First Impressions of Photos for OS X: 'Vast Improvement' Over iPhoto

Following the release of the first OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 beta to developers this afternoon, the embargo has lifted for media outlets to publish their first impressions and hands-on reviews of the all-new Photos for OS X app. Below is a roundup of some of the more interesting comments and opinions about Photos for OS X, which combines iPhoto and Aperture into one for OS X Yosemite.

Photos for OS X
The Wall Street Journal describes Photo for OS X as a significant improvement for users in the Apple ecosystem, adding that the app is less confusing to use than iPhoto thanks to an improved iCloud-based approach. It also found Photos for OS X to have snappier performance than iPhoto based on the Apple-provided demo notebook.

"If you choose to turn it on, all of your Apple devices feed all their full-resolution photos into iCloud, making them all available over the Internet to the Photos apps on all your Apple devices. [...] You can see the advantage to all this when you edit photos. With iCloud, any change you make on one device will show up moments later everywhere else."

Wired was also impressed with Photos for OS X, describing the software as a "vast improvement" over iPhoto and praising its new built-in photo editing tools. It believes that, while some professionals might opt for Adobe Lightroom and other tools, Photos for OS X is an ideal photo management and editing solution for most Mac users.

"Advanced users, particularly those operating on 5K iMacs or Mac Pros, may be happier eventually switching to Adobe Lightroom—though most of them probably have done so already. But for most of us, particularly recent Mac converts and people who may not fancy themselves serious photographers, Photos is a welcomely humble way to approach image editing."

icloud_photo_library_large
Even further praise of Photos for OS X was provided by Re/code, which described the software as a "huge improvement" over iPhoto with easy-to-use editing tools and seamless iCloud syncing. Its hands-on impressions found Photos for OS X to be lacking some advanced editing tools found in Aperture, however, noting that some users might opt for professional software.

"While Photos offers some advanced settings like white balance and level, it lacks some of the professional-level tools found in Aperture. For example, it doesn’t have brushable or curve adjustments and doesn’t support splitting and merging libraries. And you can’t add custom metadata fields in the app."

The Verge went hands on with Photos for OS X and walked away impressed, noting that it handles large photo libraries much better alongside more powerful photo editing, sharing and syncing options. As with other publications, it found Photos for OS X to be more suitable for beginners than professionals.

"iPhoto was never one of Apple’s most beloved products. Every year, it seemed slower and less connected to the phone — the place where most photos are taken. Photos for OS X does a lot of things right, but mostly it’s just fast and tightly integrated with your other devices. It feels like a big step forward, even if feels overdue."


Yahoo Tech claims that much of Photos for OS X will be a familiar experience for most Mac users, noting that power users will be impressed with the several photo parameters that can be adjusted. The review finds that Photos for OS X gives up some iPhoto features, however, including flags, star ratings, events, round-trip editing in other apps and sorting albums by keyword, title and rating. Many professional options from Aperture are also missing.

"If you’re happy with iPhoto and Aperture now, you should feel no hurry to switch over when Photos comes out this spring (as part of the free Yosemite 10.10.3 update), unless you want that iCloud Photo Library feature. Which would be understandable. [...] Someday, yes, there will be some OS X version that can’t run today’s iPhoto and Aperture at all. But that’s years away. In those years, Apple has plenty of time to bring Photos’ feature list up to code, and you can freely keep using iPhoto and/or Aperture and Photos, side-by-side on the same Mac."

Overall, Photos for OS X appears to be a significant improvement for users migrating from iPhoto, but a step down in functionality for those coming from Aperture. A number of other publications have shared first impressions and hands-on reviews, including CNET, Engadget, Macworld, Mashable and SlashGear. Photos for OS X will be available as a public beta soon ahead of a Spring launch as a free update on OS X Yosemite.

Top Rated Comments

ipedro Avatar
81 months ago
Some early incorrect information that were deal breakers for Photos.app as a pro editing tool are now being cleared up.

- Photos.app supports multiple libraries so you can separate your personal photos from your work photos. You can choose to have one library sync with iCloud while others remain local. This is very important. You may not want your hundreds of GB of work photos uploading to iCloud while you might want to enjoy that feature for your personal photos taken on your iPhone.



- You can store your library anywhere you want, including an external drive. You can set one of your libraries to become the master system library.



- Referenced photos are supported so you can keep a lean library on your scratch disk while keeping the master images on an external drive. This also allows you to organize your photos in a folder hierarchy in the Finder.

- There are Smart Folders. This in tandem with keywords can be a powerful organizing tool. For example, rather than create projects, you can simply keyword a project's client, type (ie wedding or studio), venue, etc. Then you can group all your photos from one client or all your wedding shots into one easily browsable album that you can then search in just like in Aperture.

- There's a side bar and you can create folders of albums, essentially replicating Aperture Projects.

Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThunderSkunk Avatar
81 months ago
Lightroom & CaptureOne kick Apertures butt, so Apple abandons the Pro market completely, ignores even the Prosumer market, and creates an app for teenagers posting selfies on Facebook.

And then charges a subscription fee to use it...

okidoki then.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
newagemac Avatar
81 months ago
Absolutely loving the new Photos situation with Apple devices! The best way to explain it is it's like IMAP for photos.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zorinlynx Avatar
81 months ago
Maybe this is the case. However, from the outset this software seems highly dependent on iCloud for full functionality.

The basic truth is that I do not trust iCloud with my photos. Music? Sure. Phone contacts, syncing app preferences? Why not. But my photos?

This is the most precious data I have. Nothing else even comes close. My music collection is replaceable. Photos are not.

Without this trust, this software becomes nearly useless. I can use it for "messing around" but not to seriously store my photos. The approach seems to be putting the "master copy" on iCloud. NO WAY! The master copy needs to be on the computer. Every other copy should be a backup of it.

That's the fundamental problem for me, and I'm sure many others. We're not willing to risk our photos; they are too precious. If I had to lose ALL my personal data except ONE kind, I'd pick photos to be that exception.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is a first version of Photos for OS X (as well as iOS and iCloud.com). Like the recent version of iWorks, Apple can now focus on bringing more feature updates over time to iCloud Photo Library, iCloud.com, Photos for Mac, and for iOS at the same time.

It may be barebone for now but there is hope that it'll get more useful as Apple doesn't have to focus on the old codebase of Aperture and iPhotos.

Hopefully, with extensions for Photos, it could get more powerful as well. Although, I might have mis-read this and Apple may have scrapped this support. There were rumors that Photos will support extensions from other apps to make it more useful. I don't see much news about it here.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tarasis Avatar
81 months ago
I'm hoping this will finally have some native duplicate detection rather than needing third party apps.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mikemch16 Avatar
81 months ago
What about Faces? I know some folks, including myself, who have put a decent amount of time in getting face tagging to be accurate, and would hate for that feature to go away - especially thinking about facebook integration.

Faces is still an option in Photos.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
pixel watch prosser leak

Google Pixel Watch Allegedly Leaks with Circular Design, Rumored to Launch in October

Monday April 12, 2021 2:49 am PDT by
Renders of Google's first smartwatch, codenamed "Rohan," have been shared by Jon Prosser, showing that Google plans to adopt a circular design for its flagship wearable watch. Prosser shared the renders in an episode of his YouTube show "Front Page Tech," in which he claims they were made based on marketing material he had seen from a source within Google. The renders show that the Pixel...
Google maps feaure green

Google Maps App for iOS Finally Updated After Four Months

Monday April 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Following the completed rollout of App Privacy labels for its App Store apps, Google today updated the Google Maps app for the first time in four months. Apple in December began requiring all new app submissions and app updates to include App Privacy labels, detailing the data that is collected by the app so consumers know what they're sharing. Google didn't begin implementing App Privacy ...
AppleTV and HomePod Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on New Apple TV With Integrated HomePod Speaker and FaceTime Camera

Monday April 12, 2021 3:32 am PDT by
Apple is working on a combined Apple TV with HomePod speaker that has a camera for video calls through a connected television set, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. From the report: The company is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions,...
samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
epic iap feature 3

Tim Cook Says App Store Would Become a 'Flea Market' if Third-Party Payment Systems Were Allowed

Monday April 12, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
In a recent interview with the Toronto Star, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about a wide variety of topics, ranging from App Tracking Transparency to Apple's ongoing legal battle over App Store policies with Fortnite creator Epic Games. Notably, Cook said that Epic Games' desire for Apple to let developers offer their own payment systems in apps "would make the App Store a flea market":At the...
tim cook toronto star

Tim Cook Says Apple is 'Not Against Digital Advertising' Ahead of iOS 14.5 Launch With App Tracking Transparency

Monday April 12, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5, Apple will be requiring apps to receive a user's permission to track their activity for targeted advertising purposes, as part of a privacy measure known as App Tracking Transparency. Ahead of App Tracking Transparency being enforced, Apple CEO Tim Cook has participated in a privacy-focused interview with the Toronto Star, telling the...
a13 bionic mockup

Apple Made Sudden Security Changes to its Chips in Fall 2020

Monday April 12, 2021 8:15 am PDT by
Apple made unusual mid-production hardware changes to the A12, A13, and S5 processors in its devices in the fall of 2020 to update the Secure Storage Component, according to Apple Support documents. According to an Apple Support page, spotted by Twitter user Andrew Pantyukhin, Apple changed the Secure Enclave in a number of products in the fall of 2020:Note: A12, A13, S4, and S5 products...
HomePod G4 Feature

Bloomberg: Future HomePod May Feature iPad Connected Via Robotic Arm to Track Users Around The Room During FaceTime Calls

Monday April 12, 2021 3:50 am PDT by
In a report outlining a possible Apple TV with a combined HomePod and camera, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that Apple is exploring a future high-end HomePod speaker that could include an iPad connected via a robotic arm that tracks and follows users around a room. From the report: The Cupertino, California-based technology giant, is also mulling the launch of a high-end speaker with a touch ...