Master Apple’s Photos app in macOS, iOS, and iPadOS!

Take Control of

Third Edition
Jason Snell
(3 customer reviews)

This book introduces you to the many features of Apple’s Photos app on Mac, iPad, and iPhone, with advice on navigating the interface, editing your images, searching your library like a pro, syncing with iCloud Photos, sharing photos with others, and creating photo books.

All Take Control books are delivered in two ebook formats—PDF and EPUB—and can be read on nearly any device.


Get to know Apple’s Photos app and how best to use it to import, manage, edit, sync, and share your photos in Ventura and iOS 16/iPadOS 16! As the successor to Apple’s iPhoto and Aperture apps, Photos has a more refined interface and deeper connections to iCloud, and it runs faster. Following the expert advice of Jason Snell, publisher of Six Colors and former lead editor at Macworld, you’ll learn how to navigate Photos like a pro!

Also available: A bundle of Take Control of Your Digital Photos and Take Control of Photos for just $20.

In this book, you’ll learn how to:

  • Import photos from cameras, mobile devices, or memory cards
  • Navigate the Photos interface, including the sidebar and icons
  • View, edit, or disable Live Photos
  • Organize your library by using enhanced search features, adding metadata, building albums, and creating smart albums
  • Locate and remove duplicate photos
  • Search for text, faces, and other objects in photos
  • Edit your photos using quick fixes like cropping, applying filters, and fixing red-eye and rotation problems
  • Use advanced editing techniques within Photos and edit using external apps like Photoshop
  • Manage your photo collection using the Memories and People features, and get summary views
  • Sync and share individual photos and videos with iCloud
  • Use iCloud Shared Photos to share a separate library with up to five other people
  • Work with multiple Photos libraries
  • Show off your photos on an iPhone or iPad, including customizing your lock screen
  • Use the Camera app in iOS/iPadOS to capture photos and videos
  • View your photos on an Apple TV
  • Share your photos via social media, export them out of Photos, or turn them into slideshows
  • Create printed objects (such as books and calendars) from your photos using third-party services
Jason Snell

About Jason Snell

Jason Snell has been writing about Apple since it was doomed—1994, to be exact—and was the lead editor for Macworld for more than a decade. He also oversaw editorial operations for PCWorld, TechHive, and Greenbot. He currently writes about technology at, and hosts the Upgrade and Download podcasts at, and produces and hosts many other podcasts at

What’s New in Version 3.1

Version 3.0 of this book inadvertently omitted coverage of an important new feature in Photos: duplicate detection. It’s now explained in “Manage Duplicates.”

What's New in the Third Edition

In macOS 13 Ventura, iOS 16, and iPadOS 16, Photos has grown and changed. As a result, I’ve updated and expanded this book. Along with many smaller changes, this edition adds the following:

  • Coverage of shared photo libraries: Apple has introduced the capability to share a single library among up to six Apple IDs. There are a bunch of limitations and caveats, but it’s a great feature that solves the problem of families not being able to easily build a single reference point for all their photos. All the details are in “Use iCloud Shared Photos.”
  • Explanation of live search in Photos: In 2021 Apple introduced Live Text, a feature that let you search for text that was visible in photos themselves. Unfortunately, that feature wasn’t available within the Photos app itself! Fortunately, things have changed. You can now search for text directly within your photos, as covered in “Search for Text in Images.”
  • Expanded coverage of iPhone & iPad Photo Features: iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 include a bunch of new ways to display your photos on your iPhone, most notably on the new customizable lock screen. Those features are detailed in the chapter “Show off Photos in iOS and iPadOS.”
  • Camera app instructions: There are a bunch of new options in the Camera app that are directly connected to Photos, so many that I’ve finally given in and written a new chapter, “Use the Camera App,” to give an overview of what’s in the iOS/iPadOS Camera app.
  • Read Me First
    • Updates and More
    • What’s New in Version 3.1
    • What’s New in the Third Edition
  • Introduction
  • Photos Quick Start
  • Navigate the Photos Interface
    • Browse Your Library Through Time
    • Explore Beyond the Library View
    • Filter Your View
    • Hide Items from View
    • Delete Items
    • Use the Info Window
  • Work with a Single Item
    • Identify Objects in Your Images
    • Select Text in Images
    • Interact With Live Photos
  • Organize Your Items
    • Play Favorites
    • Make a Favorite
    • Add Keywords
    • Organize Items into Albums
    • Define Smart Albums on a Mac
    • Manage Duplicates
  • Use Search to Find Items
    • Embrace the Search Field
    • Harness the Power of Categories
    • Find Items from Specific Locations
    • Search for Items via Spotlight
  • Name and Search People
    • Find All Items Containing a Person
    • Name and Merge People
  • Make Quick Fixes
    • Use Auto Enhance
    • Rotate and Straighten Items
    • Give Your Items a Filtered Look
    • Fix Red Eye
  • Make More Complex Edits
    • Adjust The Look Of Items
    • Improve Items with Adjustments
    • Remove Blemishes and Dust on a Mac
    • Copy and Paste Adjustments
    • Edit Live Photos
    • Edit Portrait Mode Photos
    • Edit a Video
    • Edit Outside of Photos
  • Use the Camera App
    • Navigate the Camera Interface
    • Choose a Capture Type
  • Import Your Files into Photos
    • Import Files Directly
    • Import from an External Device
    • Manage Files Yourself on a Mac
  • Manage the Library
    • Understand the System Photo Library
    • Back Up the Items in Your Library
  • Sync with iCloud Photos
    • Set the System Photo Library on a Mac
    • Start Syncing With iCloud Photos
  • Use iCloud Shared Photos
    • Get Started With iCloud Shared Photos
    • Working With Two Libraries
  • Share Your Stuff
    • Transfer Your Stuff Directly
    • Export and Resize Images
    • Share via iCloud Link
    • Get Sharing Suggestions via Messages
    • Share Using Shared Albums
    • See Media Shared by Others
  • Show off Photos in iOS and iPadOS
    • Decorate Devices with Widgets
    • Decorate the iOS Lock Screen
  • Relive Moments with Memories
    • View, Share, and Edit Memories
    • Edit Memories to Perfection
  • View Photos on Apple TV and Apple Watch
    • View Photos on an Apple TV
    • Viewing Photos on an Apple Watch
  • Make Slideshows in Photos
    • Create a Slideshow on a Mac
    • Make Slideshows in iOS or iPadOS
  • Build Books and Calendars
    • Design Books with Mimeo and Motif
    • Make a Calendar
    • Make Prints and Cards
  • About This Book
    • Ebook Extras
    • About the Author
    • About the Publisher
  • Copyright and Fine Print

3 reviews for Take Control of Photos

  1. Clive Huggan (verified owner)

    Like all Jason Snell’s writings I’ve read over the years, Take Control of Photos is an expert, extremely comprehensive, thoughtfully written book. I frequently recommend it to colleagues, friends and user group members.

    The only reservation I have with this particular book is that when I want information about Photos on the Mac, I have to be careful that I’m not reading about Photos on iOS; sometimes I have to look back a page or so to be sure. I’d have to say that I’d prefer a Mac part separate from an iOS part — which shouldn’t be much of a problem with an electronic book; there could be cross-platform links where the reader might want to go between Mac and iOS.

    But that’s a minor quiblle; it’s a book that I heartily recommend!

  2. Arlan Smith (verified owner)

    I agree, please keep the Mac and IOS parts completely separate in future versions. Otherwise, there is lots of good stuff here if you can just keep the separate operating system versions sorted.

  3. Joe Kissell

    @Clive, @Arlan Thanks for your feedback. Unfortunately, there’s no practical way to keep the Mac stuff separate from the iOS/iPadOS stuff, because that would require massive amounts of duplicate text. It would make the book vastly longer and even more cumbersome to navigate. Sorry, we realize it’s not ideal either way, but our current approach is the lesser of two evils. —Joe

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