How to add location to photos and videos in Photos for Mac

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”.

Smart album of photos with no location

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.

Assign location to a photo on Mac

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.

Add location data to Photos app on Mac

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.

Location info saved

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.

Hiding 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 Hide 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 Places option in the sidebar.

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

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. You can also show the map in different formats by clicking the Map, Satellite, or Grid buttons.

Places Map Photos App Mac

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

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