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First look: Photos for OS X brings easier navigation and more powerful editing

Christopher Breen | Feb. 6, 2015
Last June, Apple announced that it would stop development of its Aperture and iPhoto apps and offer a single photo app in their place--Photos for OS X. Today, developers are getting their first glimpse of Photos, as it's bundled with the beta version of OS X 10.10.3.

Albums: As its name implies, click Albums and you find any albums you've created. But there's more to it than that. Unlike with iPhoto, Photos offers some preconfigured albums that appear in a row near the top of the window. These are All Photos, Faces, Last Import, Favorites, Panoramas, Videos, Slo-mo, Time-lapse, and Bursts — it's not difficult to see the strong connection between these libraries and the kind of images you can capture with your iOS device. Just double-click on an album to see its contents.

Projects: Should you have forgotten, projects are what Apple calls slideshows, books, cards, and calendars. When you create such a project you'll find it here. To work on an existing project, just double-click on it.

Import: Similar to iPhoto, when you connect a camera, iOS device, or media card/reader an Import button will appear. Click it and you can choose to import all new items on the connected device/media or just those images you select. If you have more than one device connected — your iPhone and an SD card, for example — you pick the source you desire from a pop-up menu and then import the images and/or compatible movies it contains.

If you prefer navigating your media as you did with iPhoto, that option exists in the form of Photos' Sidebar (which you invoke by choosing View > Show Sidebar or by pressing Command-Option-S). Do so and you see headings for Photos, Import, Albums (which contains the preconfigured albums I mentioned earlier as well as smart albums), and Projects. The navigation buttons in the toolbar disappear when you expose the sidebar.

Viewing images

To view a photo at a larger size, just double-click on it. When you do this you have the opportunity to mark it as a favorite (by clicking a Favorite button in the toolbar). Photos has dispensed with star ratings, however. Now you simply choose to mark an image as a favorite or not.

When viewing a single image you can get and edit information about it. Just click the Info button and a window appears where you can add a title, view some EXIF data, see the image's location if it has been geotagged, add keywords, and add the identity of faces within the image. You can select multiple images, press Command-I to produce the Info window, and add keywords that apply to each selected image.

You can also click a Plus button to add your image to an album, smart album, or project. And by clicking on the Share menu you can send that image elsewhere — to iCloud Photo Sharing, Mail, Messages, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, and other services available from within the Share Menu via Yosemite's Extensions system preference.

 

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