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iOS 8 changes we'd like to see: Photos and Camera

Serenity Caldwell | May 22, 2014
Apple has focused heavily on iOS camera features since the iPhone 3GS brought tap-to-focus and video modes to the masses. But in some respects, iOS 7 still leaves us wanting when it comes to the Camera and Photos apps, as well as Photo Stream.

Apple's Photo Stream brought effortless image backup to the masses, but it came with a major limitation: Only the most-recent 1000 photos are stored on the company's servers. To sync more photos, you need to hook Photo Stream up to your Mac. In addition, deleting Photo Stream images is an arduous process, and one that deletes only the version of the photo stored in Photo Stream — not the copy in your Camera Roll.

So let's, again, simplify. Your Camera Roll should be your Photo Stream — any image you take on your iPhone should be backed up to the cloud. If you want to sync other albums, pay for more storage. Both Loom — recently acquired by Dropbox — and Picturelife offer large paid storage lockers for images, and I'm hoping Apple might take a page from these startups. iPhoto for the Mac is all well and good, but it seems silly that we're manually syncing our photo libraries via USB to get our images. Let's move this to Apple's servers — even if it comes at a monetary cost.

Auto-backup for the Camera app could also solve the "duplicate photos" problem between Photo Stream, iPhoto sync, and Camera Roll. Currently, even if you delete a screenshot from your Camera Roll, you have to delete that image again in Photo Stream to remove it from the servers and your Mac. If your Photo Stream backup were your Camera Roll, deleting once would delete everywhere.

Split emailed videos up or provide size warnings

While Shared Photo Streams lets you share videos with friends and family, many people still prefer to send their video the (sort of) old-fashioned way: via email. But email has size limits, and HD video isn't known for its tiny sizes. Currently, if you try to send an too-large video, iOS forces you to trim it down.

We received several Twitter comments about this limit, and while Apple likely won't (and, in many cases, can't) change email limitations anytime soon, there might other ways. Offering to split larger videos into multiple parts might be one option; better yet might be an automatic prompt to share large videos with your contacts via Shared Photo Streams.

Enhance search and tagging

iOS currently sports a distinct lack of search and metadata controls for images. Sure, things like geotags and faces are tagged automatically and stuck into folders, but there aren't fine controls: You can't search by date other than scrolling through Moments and collections, or quickly find all images taken in a specific place. Search is a huge function of iPhoto and Aperture on OS X — it seems like a no-brainer to offer it in the Photos app on the iPhone.


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