Apple Photos Memories iPhone Mac teaser 001

Apple’s Photos app for the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV includes a powerful yet underrated feature, called Memories, which scans your media library to unearth your cherished or forgotten events, trips and people such as a weekend hike, your baby’s first birthday, a year’s best photos and videos, etc.

Memories collates these items in gorgeous collections and even creates animated slideshows from them. In this tutorial, you will learn how to get started with Memories, create your own animated slideshows, customize them to your liking with photos, videos, music, titles and much more.

Memories 101

Memories are collections of photos and videos that can focus on:

  • Locations, like a favorite vacation spot or your neighborhood
  • Special events, such as birthdays and holidays
  • Scenes, such as the beach or forest
  • Pictures of family, friends, animals and so forth

Memories are created automatically, or you can create them yourself.

What are Memories?

As mentioned, Memories is all about the photos and videos you haven’t seen or thought about for a while.

But far from simply helping you re-discover your long forgotten photos from deep in your image library, Memories turns browsing your best photos and videos into an enjoyable experience thanks to attractive album layouts and animated slideshows.

Rather than make copies of your existing photos and videos, Memories simply brings them together in special albums that you can view, share and edit.

System requirements for Memories

The Memories feature is available on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and Apple TV.

To enjoy Memories on iOS, you must update your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to iOS 10 or later.  It requires the same hardware as iOS 10: the sixth-generation iPod touch or any iPhone or iPad model from the iPhone 4s or iPad mini 2/iPad 4 onward, respectively.

Memories for Mac is available with macOS Sierra or later. You can check Mac hardware requirements for macOS Sierra here.

tvOS 10 Memories teaser 001

Memories for Apple TV requires the fourth-generation Apple TV with tvOS 10 and iCloud Photo Library set up on the device. You can view Memories on your Apple TV, but not create, edit or share them.

Memory Movies

Each Memory may contain a Memory Movie set to music. These automatically created slideshows come complete with titles, cinematic transitions and gorgeous templates that you can choose from on the fly.

Memories created from albums that don’t have enough photos and videos won’t generate a Memory movie. Photos also allows you to create your own Memory Movies from media in your albums.

Memory Movies play on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV. Photos for Mac currently does not support Memory Movies.

The magic behind Memories

In order for Photos to create Memories, it must first scan and analyze media in the Photos library, which can take some time after upgrading to iOS 10 depending on the number of items in your media library.

Scanning Photos app

iOS only scans your library when the device is locked and connected to power. The magic behind Memories is advanced computer vision that helps Photos recognize seven basic facial expressions as well as a total of 4,432 different objects and scenes.

Facial, object and scene recognition happens directly on the device, taking advantage of the power of Apple-designed silicon, without sending any user data to the cloud or syncing recognized scenes and objects via iCloud.

In other words, Photos must analyze your library separately on each device even if all the devices you own have the same photos and videos on them.

wwdc 2016 photos face recognition

With the library analyzed, Photos will group the people, places and things inside your photos into special Memories albums.

Getting the same Memories on all your devices

If you want to get the same Memories everywhere, you must set up and sign in to iCloud with the same Apple ID on all your devices and enable iCloud Photo Library on every device you wish to use for Memories. This will ensure that up-to-date copy of your Photos library is available across all your devices for Memories to work with.

Memories and your privacy

Apple says that using on-device intelligence helps Memories create curated collections of your most meaningful photos and videos and bring them to life “in a way that’s personal and meaningful to you, while maintaining your privacy”.

iOS leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide smart features like Memories and improved autocorrect suggestions as part of a new technique used throughout iOS 10, called Differential Privacy.

How to explore your Memories

You can see your old photos and videos in surprising new ways in the form of Memories in the stock Photos app. Your recent Memories can also be launched with 3D Touch from the Home screen or via a Today widget on the Lock screen.

Viewing Memories in Photos

1) Launch Photos on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and tap Memories in the tab area alongside the bottom.

2) You will be presented with a summary of the Memory’s contents. Just tap any desired Memory in the list to see its contents.

iOS 10 Memories viewing iPhone screenshot 001

Each Memory has a thumbnail image, creation date and title based on location the photos were taken, what’s on them (portraits, landscapes etc.) and other parameters.

3) You will now see the contents of the selected Memory, which can include both photos and videos. By default, Photos only displays the very best photos in any given Memory.

iOS 10 Memories viewing iPhone screenshot 002

To see every photo and video in your Memory, tap Show All.

To get back to showing only the Memory’s best photos, tap Summary.

3D TOUCH SHORTCUT: On devices with 3D Touch, press any photo in a Memory to preview it, then swipe up to access the following options: Copy, Share, Favorite/UnfavoriteShow Photos from this Day and Delete.

iOS 10 Memories view photo 3D Touch iPhone screenshot 001

Press harder to open the Memory preview in fullscreen.

Viewing a Memory’s people, map and related Memories

Scroll down on the Memory screen to see:

  • The people included in the Memory
  • A map showing where the photos and videos were taken
  • A list of related Memories

To see other photos taken in the vicinity of the photos and videos included in the Memory, tap Show Nearby Photos, then select a badge on the map to see the collection of photos at that location.

iOS 10 Photos Memories iPhone screenshot 004

Tapping a person in boxes underneath the People heading will show more photos of that person or group of people.

Viewing recent Memories on the Home screen

On devices with 3D Touch, your recently accessed Memories can be launched right from the Home screen. Just press the Photos icon from the Home screen, then select one of the recent Memories listed in the 3D Touch shortcuts menu.

iOS 10 Memories Home screen widget 3d touch iPhone screenshot 001

Viewing recent Memories on the Lock screen

You can also get to the list of your recent Memories from your widgets screen, available on Home screen 0, the Lock screen and inside the Notification Center. Just swipe right on the Lock screen to get to the widgets screen and find thumbnails of your recent Memories listed on the Photos widget.

iOS 10 Memories Lock screen widget iPhone screenshot 001

If you don’t see the widget, you must add it first to the widgets screen by tapping Edit at the bottom. Now hit the green plus sign next to Photos under the More Widgets section, then tap Done to finish editing your active/inactive widgets.

iOS 10 Memories Lock screen widget iPhone screenshot 002

3D TOUCH SHORTCUT: quickly add the Photos widget to the Lock screen by pressing the Photos icon, then tap Add Widget in the upper right in the shortcuts menu.

iOS 10 Memories Home screen widget 3d touch iPhone screenshot 002

Viewing an album’s Memory

You can view Memories for any image albums you create in Photos.

1) Launch Photos and tap the Albums tab at the bottom, then select an album you created to view its images.

2) Tap “>” at the top to view the Memory from the images in the selected album.

iOS 10 view album Memories iPhone screenshot 002

To add this Memory to your Memories, tap Add to Memories at the bottom.

Creating Memories from holiday events

Photos can automatically create Memories based on holiday events for your home country, as determined by your device’s regional settings.

iOS 10 Memories holdiay events setting iPhone screenshot 001

If you want to enable or disable this feature, go to Settings → Photos & Camera and toggle the switch Show Holiday Events underneath the Memories heading.

How to create Memories

While Photos automatically creates Memories for you, sometimes you want to be in charge of curating photos and the stories behind them. To make a Memory from any Moment, Collection, Year or Album in your photo library, do the following:

1) Launch Photos and navigate to a Moment, Collection, Year or Album in your library.

2) Now tap on the header of any Moment, Collection, Year or Album to get to its automatically created Memory.

iOS 10 Memories create iPhone screenshot 002

3) Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap Add to Memories to add this Memory to your collection.

iOS 10 Memories create iPhone screenshot 001

I suggest confirming under the Memories tab that the newly created Memory has indeed been saved and added to your Photos collection.

How to organize your Memories

Memories that Photos creates can be organized in different ways. You can delete a Memory to stop it from appearing in Photos, save it for later, add related Memories to your collection and more.

Deleting a Memory

1) Open Photos and tap the Memories tab at the bottom, then select a Memory you wish to delete.

iOS 10 Memories delete iPhone screenshot 001

2) Scroll to the bottom, tap Delete Memory, then tap Delete Memory in the popup menu to confirm the action.

3D TOUCH SHORTCUT: On devices with 3D Touch, press a Memory to preview it and swipe up to reveal hidden options.

iOS 10 Memories delete 3D Touch iPhone screenshot 001

Now select Delete Memory in the menu, then confirm the action by tapping Delete Memory in the popup menu.

Adding related Memories to your collection

Photos provides a list of related Memories for you to explore.

Found at the bottom of any Memory screen, related Memories are relevant to the one you’re currently viewing and are organized by people, places, scenes or events such as the beaches, mountains, birthdays, Thanksgiving Day, New Year and more.

1) Open Photos, tap the Memories tab at the bottom, then select a desire Memory.

2) Scroll down to see all related Memories and tap one to add it to your collection.

3) On the related Memory screen, scroll to the bottom and tap the option to add this related Memory to your collection.

iOS 10 Memories add related iPhone screenshot 001

3D TOUCH SHORTCUT: On devices with 3D Touch, press any related Memory at the bottom to preview some of its images, then press harder to view it in fullscreen mode.

iOS 10 Memories view related 3D Touch iPhone screenshot 001

Unfortunately, the preview screen does not contain any hidden options that would let you instantly save the Memory to your collection.

Saving a Memory for later

Because Photos creates Memories automatically for you, a Memory you see today may not be available the next week, month or year as your media library grows. Thankfully, Photos lets you save any Memory for later.

1) Launch Photos on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and tap Memories in the tab area alongside the bottom.

2) Tap a Memory you’d like to save for later, scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap Add to Favorite Memories.

iOS 10 Memories Add to Favorites album iPhone screenshot 002

“When you add a Memory to your Favorites, you preserve it and keep it from going away when Photos creates new Memories,” notes Apple.

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3D TOUCH SHORTCUT: On devices with 3D Touch, press a Memory to preview it, then swipe up and select Add to Favorite Memories to add it to the built-in Favorite Memories album.

iOS 10 Memories Remove from Favorites album iPhone screenshot 002

If you decide that you don’t want to save a Memory anymore, you can remove it from your Favorite Memories by tapping the Remove from Favorite Memories at the bottom of the screen or in the shortcuts menu on devices with 3D Touch.

iOS 10 Memories FAvorites album Lock screen widget iPhone screenshot 001

All of your favorited Memories are stored in a special album, titled Favorite Memories.

How to view, edit & share Memory Movies

Photos automatically makes a movie for each Memory on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. You can play these animated slideshows on your iOS devices and the Apple TV. As mentioned before, Photos for macOS does not currently support Memory Movies.

On iOS devices, you can adjust music for a Memory Movie, change its length and contents and share it as a movie file via social media and services like YouTube and Facebook.

Playing Memory Movies

As mentioned earlier, each Memory includes an automatically edited movie complete with theme music, titles and cinematic transitions.

1) Open Photos, tap the Memories tab at the bottom, then tap a desired Memory.

2) Tap the Play button in the lower right corner of the Memory thumbnail to begin playing the animated slideshow.

iOS 10 Memories Movies iPhone screenshot 001

To pause playback, tap the slideshow to show onscreen controls, then tap the Pause button at the bottom of the screen.

iOS 10 Photos Memories iPhone screenshot 001

To enjoy your Memory Movie in landscape mode, turn the device upside down.

Sharing Memory Movies

You can share your Memory Movies with friends and family just like you would share any other video on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

1) Open Photos, tap the Memories tab and select a desired Memory.

2) Play the selected Memory’s movie by tapping the Play button on its thumbnail at the top of the screen.

3) With the Memory Movie playing, tap anywhere to bring up the the editing and sharing options, then tap the Share button.

4) In the popup menu, select how you’d like to share your Memory Movie. The available options include Messages, Mail, iCloud Photo Sharing, Facebook, YouTube and more.

iOS 10 Memories share movie iPhone screenshot 001

Photos will export the movie and share it via the selected service.

Editing Memory Movies

You can edit your Memory Movies by choosing between the built-in templates and soundtracks, change their titles, adjust the duration, add or remove media and more. To begin adjusting a Memory Movie, play it in Photos then tap anywhere to access the onscreen options.

Change the mood

Tap a Memory Movie while it’s playing to reveal options at the bottom of the screen. Now select one of the built-in moods or swipe the moods left or right to choose a new one that will match your Memory’s content.

iOS 10 Memories movies change mood iPhone screenshot 001

You can use Memories in landscape mode. The duration of the currently selected movie style is only displayed in portrait mode.

You have the following moods at your disposal:

  • Dreamy
  • Sentimental
  • Gentle
  • Chill
  • Happy
  • Uplifting
  • Epic
  • Club
  • Extreme

As evidenced on the screenshot below, these built-in templates are quite nice and come complete with a distinct title from the larger selection of titles along with custom music and cinematic transitions. These styles are applied to the Memory Movie on the fly, as soon as you select them.

iOS 10 Memories movies change mood iPhone screenshot 002

Edit title, subtitle & heading style

By default, Photos names your Memory Movies using the location name for titles and dates for subtitles. You can optionally rename a Memory Movie to anything you like, as well as change its title stile.

1) Tap a Memory Movie while it’s playing, then tap the Edit icon in the bottom right corner (looks like three horizontal sliders).

2) Now tap Title to rename the movie, then type in your desired title and subtitle.

3) At the bottom of the screen, select a title style for the movie’s heading and subheading.

iOS 10 Memories movies edit titles iPhone screenshot 001

4) Tap the Play button to preview the changes or go back to the previous screen and tap Done to apply them.

Add or remove photos/videos

By default, Photos selects your best shots and videos to use in Memory Movies, but you can easily add more media to the movie or remove photos and videos you don’t like.

1) Tap a Memory Movie while it’s playing, then tap the Edit icon in the bottom right corner (looks like three horizontal sliders).

2) Tap Photos & Videos to add media to this animated slideshow or remove it.

3) Swipe the timeline at the bottom left or right to scrub through the movie’s media. The currently selected photo or video is shown above.

iOS 10 Memories movies add remove photos videos iPhone screenshot 001

To remove the currently selected photo or video, tap the Trashcan icon. To add more media to this movie, tap the Plus button.

While adding new media, you’ll notice that the photo browser puts a checkmark on any photo or video that’s already included in the movie so you can add or remove multiple items on one screen.

I don’t like the photo in my Memory Movie where I’m wearing sunglasses because I’m not smiling, plus I’d like to add the image showing a closeup of an Apple Watch on my wrist.

As mentioned, I can tap any items with a checkmark on them to remove them from the movie so I’m going to do just that for the images I don’t like before adding the one with a smile and the Apple Watch one to my movie.

iOS 10 Memories movies add remove photos videos iPhone screenshot 002

Tap Done to finish adding/removing media and get back to the details screen.

To trim a video in the Memory Movie, first tap it in the timeline.

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You can now trim the clip by dragging the handlers at the top of the screen. To use the video without sound, tap the Sound icon in the top right corner of the preview.

4) Swipe to go back, then tap Done to save the changes to your Memory Movie.

Change that tune

You can choose among built-in soundtracks for your Memory Movie, or pick any tune that’s in your music library.

1) Tap a Memory Movie while it’s playing, then tap the Edit icon in the bottom right corner (looks like three horizontal sliders).

2) Tap Music on the next screen to silence the music, choose a different soundtrack or pick your own tune.

  • None—The movie will be silent.
  • Soundtracks—Choose among a wide variety of built-in compositions, organized by mood.
  • My Music—Have the Memory Movie play a song from your device’s music library.

Choosing one of the built-in soundtracks may prompt your device to download the music file from Apple’s servers, if it’s not already stored on the device.

iOS 10 Memories movies change music iPhone screenshot 001

To manually download a built-in song so that it’s always available for Memory Movies in Photos, tap the cloud icon.

If you set the movie to your own music, know that Photos will only show music you own. Any track you ripped from CDs, imported into Music from your personal music collection or purchased unprotected should be available in Photos.

iOS 10 Memories movies change music iPhone screenshot 002

Apple Music songs cannot be used for your movies due to licensing restrictions.

3) Go back to the previous screen and tap Done to save the changes.

Adjust movie duration

Tap a Memory Movie while it’s playing, then tap a duration at the bottom or swipe to choose how long the animated slideshow will run.

iOS 10 Memories movies change duration iPhone screenshot 002

You can choose from the following durations:

  • Short
  • Medium
  • Long

Some Memory Movies may not show all of the available durations because they may not have enough photos or the videos in them are too short.

To specify a custom movie duration in seconds, do the following:

1) Tap a Memory Movie while it’s playing, then tap the Edit icon in the bottom right corner (looks like three horizontal sliders).

2) Tap Duration and set the duration for this movie in minutes and seconds.

iOS 10 Memories movies change duration iPhone screenshot 003

3) Tap the Play button to preview the movie with the newly selected duration or go back to the previous screen and tap Done to save the changes.

And that’s all there’s to it

Memories is a fantastic feature and it won’t disappoint you—I promise.

It does take some time getting used to, but you’ll be awarded immensely once you get the hang of Memories in Photos armed with knowledge in this tutorial.

There’s something inherently playful and nostalgic about rediscovering your photos with Memories. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead, launch Photos and explore the Memories that Photos has already picked for you.

Save ones you’d like to keep, then go about customizing the beautifully animated Memory Movies to your heart’s content and don’t forget to share them with friends and family and any people included in the Memory.

Like this how-to? If so, we’d appreciate if you passed it to your support folks and shared the write-up on social media. Don’t hesitate to shoot us your submissions for future tutorial coverage at tips@iDownloadBlog.com.

  • Ángel Javier Esquivel

    well, that’s one great post here

  • Awesome post, Christian, thanks

    • 9to5Slavery

      Sebastien I’m having trouble seeing all the photos listed in selection why is that?

      • I don’t understand what you mean

  • Chastity Elliott

    When I try to add photos to the memory I get an error message saying they could not be downloaded from itunes cloud but I’m unsure as to why and have yet to find a fix. Any ideas?