6 Photos features that are worth the upgrade to macOS Sierra
Macworld|Macworld November 2016

Version 2.0 of Photos includes some nifty new features that make Apple’s photo manager a serious powerhouse.

Jason Snell

When people ask me for the single best reason to upgrade to macOS Sierra, the answer I give them doesn’t involve Siri (go.macworld.com/sierrasiri) or Auto Unlock or iCloud Drive (go.macworld.com/ iclouddrivesetup). It’s version 2.0 of Photos (go.macworld.com/ sierraphotoshandson), the biggest update to Apple’s photo-management utility app since it debuted in the spring of 2015.

I’ve been using Photos 2.0 extensively all summer as a part of my testing of macOS Sierra. My six favorite features make Photos almost single-handedly worth the upgrade to Sierra.

IT CAN FIND A ZEBRA IN A HAYSTACK

Apple spent a lot of time at its Worldwide Developer Conference this summer promoting the machine-learning algorithm that sits at the heart of Photos for Mac and iOS 10. But you know what? It’s awesome. Apple’s not the first to go down this path—Google Photos does the same thing—but Apple’s doing it on its own devices and not sending any of your stuff to be processed in the cloud.

There’s no interface for this feature. When you upgrade to Sierra, Photos begins indexing your photo library, scanning every picture and detecting any information it thinks it recognizes, whether that’s faces, places, objects, you name it. This isn’t anything approaching omnipotence—the algorithm is apparently tuned to recognize about 4,000 different items. And it’s far from perfect. When I searched for dogs, I got pictures with dogs—and with cats, and no animals at all. But I also got lots of pictures of dogs.

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