Use Photos on your Mac

Learn how to get your photos on all of your devices, manage your collection, and edit and share your photos.


Photos helps you keep your growing library organized and accessible. Powerful and intuitive editing tools help you perfect your images. Memories displays the best images from your photo library in beautiful collections. And with iCloud Photo Library, you can keep a lifetime’s worth of photos and videos stored in iCloud and up to date on all of your devices.

Before you begin

Access all of your photos from anywhere

iCloud Photo Library automatically keeps all your photos in iCloud, so you can access them on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, Mac,, or on a PC. When you edit and organize images in the Photos app, your changes are kept up to date and visible everywhere.


Manage your iCloud storage

The photos and videos that you keep in iCloud Photo Library use your iCloud storage. Before you turn on iCloud Photo Library, make sure that you have enough space to store your entire collection. You can see how much space you need and then upgrade your storage plan if necessary.

Turn on iCloud Photo Library

It's easy to get started. Just turn on iCloud Photo Library in your Settings and make sure that you're signed in with the same Apple ID on all of your devices. On your Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud and click the Options button next to Photos. Then select iCloud Photo Library.

Keep your photo library organized

The Photos app is organized the same way across all of your Apple devices. That way, it always feels familiar. On your Mac, your collection is separated into four main categories: Library, Shared, Albums, and Projects. 

The Photos app automatically sorts your photos, videos, Memories, Favorites, People, and more for you in Library. And you'll find your photos and videos taken around the same time and place are grouped into Moments, Collections, and Years. See the photos that you share with others in iCloud Photo Sharing in Shared. Organize your collection in Albums. Then view and order books, cards, calendars, prints, and more in Projects.

Do more with the Photos app

Your Mac is the place that you go to get things done. That’s why the Photos app makes it easier than ever to create a stunning slideshow, share with anyone you like, and quickly find the moment you’re looking for. All with a few clicks.

Play a slideshow

Instantly prepare a slideshow directly in Photos. Open any album and click Slideshow. Customize the theme and music, and you're ready to go.

Or you can click the title of a Moment, Collection, or Year. Then click .

Share with friends

Use  to share photos in iCloud Photo Sharing, Mail, and more. Or send photos to your social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Select multiple photos

The Photos app even makes selecting multiple photos and videos from your library more efficient. Just select more than one photo or video, and immediately see how many you have in the upper-right corner of the Photos app. Then you can move them into an album, hide, delete, get info, and more.

Search your photos

Find the photo or video you're looking for in no time. Just use the search bar that's built directly into Photos. You can search for photos based on who’s in them or what’s in them, like cake or balloons.

Or try the filter in the upper-right corner of the Photos app. Click Showing, and choose from Favorites, Edited, Photos, or Videos.

Delete photos and videos from your library

If there are photos and videos that you don't want anymore, you can delete one at a time, or several.

Delete one photo

  1. Select the photo that you want to delete.
  2. Press the Delete key.
  3. Confirm that you want to delete the photo.

Delete multiple photos

  1. Press and hold the Command key.
  2. Select the photos that you want to delete.
  3. Press the Delete key.
  4. Confirm that you want to delete the photos.

When you delete a photo, it goes into your Recently Deleted album, where it stays for 30 days. If you use iCloud Photo Library, the photos that you delete are moved into the Recently Deleted album on your other devices too. After 30 days, Photos deletes the photos permanently. You can permanently delete photos right away when you click Delete All in the Recently Deleted album.

When you delete photos directly from an album by pressing the Delete key, you only remove them from the album and not your entire photo collection. If you want to delete photos from both the album and your collection, press Command-Delete.

Edit your photos

Photos includes powerful, easy-to-use editing tools. You can apply adjustments to your photos and make them look exactly the way you like. Then if you want to start over, you can always revert to the original photo. Here's how to get started: 

  1. From the Photos view, or from within an album, double-click the photo you want to edit.
  2. Click Edit or  in the upper-right corner of Photos.
  3. The editing tools appear along the right side of the window. Click the tool you'd like to use.

After you edit your photo, click Done. Want to start over? Click Revert to Original. If you use iCloud Photo Library, you'll see the changes on all of your devices.

With Photos for macOS High Sierra, you can also send a photo to most third-party photo apps for editing, then save the changes right back into your library. Learn more about editing your photos with third-party apps and extensions.


See and add information about a photo

You can also add details to your photos, like a description, keywords, or a specific location. You can even Add Faces to name your friends and family in each photo.

To view the Info window, double-click a photo to open it and then click  in the upper-right corner, or select a photo and use the keyboard shortcut Command-I. Once you add information, you can use the Search bar to find photos by keyword, title, description, faces, or location.

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