Photos Mac iPhone iPad teaser 001

New details continue to trickle out concerning Apple’s upcoming Photos for Mac software, as Jason Snell shared some previously unknown tidbits regarding how Photos handles iPhoto imports.

Rather than duplicate the photos during the import process, Photos creates Unix-style hard links to files, allowing for quite a few interesting features detailed further below.

For those wondering, Photos will import your iPhoto Events as Albums and any custom iPhoto Albums and Smart Albums, with the latter retaining their smartness based on the rules you’ve created in iPhoto.

Fans of starring will be delighted to learn that Photos also turns iPhoto star ratings to keywords. As for your Smart Albums based on star ratings, these get converted to search for the equivalent star keywords.

As a nice bonus, the import process preserves your iPhoto metadata on photos, including things like descriptions, titles, flags and geotagging information.

But the iPhoto import in Photos goes even further.

For starters, it doesn’t create duplicates so you don’t lose precious storage space.

Matter of fact, you can safely throw away your old iPhoto library and delete any image from it without affecting any of the images that have been imported to Photos.

This is possible because Photos for Mac uses hard links.

Unlike soft links, or symbolic links, that are just references to the real version of files on your Mac, hard links permit the contents of a file to appear to exist in more than one location.

“If a file has two hard links, and you delete one, the file isn’t deleted — because it’s still linked to from another location,” writes Snell. Time Machine uses hard links to create incremental backups that save disk space.

Photos for OS X Collections Mac screenshot 001

So does Photos for OS X.

“If you delete your iPhoto library, the files that were hard-linked from the Photos library still exist in the Photos library and aren’t deleted,” he adds.

So, when Photos migrates an iPhoto library, it changes the file extension on the iPhoto library package to .migratedphotolibrary and makes a hard link to all iPhoto media assets in its own library package, using the same directory structure as iPhoto.

If you edit a photo from the migrated iPhoto library in an external app like Photoshop, any changes made will update the version in your iPhoto library while keeping the version in the Photos library untouched.

“Basically, modifying that file causes the link between the two versions to break,” Snell writes.

Photos for OS X Edit Levels Mac screenshot 001

Although Photos for Mac lacks some of the features found in iPhoto and Aperture, the application could gain new functionality in the future by way of third-party photo filters.

As you know, iOS 8 has introduced App Extensions giving third-party camera app makers the means to create photo and video filters that can be used directly in the context of the Photos app.

Apple says App Extensions give users access to an app’s functionality and content throughout iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, and I have no doubt in my mind that third-party filters are bound to grace the Mac edition of Photos sooner than later.

Photos for OS X Editing Mac screenshot 001

Both the iOS and OS X editions of photos sport Apple’s filters and include basic editing capability like cropping, zooming or changing the photo’s color, intensity, saturation, brightness and more.

Even better, your edits are non-destructive.

Photos always keeps your originals intact so you can undo any changes made. And because filters and editing tools in Photos are algorithmical, iCloud Photo Library only needs to sync small delta changes made to your photos.

That’s the magic that makes edits made in Photos on one device appear almost instantaneously on all your other iCloud-connected devices.

The key takeaway here is that Photos for Mac is shaping up to be more useful and capable than we might have originally thought.

Source: SixColors

  • Chris Smith

    Just a shame its going to take thousands of days to upload all 24,755 photos 🙁

    • Fanboy 

      Stop being a picture hoarder lol

    • Damian

      Really? You store them on your phone? How about investing time in some Dropbox service

      • Chris Smith

        not on my phone on my Mac

    • James G

      Took 4 days to upload my 26,000 images and 1,100 videos. Roughly 240GB. Comcast ain’t thrilled.

      Now it’s taking a few days for my iPhone 6 and iPad 3 to sync up iCloud photo library as well.

      • Chang in Charge

        How many years worth of images it that? I thought I had a lot at 11,000.

      • James G

        10+

      • Starman_Andromeda

        We have gobs of photos, too. Like Change, around 11,000.

        But, here’s the kicker–how often do you actually look at the photos you’ve taken?!

        We rarely do. It should have been a New Year’s resolution to have family viewing nights–or, Photo Time instead of the TV–and even cull the scores (thousands?) of similar shots (the same backyard snow scenes, 20 pictures of the same people at a party, etc.)

      • Chang in Charge

        For awhile they just stayed buried in whatever my primary storage method is but recently I’ve been looking at the more I use them as a screen saver on my TV with Chromecast, also I’ve been printing some on glass with Fracture.

      • Chris Smith

        My Library is 216GB unfortunately where i live my internet is slow 2.8 Mbps down and only 0.32 Mbps up and thats the only provider in my area sadly

      • James G

        Go to an Apple Store, connect to their wifi and hang out. Do this a few times if there is one nearby.

      • Chris Smith

        Would have to drag my Mac mini and a screen with me to do this so that’s a no go

      • James G

        Dang!

    • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

      Now, go through all your photos and delete the duplicate ones 😛

    • Jonathan

      Try this:
      Find a university near you
      Plug in ethernet
      upload over 100 Mbps. (12.5 MBps)

      • justin ellison

        Always refreshing to see someone who understands the difference between Bits and Bytes 🙂

      • CasonAsherTech

        I know, even when I was trying to get internet where I now live, the lady on the phone was telling me I could get 30 megabytes per sec. I told her that was not possible with sudden link in small-town Texas, and explained the difference.

      • Jonathan

        Am I like, the only one? Do I need to stop speaking in nerd terms?

  • ✯Mike✯

    I’m just thankful to finally have a Photos app that behaves well with the new services. Thanks Apple

  • T_Will

    I admit, I am a photo hoarder. I have photos back from our first digital camera, a Kodak, probably from the late 90’s. I have 1000+ photos from a single day on vacation. I have 40,000+ photos in my library! I need professional help. 😉

    One plus with iCloud photo library, is I’ll be able to delete and orgnize my photos anytime from my iPad or iPhone.

    Has anyone determined if there is a limit to the number of photos uploaded to the iCloud photo library?

    • Ashley Scarselletti Albeck

      I also have 40K+ and trying to figure out how long this will take. I also LOOOOVEEEE the I’ll be able to sort form anywhere!!!

      • T_Will

        I was able to borrow some faster upload bandwidth from my work, so I was able to get my 40k+ library into iCloud in about a week.

      • Ashley Scarselletti Albeck

        I started at home and Im on day 2. I have about 10,000 pcs transferred so far. Hope it gets done in less 7 days.

  • Starman_Andromeda

    A little more explanation, please!

    This sounded contradictory:

    “Rather than duplicate the photos during the import process, Photos creates Unix-style hard links to files….”

    “Matter of fact, you can safely throw away your old iPhoto library and delete any image from it without affecting any of the images that have been imported to Photos.”

    What about people who imported photos into iPhoto *without* preserving originals??

    If you trash the iPhoto library, then don’t you trash the originals of the photos?!

    If that’s the case, you need to update the description!

    • CasonAsherTech

      When you make that hard, link, the file isn’t copied, but as soon as one of the files are edited, the link is broken and creates two files, so throwing out the iPhoto library would cause the Photos app to create its own version of those files. At least that’s how I interpreted it.

  • Deon

    I’m dumb. i’ve imported raw pictures from my dslr to the new photos and it erased my sd card. now I want to edit the pictures in LR, but I dont know how. if i Drag the file or export to somewhere else the picture turns into jpeg. and I cant find the original. Can somebody help me ? please. thanks

  • Deon

    I’m dumb. i’ve imported raw pictures from my dslr to the new photos and it erased my sd card. now I want to edit the pictures in LR, but I dont know how. if i Drag the file or export to somewhere else the picture turns into jpeg. and I cant find the original. Can somebody help me?

  • Chris Smith

    Well its only gone and done it and uploaded all 24,755 in 66 days