macOS High Sierra

View photos

Photos uses Moments, Collections, and Years views to automatically organize your photos and videos by time and location and make it easy to find just the photos you’re looking for. A moment is a group of photos and videos taken around the same time and in the same place—for example, an afternoon at the beach. A collection is a group of related moments—for example, your entire beach vacation. The Years view groups all of your photos taken in the same year together, so you can quickly view your entire library at a glance. You can also view your photos individually to see more detail and make edits.

Photos window showing photos organized by collection.

Open Photos for me

Ask Siri. Say something like: “Open Photos.” Learn more about Siri.

View your photos

  • See photos organized by moment, collection, and year: Click Photos in the sidebar, then click Moments, Collections, or Years in the toolbar. Click a moment, collection, or year to see the photos in it. On a trackpad, you can pinch open or closed on the moment, collection, or year to change views.

    Photos window showing photos in a moment.
  • Scroll up or down in a moment: Press the Up or Down Arrow key. On a trackpad, swipe up or down with two fingers.

  • View specific photos in a moment: Click the Showing pop-up menu, then choose the type of item you want to see (such as Favorites), or choose a keyword associated with your photos. You can choose multiple items from the Showing pop-up menu to display just the photos you want. For more information about using keywords to identify photos, see Find photos by keyword.

View individual photos

  • View a photo: Double-click a photo thumbnail.

    Photos window showing an individual photo.
  • Zoom in or out on a photo: Drag the Zoom slider or pinch open or closed on the trackpad. You can drag the zoomed image to reposition it.

    Toolbar showing zoom controls.
  • View information associated with a photo: Click the Info button in the toolbar.

    For more information about using the Info window, see Add titles, descriptions, and more to photos.

  • Make a photo a favorite: Click the Favorite button in the toolbar. The photo appears in the Favorites album.

  • Show or hide the names of people in the photo: Choose View > Show Face Names. The names of people identified in a photo appear. If an unnamed face appears, you can click the box and enter the person’s name. The people you name are added to the People album.

  • Add a photo to a new or existing album: Choose Image > Add To, then choose New Album or an existing album. You can also drag photos to an existing album in the sidebar.

  • View a photo’s location on a map: Scroll down to Places to see the photo thumbnail on a map. Double-click the thumbnail to see it on a larger map. Double-click it again to zoom in or display it on a grid. Click Show Nearby Photos to see other photos from nearby locations.

  • View more photos of people in the photo: Scroll down to People to see the people identified in the photo. Double-click a person’s face to see other photos of that person.

  • View related photos: Scroll down to Related to see similar photos from different times at that location. Double-click the group of related photos to see them.

Play an instant slideshow

You can quickly play a slideshow of the photos in a collection or a moment. You can select a theme and music for the slideshow, but you can’t customize the slideshow further.

To create a customized slideshow that you can save or export, create a slideshow project. For more information about creating a slideshow project, see Create and work with slideshows.

  1. Select some photos in a moment, then choose File > Play Slideshow.

  2. Click Themes, then select a theme.

    A preview of the theme appears in the pane.

  3. Click Music and select the song you want. To turn off music, click the song again to deselect it.

  4. Click Play Slideshow.

To stop playing the slideshow, press the Escape key. You can also press the arrow keys to skip forward or back through the slides and press the Space bar to pause the slideshow.

View Live Photos

With some models of iPhone, you can shoot Live Photos, which capture a still image and the moments just before and after the image. You can import a Live Photo into Photos, then view, edit, and share it, or change it to a still image.

  • Open a Live Photo: Double-click the photo thumbnail.

  • Play a Live Photo: Position the pointer over the photo thumbnail or over the Live Photo badge when you’re viewing a photo. If you have a Force Touch trackpad, force click the Live Photo. (You can also click the photo thumbnail in the Touch Bar.)

  • Change a Live Photo to a still image: Select the photo, then choose Image > Turn Off Live Photo. To be able to play the Live Photo again, select the photo and choose Image > Turn On Live Photo.

For information about editing a Live Photo, see Edit a Live Photo.

If you use Live Photos in print projects like books, cards, and calendars, they appear as still images when printed.

View photo bursts and select shots to work with

With some models of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, you can shoot a burst of photos in rapid succession, enabling you to get a good shot of fast-moving subjects. When you import a photo burst into Photos, it appears in the imported moment and in the Bursts album. When you open a burst, you can view all the shots in the burst and select your favorites to work with individually.

  1. Double-click the burst in the moment or in the Bursts album in the sidebar.

  2. To select photos from the burst, click the Make a Selection button in the upper-left corner of the photo.

  3. Click each photo that you’d like to save as an individual photo, then click the circle in the lower-right corner to mark the photo as selected.

  4. After selecting the photos you want to work with individually, click Done.

  5. Do one of the following:

    • Keep the selected photos and delete the others in the burst: Click Keep Only Selection.

      The selected photos appear individually in the moment and unselected photos are placed in the Recently Deleted album. The burst no longer appears in the moment or in the Burst album.

    • Make the selected photos appear individually and keep all of the photos in the burst: Click Keep Everything.

      The selected photos appear individually and the photo burst remains unchanged.

Show or hide photos

You can hide selected photos and show them only when you want to see them. Hiding a photo can be useful if you don’t want to use it, but you’re not sure you want to delete it.

  • Hide photos: Select the photo or photos, choose Image > Hide [number] Photos, then click Hide Photos.

    The selected photos disappear from your moments, but are not deleted.

  • Show hidden photos: Choose View > Show Hidden Photo Album.

    The Hidden album appears among your other albums. To unhide photos in it, select them, then choose Image > Unhide [number] Photos.

Tip: You can use keyboard shortcuts to quickly do many common tasks in Photos. To see all the shortcuts you can use, see Keyboard shortcuts. If your Mac has a Touch Bar, you can use it to view photos, make edits, and more. For more information, see Use the Touch Bar.