If you use iCloud Photo Library and make a point of labeling your photos and videos, you surely have noticed the new “captions” feature in Photos on iOS 14.
The Photo Library on your Mac has, for a long time, had several ways to add textual metadata to your photos:
- the Title
- the Description
- the filename, which is a more primitive approach, but can be helpful especially when the files were imported from an external source, in which case the previous 3 methods don’t exist.
Up until iOS 14, none of these 4 text fields were visible on iOS 14 (although some were still searchable). You also could not modify any of these on iOS. So if you just took a photo and wanted to tag it as “James Olson Cedartop Guitar”, for example, you couldn’t do it until you got home to your Mac, at which point you may have forgotten what you were looking at (that’s my dream guitar, btw, if anyone’s buying. About $30K these days.)
Well, now you can do it on your iPhone using the new Captions feature.
The trick here is to know that Captions on iOS 14 syncs to the traditional Description field on Photos on your Mac. I don’t have Big Sur yet (I’m scared it will corrupt my email or photo library until it’s tested better); but it would make sense if they made things consistent by renaming Description in Photos to “Caption”. Hopefully that will happen.
But it still leaves the matter open that iOS users don’t have access to viewing or modifying the Title or Keywords fields.
This does raise the valid point that it’s never been particularly clear when to use Title vs. Description (now Caption). They are both basically equivalent, the latter ostensibly being designed for something more verbose, and possibly designed to map to a printable template for a photo album more attractively. But my guess is that Apple realizes that this is too confusing for mobile users, so they are coalescing the two down to one in that context.
I might be okay with that, although it does raise the question of how to view/change the years of Titles that already exist in my library. But more importantly, I still need access to Keywords. Those are essential for tagging and searching. And frankly, they are more mobile-friendly because they are normally just selected from a list of ones you have previously created (less typing / auto-complete).
So, Captions seems half-baked. It will be useful in a pinch. But it leaves lots of issues unaddressed.
Have any of you guys run into these issues? What ideas do you have?