What's new in Photos for Mac in High Sierra

macOS High Sierra
macOS High Sierra

Apple's newest version of macOS, High Sierra, is bringing a some optimization, new features, and exciting changes to various parts of the software. Not only will your Mac feel like new again with High Sierra, but you'll also notice a bunch of Apple's native apps have gotten some significant upgrades.

Photos is Apple's photo filing app that you can connect to your iCloud account to organize, edit, and view all your photos and videos. Photos is getting a few upgrades with macOS High Sierra, and I'll give you a quick break down of the most significant changes!

Live Photo effects

Apple announced that iOS 11 would bring a few new effects you could add to your Live Photos, and Photos in macOS High Sierra will be able to add those same effects.

The three new effects are called Loop. Bounce, and Long Exposure and you can change them whenever you want with just a couple of clicks. Here's a quick rundown of what each effect does:

  • Loop: Much like the name implies, this effect will put your Live Photo into an endless loop, so you'll be able to re-watch that moment in time over and over again.
  • Bounce: If you're familiar with Instagram's app Boomerang, you'll understand how the Bounce effect works. Essentially, the Live Photo will play forwards and then backward, "bouncing" back and forth between the start and the end.
  • Long Exposure: This effect will add an artificial long exposure to your Live Photo causing the images to bleed together. Long Exposure will look particularly cool with pictures that feature running water or other moving objects that have continuous movement.

Our very own Rene Ritchie took a sample of what both the Loop and Bounce effects look like and posted them on Instagram:

A photo posted by on

A photo posted by on

Live Photo editing

On top of the new Live Photo effects, macOS High Sierra also allows you to edit Live Photos in a few new ways giving you better control over how your Live Photos look.

Among the new tweaks you can make is the ability to trim your Live Photos to a shorter length, select a different key photo, and even mute your Live Photos. All these new features will be readily available in the editing menu within the Photos app.

Advanced editing tools

Probably the feature I'm the most excited about in macOS High Sierra, the Photos app will gain some seriously advanced photo editing tools, so you can tweak all your favorite shots without having to import them into different editing software.

When you take a photo into the editing menu, you'll be greeted with a ton of new editing tools that are going to allow you to modify your pictures like the pros. You can adjust the white balance, levels, curves, and definition of all your photos to give them that little added extra touch of love that turns a good photo into a great photo. Plus, you can also adjust other aspects like sharpness, noise reduction, selective color, and you can even add and adjust vignettes.

If you're used to using professional photo editing software like Photoshop, these new tools in Photos probably won't stop you from using those high-level programs; however, for the average joe, these tools are a huge upgrade from what macOS previously offered.

Permanent Sidebar

In macOS Sierra, you navigate the Photos app by use of the top toolbar and the optional sidebar, but that's all changing in High Sierra.

The sidebar will be permanent, meaning you can't hide it or make it go away. Plus, most of the functionality of the old top toolbar is now incorporated into the new sidebar. You'll use the sidebar to access your shared library, various photo albums, and projects, and it's also where you will create new albums and folders when you need.

What's your favorite new feature in Photos for macOS High Sierra?

Let us know in the comments below!

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.