iOS 13’s Photos prettifies your library, brings sliders everywhere & lets you edit videos

iOS 13 Photos: hero image

iOS 13’s Photos app brings new ways to browse and edit not just images, but videos too.

Announced at the WWDC 2019 keynote on Monday, June 3, 2019 ahead of commercial launch in the fall, the iOS 13 software update includes rich updates for the Photos app that make it easy and fun to browse your photos with intelligently curated albums, adjust the intensity of Portrait Lighting, enhance shots with a new monochromatic effect, edit videos and more.

Now with video editing

Prior iOS 13 versions required a third-party app with a Photos extension to edit video within the Photos app, like iMovie or Infltr. With iOS 13, videos can be edited on your iPhone or iPad out of the box. And it doesn’t stop there because nearly every tool and effect available for images within the Photos app can now be used on videos.

iOS 13 bring video editing to the Photos app.
Video editing using existing tools and filters in the Photos app on iOS 13, no additional apps needed whatsoever.

This includes the awesome Auto Enhance feature that does multiple adjustments to make any lifeless picture pop with a tap of the magic wand icon in the editing interface. That’s right, you can now tap that same icon and your iPhone or iPad will apply the video’s color levels, brightness, contrast, saturation and the like for maximum effect.

Best of all, you can now apply built-in effects to videos—as well as rotate and crop videos by using standard tools available right within the Photos app.

Revamped photo editing

The editing experience has been redesigned both visually and functionally, with new controls and gestures allowing you to control any adjustment or filter with ease. You will immediately notice all-new adjustment dials that let you apply an edit with precision.

The new adjustment sliders in the Photos app on iOS 13.
Photos’ filters and other effects now come with their own adjustment sliders.

Now every effect or adjustment has its own precise dial which makes it super easy to see at a glance which effects have been increased or decreased. Just hold your finger on an adjustment dial and drag up or down to increase of decrease intensity of your favorite filter. The effect icon now has a circular outline that gradually fills as you make the effect more or less prominent, with the current intensity printed inside the circle as a numerical value.

Adjusting effects with sliders in the Photos app on iOS 13
Current effect intensity is denoted with a number printed inside the icon’s circular outline.

Just for the kicks, select the Auto Enhance tool (the magic wand icon) and play with the slider to see how it adjusts parameters like brightness, hue and saturation in real time.

Intelligently curated library

The great thing about Photos in iOS 13 is its ability to temporarily hide images that are out of focus, similar shots, screenshots and so forth. This is accomplished by analyzing your image library and using on-device machine learning.

Browsing the library in the Photos app on iOS 13 with original aspect ratios
Browsing your library with original aspect rations, like before.

This new curated view applies to your best moments from every day, month and year and can be found under the Photos tab. What you’re ended up with is a carefully curated library that highlights the best images and significant events from the past day, month or year.

The cropped thumbnail view in the Photos app on iOS 13
But now, you can have the thumbnails cropped if you’d like to browse the library using a uniformly sized grid.

In the Year view, Photos can even recognize the same events from years past, such as all the WWDCs you’ve attended so far, and show them off properly. Another example would be your junior’s birthday images – with just a swipe in the Year view, you could see yearly albums of your kid’s birthday celebrations one after another.

And while you browse the library, any video content will play automatically as it comes into view, really helping bring your best media assets to life. Of course, you can still browse the full library—the clutter, similar photos, screenshots and everything—by using the All Photos view.

Portrait Lighting control

iOS 13 lets you change the intensity of light in Portrait Lighting shooting mode.

When you select Portrait Lighting, you’ll now see a slider similar to the Depth Control slider. Manipulate the slider to move the virtual light source closer or farther away from your subject. You can adjust the position and intensity of each Portrait Lighting effect.

Portrait Lighting intensity can be adjusted in the Camera and Photos apps on iOS 13.
Adjusting the intensity of Portrait Lighting in the Camera app.

Like with real portraiture photography, bringing the light source closer to the subject will sharpen eyes as well as brighten and smooth out facial features. Push the light farther away and you’ll create a more refined look.

Introducing High‑Key Mono

The Photos app in iOS 13 brings out a new effect: High-Key Mono. This monochromatic filter has been created especially for Portrait mode shots to help you create a gorgeous monochromatic look with little effort.

The new High‑Key Mono effect available for Portrait mode photos on iOS 13.
The new monochromatic effect is now available for your Portrait mode shots.

Powerful sharing

The Photos tab has been redesigned to help you find relive, and share your favorite memories. When using the Share sheet, tap Options to reveal a hidden settings screen where you can choose whether to share individual items or just an iCloud URL that the recipient can open to view or download the shared photos and videos.

Selecting items in the Photos app on iOS 13
Tapping “+” and “-” zooms you in and out of the selected view for easier multi-item selections

Other toggles available on that screen let you optionally include or strip away location information from shared media and decided whether AirDrop sharing should send a JPG version of the image with all the edits already applied or share your captures in their full original quality, with all adjustments included so that the recipient is able to adjust the edits when they import the image to Photos or even revert to its original.

The hidden share settings screen in the Photos app on iOS 13
You can now adjust some important sharing parameters in iOS 13’s Photos app.

Siri intelligence also recommends people and apps to share the selected items with, right there in the share sheet, based on selected content and your interactions with it and past behavior.

The Photos app includes iOS 13's redesigned Share menus.
Quick sharing via the redesigned Share menu.

And if you scroll vertically a little bit, you will reveal other sharing options and editing actions (like Duplicate, Hide, Save to Files, Copy Photos and more) along with any image-based shortcuts (previously created in the Shortcuts app).

Everything new in Photos on iOS 13

Here’s a quick overview of everything that has been improved, enhanced or newly introduced in iOS 13’s Photos app, including stuff we didn’t mention in this article.

  • All-new Photos tab: The all-new Photos tab lets you browse your photo library with different levels of curation so it’s easy to find, relive and share your photos and videos. You can view everything in All Photos, focus on your unique photos in Days, relive your significant moments in Months or rediscover your highlights in Years.
  • Auto-playing Live Photos and videos: Throughout the Photos tab, muted Live Photos and videos begin playing as you scroll, bringing your photo library to life.
  • Smart photo previews: In Days, Months and Years, photo previews are larger to help you distinguish between shots. Photos uses intelligence to find the best part of your photo in photo previews, which means you get to see the uncropped version of your photo when you tap to view it.
  • Contextual transitions: Animations and transitions keep your place in the Photos tab so you can switch between views — like Days and All Photos — without losing your place.
  • Removes similar shots and clutter: Duplicate photos, screenshots, whiteboard photos, documents and receipts are identified and hidden, so you see only your best shots.
  • Significant events: Months presents your photos by events, so you can rediscover the moments that matter most.
  • Event titles: The Photos tab displays the name of the location, holiday, or concert performer to provide helpful context for your significant events.
  • On this Day: Years is contextual, so it shows you photos taken on or around today’s date in past years.
  • Birthday mode: If you have birthdays assigned to people in your People album, the Photos tab will highlight your photos of them on their birthday.
  • Zoom in and zoom out: View your library in All Photos however you’d like. Zoom in for a closer look or zoom out to quickly scan through your library and see all your shots at once.
  • Screen recordings smart album: All your new screen recordings are now in one place.
  • Search enhancements: You can combine multiple search terms — like “beach” and “selfies” — without tapping each word in search.
  • Music for Memories: Soundtracks for Memory movies are selected based on what you listen to in the Music app.
  • Extended Live Photos playback: When you press and hold to play a Live Photo, Photos will automatically extend the video when you have Live Photos taken within 1.5 seconds of each other.
  • Preview intensity: As you apply an edit, each adjustment displays its intensity so you can see at a glance which effects have been increased or decreased.
  • Individually review each effect: Tap each effect icon to see what your photo looked like before and after the effect was applied.
  • Filter control: Control the intensity of any filter, like Vivid or Noir, to fine-tune your look.
  • Enhance control: Enhance now lets you control the intensity of your automatic adjustments. As you increase or decrease Enhance, you’ll see other adjustments — including Exposure, Brilliance, Highlights, Shadows, Contrast, Brightness, Black Point, Saturation and Vibrance — intelligently change with it.
  • Video editing support: Nearly everything you can do with a photo you can now do with a video. Adjustments, filters, and crop support video editing so you can rotate, increase exposure or even apply filters to your videos. Video editing supports all video formats captured on iPhone, including video in 4K at 60 fps and slo-mo in 1080p at 240 fps.
  • Nondestructive video edits: Video edits are now nondestructive so you can remove an effect like a filter or undo a trim to return to your original video.
  • Vibrance: Boost muted colors to make your photo less rich without affecting skin tones and saturated colors.
  • White Balance: Balance the warmth of an image by adjusting temperature (blue to yellow) and tint (green to magenta).
  • Sharpen: Change photos by making edges crisper and better defined.
  • Definition: Increase image clarity by adjusting the definition slider.
  • Noise reduction: Reduce or eliminate noise such as graininess or speckles in photos.
  • Vignette: Add shading to the edges of your photo to highlight a powerful moment using Strength, Radius and Falloff.
  • Updates to auto adjustments: Straighten, crop and adjust the perspective of your photos automatically.
  • Pinch-to-zoom support: You can pinch to zoom while editing to review your changes on a specific area of your photo.
  • Image Capture API: The Image Capture API allows developers to leverage the Camera Connection Kit to import photos directly into their apps.

To learn more about iOS 13, read Apple’s press release or visit

Who’s liking iOS 13’s Photos?

And that’s all you need to know about the redesigned Photos app on iOS 13.

What’s your favorite new feature of Photos, and why?

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