Here’s how to add location to photos and videos in Photos for Mac

By , Apr 13, 2016

Photos Mac iPhone iPad teaser 001

With Photos for Mac, Apple pulled an iWork: that is, the re-imagining of how you should organize and manage your photos across devices originally wasn’t as feature-complete as the now phased-out iPhoto used to be.

That’s especially the case if you consider the need to edit location for some photos in your library: it wasn’t before the OS X 10.11.3 El Capitan software update that Photos for Mac got this ability.

Be that as it may, that’s a God-sent feature—in certain cases, Photos would place my pictures at the wrong geographic location, or location information wasn’t available at all when I snapped them. As I mentioned, these incorrectly located pictures can be fixed as of Photos 1.4 for Mac or later.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to create a smart album to automatically identify the photos without location data embedded in them and then use new features in the Photos app to add, remove or change location data for your photos and videos.

Creating a smart album with photos without a location

If you have a large library of photos and videos, finding ones without location information quickly becomes a tedious task. You can make your life easier by creating a smart album in Photos (smart albums are not available in Photos for iOS) that will automatically collate photographs that do not have location information embedded in them.

1) In Photos for Mac, choose File → New Smart Album.

2) Type in the name for your album in the Smart Album Name field.

Click the pop-up menu right below the “Match the following conditions” heading and select Photo. In the next menu, select “is not” as your operator. The last menu offers some pre-populated conditions: choose “tagged with GPS”.

OS X El Capitan Photos smart album photos with no location Mac screenshot 000

You can now navigate to your smart album by clicking Albums in the Photos toolbar at the top. As you add new photos and videos to your library, the smart album automatically updates to include the items that lack location information.

3) Click OK to save your album.

How to add location information in Photos for Mac

1) In Photos for Mac, select a smart album containing the items that have no location assigned to them, or select any photo or video from your library.

2) With the photo selected, hit Command (⌘) – I to bring up the Info window, where you can edit meta data.

3) Click a field that reads Assign a Location.

OS X El Capitan Photos edit location information Mac screenshot 002

4) Start typing a location’s name and the app will provide location suggestions in a drop-down menu. Highlight a desired location in the list, or type it, and hit Return.

OS X El Capitan Photos select image Mac screenshot 003

Keep in mind that Photos uses the Apple Maps backend so your computer must be connected to the Internet. Otherwise, you won’t be able to assign a location to the item.

5) Close the Info window.

OS X El Capitan Photos select image Mac screenshot 004

Tip: You can also change the location by dragging a pin on the mini map.

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Repeat these steps for any picture or video that has an incorrect or missing location.

Removing GPS data and reverting to original location

If you accidentally chose the wrong location, just bring up the Info panel again and search for a different location. To remove location from a photo, select it and choose Image → Location, then click Remove Location or Revert to Original Location.

Viewing your photos on a map

Contrary to popular belief, Photos did not ditch iPhoto’s ability to display photos on a map: on the Mac, simply click the Photos tab in the toolbar, position the pointer over the heading of a collection or moment, then click the location name.

OS X El Capitan Photos map Mac screenshot 001

To see all the photos and videos taken at a location, click an item thumbnail on the map.

OS X El Capitan Photos map Mac screenshot 002

You can zoom in or out by click the zoom buttons, or double-click to zoom in and Option-double-click to zoom out. To reposition the map, click and hold and then drag the map to a new position.

OS X El Capitan Photos map Mac screenshot 003

You can also show the map in different formats by clicking the Standard, Satellite or Hybrid buttons. On iOS, tap a photo’s location heading in a collection or a moment. Like on the Mac, you can now tap a thumbnail of a photo or a group of photos on the map to show only the photos taken at that particular location.

iOS 9 Photos map iPhone screenshot 001

Then tap a photo to show it in full screen mode. You can now tap to show and hide the controls or swipe left or right to go forward or backward.

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If you want more tutorials like this, check out our complete how-to archive.

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