Apple announces major revisions to Photos apps, expands generative AI across MacOS

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Apple MacOS Sequoia

Apple today previewed iOS 18, featuring what the company says is the “biggest redesign” ever of the Photos app. Photo libraries are now automatically organized in a new single view in Photos, and helpful new collections keep favorites easily accessible.  iOS 18 also introduces Apple Intelligence, the personal intelligence system for iPhone, iPad, and Mac that combines generative models with personal context. Built with privacy from the ground up, Apple Intelligence is deeply integrated into iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, the company said.

Apple iPadOS 18 Photo app

For the iPad, the Photos app receives its biggest redesign yet — which takes advantage of the larger display on iPad — automatically keeping libraries organized so users can spend less time searching and more time enjoying their best moments. A simplified, single view displays a familiar grid, and new collections help users browse by themes without having to organize content into albums. Plus, collections can be pinned to keep favorites easily accessible. A new carousel view presents highlights that update each day and feature favorite people, pets, places, and more. Autoplaying content throughout the app brings libraries to life, so past moments can be enjoyed while browsing.

“We are thrilled to introduce iOS 18. It is a huge release with incredible features, including new levels of customization and capability, a redesigned Photos app, and powerful ways to stay connected with Messages. There are so many benefits for everyone,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

iPhone users have new ways to customize the Home Screen, Lock Screen, and Control Center. Users can now arrange apps and widgets in any open space on the Home Screen, including placing them right above the dock for easy access or perfectly framing a wallpaper. App icons and widgets can take on a new look with a dark or tinted effect, and users can make them appear larger to create the experience that is perfect for them.

Apple Intelligence creates images, tells stories

Apple Intelligence unlocks new ways for users to enhance their writing and communicate more effectively. With brand-new systemwide Writing Tools built into iOS 18, users can rewrite, proofread, and summarize text nearly everywhere they write, including Mail, Notes, Pages, and third-party apps.

New image capabilities make communication and self-expression possible. With the Image Playground app. users can create playful images in seconds, choosing from three styles: Animation, Illustration, or Sketch. Image Playground is built right into apps like Messages, and is also available in a dedicated app.

Memories in Photos lets users create the stories they want to see just by typing a description. Apple Intelligence will pick out the best photos and videos based on the description, craft a storyline with chapters based on themes identified from the photos, and arrange them into a movie with its own narrative arc, the company claims. In addition, a new Clean Up tool can identify and remove distracting objects in the background of a photo — without accidentally altering the subject.

Apple also previewed macOS Sequoia, the next version of its desktop operating system, adding that the Photos app now surfaces Collections, which automatically organizes a user’s library by helpful themes, and includes a big update to search, so users can get results quickly.

Even watchOS saw it’s photo features upgraded: In watchOS 11, the Photos watch face helps a user select their best photo options by quickly analyzing thousands of photos using machine learning and making recommendations based on aesthetics, composition, and even facial expressions. Then, a custom algorithm finds the best composition by optimizing for the subject’s position within the frame and creating a sense of depth. Users can further personalize the face with time sizes, layouts, font choices, and more, and the Photos face now offers Dynamic mode so users can see a new image every time they raise their wrist.