Photos for OS X uses the same hierarchy as Photos for iOS — intelligently grouping images and videos into moments, collections, and years.

That lets Photos for OS X show you small moments in time and space, like yesterday at the park, but also collections of moments marked by larger changes, like that party across town or that week at the beach, and even an entire year all at once. That way you can quickly zoom out, drill down, or scrub through to find exactly the photos and videos you want to look at, edit, or share. And all it takes is a few clicks and swipes!

Note: You can't manually add an item to a specific moment, collection, or year — not without some metadata hackery, at least. They just take whatever you bring in and intelligently sort them into the right time and place.

How to move between Moments, Collections, and Years smart groups

  1. Launch Photos for Mac.
  2. Click the Back button to move from a photo to moments, moments to collections or collections to years.
  3. Click on the Forward button move from years to collections or collections to moments.
  4. Click on a section of a year to move to that collections, or a section of a collection to move to that moment, or an item in a moment to move to that image or video.
  5. Tap an arrow key to move between photos and videos in a moment.
  6. Click on a photo or video to select it or double-click on a photo or video to go to it.

How to scrub through and quickly jump to a picture or video in Collections or Years

Because of the volume of photos in collections or years view the thumbnails are small and can be hard to see. Luckily there's a scrubbing gesture that not only lets you get a better look, it also lets you jump immediately to that picture or video so you don't have to click all the way through.

  1. Click and hold down on the year or collection view.
  2. Move your mouse or trackpad pointer around, in any direction, to get a larger thumbnail preview.
  3. Let go when you get to the picture or video you want, and you'll be taken directly to it.