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Apple iPhone Photos iOS 13 Big Update: Here's What's New

Apple's latest iPhone software update brings a new and improved photos app with more editing features and a better way to organise photos.

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Apple iPhone Photo App


As well as releasing new iPhones - iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max - Apple has also introduced iOS 13 (iPadOS 13) which introduces some much-needed updates to the Photo app built into Apple iPhones. These updates include improved design, better photo editing tools and, for the first time, video editing tools

There's also a better search tool built-in to make it easier to find specific photos and it's now easier to curate your past photos. In fact, there seems to be a real focus on you discovering old photos/videos you may have forgotten about (a bit like Facebook does with its memory feature). 

Let's take a closer look at what's new in iOS 13 which, by the way, you don't need one of the new iPhone 11 smartphones to access. We're testing it on an iPhone 8 Plus which is a fair-few generations back now. 


Better Photo Organisation 

Organise Photos in iOS 13


The photos app has a new look (not the dark background; this is a new option found under settings to change the overall appearance of the UI) and it's also easier to view image collections by a specific time frame. You've always had options to view by Years, Month and Days but it's now more straightforward and much easier to navigate. 

You get a preview of the image(s) taken on a specific day and if there's more than one photo, they're presented in a really cool collage. When organising by months or years, you are shown an image closes to the current date but in a specific month/year. For example, for photos in 2018, you'll be shown an image captured on (or closes to) today's date which, at the time of writing, is the 24th.

Photos use AI to find the best part of your photo in photo previews so you get a larger preview but you can see the uncropped version by tapping to view it. You can also 'pinch-zoom' to focus on one image or to see all of your shots at once. 


iPhone Photo App


On-device machine learning intelligently organising files so only the best images/videos are highlighted and you won't see duplicates, either, as the iPhone can hide similar looking images. Plus, videos and Live Photos will autoplay, bringing movement to the library.

Other cool features include the name of the location, holiday or concert performer being displayed on photos to give context and if you have birthdays assigned to people in your People album, the Photos tab will highlight your photos of them on their birthday. 


Better Photo Search 

You can now combine multiple search terms which makes it quicker to find specific images which is very useful (and smart). 


iOS 13 Camera App Search Function


Other Photo App Features

All your new screenshots are now placed in a smart album, soundtracks for Memory movies are selected based on what you listen to in the Music app and when you press and hold to play a Live Photo, Photos will automatically extend the video when you have Live Photos taken within 1.5 seconds of each other.


Photo Editing Is Easier 

Photo editing in iOS 13


The photo editing features found in the iOS photo library aren't the most advanced tools but you can make basic adjustments if you want to quickly improve an image without too much effort and Apple has added a few more tools to make the process more comprehensive and intuitive.

The Edit button can still be found top-right and when you click on it, the various editing options are presented below your photo along with a slider to add/reduce the effect you're applying. Auto Adjustments applies edits the AI thinks is best or you can choose to edit brightness, exposure etc. individually. You can see which effect has been applied as a yellow circle appears around it, with more/less of the circle filled in depending on how much of the effect is applied. 

To see what your image looked like before/after an adjustment is made, tap each effect icon and you can pinch to zoom while editing to review your changes on a specific area of your photo.

Filters haven't really changed but you can now adjust the intensity of the filter applied by using the slider to increase/decrease the strength of the effect. 

A crop tool is a useful thing and the crop tool in iOS 13 now does more than just crop as you can adjust a photo's perspective/viewing angle, giving you even more control over how your final image will look. 

Portrait Lighting adjustments can be made in the app, too, so you can move the light closer to sharpen eyes and brighten/smooth facial features or push the light further away to create a more subtle look. Fans of monochrome will also be able to apply a new High-Key Mono look to portraits when shooting with the smartphone's portrait mode.  


You Can Now Edit Videos

Video editing support in iOS 13


New to iOS 13 is the ability to edit videos with all of the tools available for editing stills. This means you can crop a video, increase brightness, apply filters... etc. Video edits are also non-destructive so you can remove an effect and return to your original video. 

For more details on what's new in iOS 13, visit the Apple website.

Note: Some of the updates are only available for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and/or iPhone XR.

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