iOS 8 Photos app syncs full libraries across all devices, adds new search and editing tools

iOS 8 Photos App

Apple has updated the Photos app in iOS 8 with some great changes. Most importantly, Photos now sync with iCloud—a feature called iCloud Photo Library—so that users can access all of their photos from all devices at any time. In fact, iCloud can store more photos on the cloud that your physical device can hold, meaning you can get to all of your photos and any time courtesy of the cloud.

Even the edits that you make on your devices go up live to the iCloud Photo Library, and sync with all devices, including the Mac. Apple is working on a new build from the ground up photos solution on the Mac, which will be shipping later next year.

You can even upload videos, and save the original and full resolution versions of both photos and videos. This is all possible via a new tiered pricing plan, which is detailed inside.

The new Photos app in iOS 8 brings a bevy of awesome new features to the photo managing and photo editing experience in iOS 8. Here is a list of some the new features that you’ll find there:

iCloud Photo Library

As mentioned, iCloud Photo Library will allow you to store all of your photos and videos in iCloud and make them accessible from all iOS devices, the web, even the Mac. Photos are saved in their original formats. Even photos show in RAW format, which can be notoriously large, are saved in the original format. All of these files can be accessed from any device, and all of your changes, albums, favorites, and edits are synced everywhere.

Storage methods and pricing

As you might have guessed, being able to store such massive amounts of data comes at a cost. Users can max out at 1TB of data, which is a lot, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that much for prolific photographers. Professionals will still want to probably look at other solutions.

That all said, the pricing is competitive and much simpler than in times past. Here is a photo from the keynote where Craig Federighi outlines the pricing structure.

Photos iOS 8 2

The pricing for iCloud storage is as follows:

  • The first 5GB is free
  • 20 GB for $0.99/month
  • 200GB for $3.99/month
  • With tiers up to 1TB

So for less than $50 bucks a year, you can have 200GB of storage space for all of your photo and video content in their original form. Think Everpix-lite.

Smarter photo downloads

Just because you have full versions of all of your photos store on iCloud doesn’t necessarily mean that you need those full versions downloaded to your iOS device to enjoy them. The new Photos app is smart enough to download screen-optimized lightweight versions of your content for optimal space savings and performance.


Along with the improved storage and syncing capabilities comes search. Search allows you to intelligently search across your entire photo library. You can key in on various meta data, such as time, date, location, and more. iOS 8 will even offer you smart search suggestions so that you can quickly find the content that you’re looking for.

iOS 8 Photos search


Previous versions of iOS have allowed you to perform basic edits on your photos directly from the stock Photos app, but iOS 8 takes that premise and strengthens it. With that in mind, Apple is introducing a suite of smart tools to help you get your Photos looking right.

Smart composition tools

These tools allow you to do things like automatically adjust photo rotation to straighten horizon lines, or crop the image in at just the ideal ratio.

iOS 8 Photos Compose

Smart adjustments

iOS 8 will now let you perform a quick smart adjustment, which is basically a simple way for saying it will now automatically present to you optimized exposure, brightness, contrast levels and more at the touch of a button.

Filters and editing tools

Even third party developers can now join the fun. Starting with iOS 8, developers can now create their own app filters and editing tools for use directly in the Photos app.

iOS 8 Photos thirdy Party Filters

Yes, the Photos app has been opened up to other developers, which is huge news for anyone who likes to mess around with Photos directly on devices without syncing to a Mac.

Time-lapse videos

I don’t think anyone saw this coming, but you can now create time-lapse videos directly within the iOS 8 Photos app. The camera will snap photos at dynamically selected intervals, and compose a finished product all by itself. All you need to do is place your iPhone in an ideal location, swipe over to time-lapse mode, and have at it.

iOS 8 Time Lapse

Needless to say, the stock Photos app in iOS 8 is a pretty large upgrade over previous iterations of the Photos app. Apple has done an awesome job of adding the needed glue between the joists and therefore has created a more solid product.

What do you think about the update?