The Photos app and iCloud Photo Library change how we manage our photos between mobile devices and computers. With Apple’s new way of doing things, a variety of previous problems have been solved, and life just got a whole lot easier.
1. No more multiple copies to deal with.
With the previous process using Photo Stream, original photos were kept in the Camera Roll on the device used to take the photo. A copy was moved into the Photo Stream, circulating it to all devices logged into your iCloud account. If Photo Stream was turned on in iPhoto on your Mac with Auto Import to Library selected in the Preferences, a third copy was imported into your iPhoto Library. With the iCloud Photo Library, there is no more Camera Roll or Photo Stream, and therefore no more multiple copies.
2. You can delete bad pictures from any device.
Now that you don’t have three copies floating around, getting rid of bad photos has becomes much easier. If you delete photos from any one of your devices utilizing the iCloud Photo Library, they are removed from all libraries (well, not immediately… they are actually temporarily stored in the Recently Deleted folder on your iPhone or iPad for 40 days. In OS X, look in the File menu for Show Recently Deleted). No more having to delete from the Camera Roll, the Photo Stream, and the iPhoto Library!
3. You can create and manage albums on any device.
One ongoing source of confusion in the iPhoto app on iPads and iPhones was Albums. There were actually two kinds of albums, but they were indistinguishable.
The first kind of album were those you had synced from iPhoto on your Mac using iTunes. There was no way to remove these albums or images without reconnecting the device to the exact same Mac with the same iTunes and the same iPhoto Library. This made them nearly indestructible, and a headache for a lot of iDevice users.
Good news! When you turn on iCloud Photo Library on your iPhone or iPad, the Photos app will prompt you for approval and then remove these leftover albums and photos. Just make sure you still have the originals in an iPhoto Library somewhere!
The second kind of album were albums you had created and populated directly on the iPad or iPhone. I have several clients who had spent hours organizing their photos, only to run out of space on the mobile device. When they cleared the Camera Roll by importing it into iPhoto and deleting the originals, the photos were removed from the albums. This left people with a list of empty albums, and their organization wasn’t reflected in iPhoto.
Good news! With iCloud Photo Library enabled, there is only one kind of album, and it syncs between all of your devices. So you can create albums on any device, and add photos to albums from any device. There’s no need to use iTunes as a conduit anymore!
With these three major improvements to how we manage our photos, I think Apple has hit a home run with the new iCloud Photo Library. The level of convenience is so high, I may not even mind having to pay for extra iCloud Storage as my Photos library grows.
Look for our next post concerning this exact topic, with recommendations on how to leverage multiple Photos Libraries and avoid having to use more iCloud Storage over time.