selfies or people. iTunes lets me choose which type of media gets displayed. I’m baffled why I cannot do that with Photos on my iPhone (with its much more limited scree space).

But what really bugs me is how the simplest approach to photos just doesn’t work reliably on both iOS and Photos on macOS. By this I mean: take a shot, move to an album, done. Just like music tracks and playlists in iTunes. I realize this could be related to my preference for the simple Photo Stream over the costly iCloud Photo Sharing. But here’s my bottom line: I already paid Apple through the nose for more iPhone memory, I’m not going to pay them again for overly expensive cloud storage. IMHO as long as Apple offers Photo Stream, I expect them to make it work. Why I cannot just drag photos from my camera roll to an album and have that album show up on my Mac and my iPhone is beyond me (I can attempt to do it on the phone, but it will never sync back to my Mac). Why I have to do this manually on Photos via import and then re-sync my iPhone to get it to show up on both devices is also beyond me. How convoluted and overly complicated is that?

Why there’s tweaking of all kinds of fancy stuff, but the simplest basic workflow can’t be made to “just work” is to me a sign of misguided priorities at headquarters.

Faster scrolling/scanning of the now smaller main album for other photos. Storing them by topic in a folder on my Mac. (I read your book on photos, but decided to stay old school. I sort my photos into folders by topic. It has met our needs for 20+ years. They all get backed up with the methods I have used since the 80s.)

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I feel like I had my say in the article, and yet I just have to extend my rant. Because right now I’m staring at Photos on the Mac (under Mojave), psychically willing it to sync with iCloud so that a large batch of photos captured with the iPhone Xs will appear on my Mac.

I know they’re in the cloud, because I see them on my iPad. But they haven’t synced to the Mac yet.

Okay, fine, I say to myself. I can work around that by using AirDrop to copy the photos from my iPhone to the Mac, where they appear in the Downloads folder. Not ideal, but I need them for an article assignment where I’d collect a bunch in the Finder to send to an editor anyway, so that’s ok. Except that anything that’s been edited on the iPhone, or shot in Portrait mode, appears on the Mac as a JPG, not HEIC.

I’ve tried deleting pics and taking new pics in the hopes that it would prime the electronic pump, but no. If I share using the new iCloud Link feature, I can load the link in Safari on the Mac and click Download. That gives me the option of adding directly to iCloud Photo Library, or download to disk. If I do the former, it’s there in iCloud, but since Photos for the Mac isn’t talking to iCloud, that’s a non-starter. If I do the latter, it’s saved as a JPEG. The two test photos I used for that just appeared on the iPad, but I have no way of knowing if that’s because I used the iCloud link or if it decided to finally sync. We’ll see if that results in duplicates.

Apple: Give me a SYNC NOW button!

Thank you for your time and patience for reading this far.


I couldn’t agree more.

I’d like that button also in iOS Calendar, iOS/macOS Notes, and for iCloud bookmarks/tabs. Apple gives us that ‘button’ in macOS Calendar, so obviously they can do it when thy want.

I realize Apple wants to believe that’s not necessary because their syncing works. And if it were that way it would be great. But in the real world their syncing is just not sufficiently stable/reliable. We need that refresh/sync button.

My iPhone has only about 350 photos on it; it has become my default camera. I regularly upload them to my iMac. After updating last week to iOS 12.0.1, the Photos application on the iMac (late 2013 running 10.13.6) wants to mark nearly all of them as “new” and import them again. Seems like what iOS 12 is really doing is encouraging web searches for workarounds for sloppy quality control. (That’s how I found this article!)

I also backup to my iMac but iTunes 12.8 was unable to see the iPhone after the “upgrade.” Found a workaround for that but this duplicate importing is annoying.

p.s. The workaround for iTunes was to download the dmg file and reinstall with the iPhone unlocked and connected to the USB port. Heavy sigh.

Another example of Apple mucking about with a side issue and not making its applications do the basics - like have a useful filing system; like a simple syncing process. Apple has never done much good with the cloud and so why would anybody want to store their photos in iCloud. Dropbox is more straightforward and trustworthy.
As for sharing, I cant be bothered trying to remember what to do and what not to do. Just use Facebook, tumbler or even email. Then you don’t have to go through the complications and rigmaroles that Apple does with its software.

iCloud Photo Library has its issues, like everything, but on the whole, it works well and solves the basic problem of having full read and write access to all your photos on all your Apple devices.

I’ve even had several occasions where disk corruption prevented me from backing up my local Photos library and I was forced to download my entire library from iCloud. That worked surprisingly well.

Apples problem is everybody has different desires on how to improve their products. I got zero issues with iCloud sync but I would dearly love more robust editing features in the Photos app. I would love some of the features in mobile Lightroom be available in Photos rather then having to leave the app. I also have zero interest in AI machine learning making my photos better I want more manual control not less.

I have used their sharing features on occasion and I think they work pretty well.

Michel Hedley

Another example of Apple mucking about with a side issue and not making its applications do the basics - like have a useful filing system; like a simple syncing process. Apple has never done much good with the cloud and so why would anybody want to store their photos in iCloud. Dropbox is more straightforward and trustworthy.

I’ve been using iCloud for photo storage for years, and I never considered Dropbox. I think the price is right and I don’t need 1T. I like Apple’s focus on security and if I remember correctly, iCloud keys are is encrypted on my Apple devices. When I upgraded from my elderly iPhone 4s last year, iCloud made transitioning a breeze; same-o when I needed to wipe it and restore. It also does a great job syncing all my stuff. For me, it’s a no brainer.

Beyond Jeff’s proposed Sync Now button (yes please) for the Mac version I find Photos works generally well for family and casual use. It’s no pro tool nor was it ever meant to be.

I don’t look to organise within it (favorites and shared folders suffices) but I am always amazed that Apple had the original and best DAM with Aperture and they never brought that over.

I use Capture One for pro use, an extraordinary tool.

When ios11 was introduced there was an option to save photos in a “more compatible” format - that is, JPG instead of HEIC. That option seems to have vanished in ios12. Now when I Airdrop to a Mac the photos are in HEIC format, which have to be converted to JPG before non-apple recipients can view them. I realise there are advantages to HEIC but I object to being forced to use it.
I would be delighted if I have overlooked something in ios12 Settings that fixes this but I don’t think that is the case.

You probably don’t have to convert it yourself: Using HEIF or HEVC media on Apple devices

It’s in the camera settings. Settings / Camera / Formats. Set it to Most Compatible. (I believe this would be for all photos going forward.)

I had to change this on my wife’s phone because her iMac is running El Capitan and the Photos app doesn’t recognize the new formats.

That Apple support page

states that the Format option is only available on iPhone 7 and above. This explains why my wife’s iPhone 7 has it (and transferring images from her phone caused difficulties) but my iPhone SE did not have the option, and does not use HEIC format.

I have found and changed the setting on the iPhone 7.

Thanks for the tip