How to organize photos on Mac

How to organize photos on Mac
How to organize photos on Mac

Tips on organizing your photos with your Mac so you can find the images you want. How to create albums, how to share them with friends and family, and how to allow them to comment or add new photos.

If you have been an iPhone, iPad or Mac user for a long time, you will have noticed the thousands of photos and videos that you can take per year. In the era of cloud services, it is necessary to be orderly and catalog them properly to be able to locate them quickly when you need it.

It is clear that what we need is to be able to have methodologies to classify the photo libraries and albums created in order to help us find the content we need or facilitate processes such as sharing them with friends or family.

This is where the Photos application available on macOS comes into play, to make it easier to locate people or places, manage the different photo libraries, as well as have tools to edit and create presentations or albums.

We also explain how to edit photos using the Photos application on your Mac so you can add filters, remove red eyes, adjust tones, brighten images or make changes, rotate them and much more.

In this article we will share wise advice from our publishing professionals to help you make your photo library more accessible and easy when adding new photos or sharing them.

How to choose your favorite photos

There is a very simple way to organize the photos in order not to be overwhelmed every time you open the image library of your iPhone, iPad or Mac. If you usually use the Favorites option for those you like, you can choose this view to that only these are shown.

Select the image or images that you would like to mark as favorites and give the ‘Like’ using the heart icon that you will find located in the bar at the top of the window.

Alternatively, you can hover over the thumbnail of the image to see a heart in the lower left corner to check that the photo is selected as a favorite.

This will greatly facilitate the viewing of the different photos when you access from your iPhone, since you will have fewer photos to browse through when trying to create albums or want to share them on social networks such as Facebook or Instagram.

Use the ‘People’ function to locate them by their face

When you open Photos for the first time, the app scans the library to identify people in the photos. Once finished, you can open the ‘People’ album to see the photos organized according to their faces. This is where you can name them.

Click on the ‘People’ album, which appears in the left sidebar below albums, to see a grid of faces that Photos has identified. Double click on the face to view associated photos. To name a face, hover over it and click ‘Add name’.

The app is good at identifying faces, but it is far from perfect and there will be many faces in your photos that are not shown here. To add a new one, click ‘Add People’ and then choose someone from the grid shown.

Pro tip: you can select multiple people at once by clicking ‘Command’. They will then all be automatically added to the ‘People’ album.

If you happen to have many versions of the same person in the People album, you can click on them, then ‘Ctrl’ or right click on an image and select ‘Merge’ X people, where X is the number of faces on which you clicked.

All the photos identified in the different versions of the face will be grouped and identified under the same person. To set favorite people, right-click the ones you want and drag them to the favorites section at the top of the album.

To hide someone in the ‘People’ album, you just have to right click and select ‘Hide’ this person. You can set a ‘key’ face (the one shown in a person’s album) by double-clicking the person.

How to create an album?

Photos is pretty good at sorting photos into groups based on locations and dates. If you look at your photos in Months view, for example, you can see photos grouped by days and locations.

If you want to put together a group of photos to share on Facebook or make a slideshow (per the instructions above), follow these steps:

  1. Click on ‘Albums’ located in the left column and then click on the + that appears when ‘Albums’ is selected. Choose ‘Album’. Alternatively, click on ‘File> New Album’.
  2. An untitled album will appear. You can give it a name right now.
  3. Assuming you haven’t selected any images yet, the album will be empty: You can select the images first and then create the album, in which case those images will automatically fill the album. To add images to your album, you must click Photos in the left column or go to Favorites, Face, Places or other album.
  4. Once you’ve chosen the view mode, you can drag the photos and videos you want to have in your newly created album into the sidebar (or whatever album you’ve created).

 How to add photos to an existing album

It’s easy to add photos to an album that has already been created. If you want to add several at the same time, drag or draw an area with the mouse in which they are all encompassed, or else, press the ‘Command’ key while clicking on each of them.

Now you can add the new photos to the album by dragging them from the photo view to the album name that will be located in the left column of your screen. Additionally, you can select one and right-click to add one.

How to create a smart album

One advantage of using Photos on your Mac is that you can create smart albums. These albums are automatically updated based on the criteria you choose. If you want to make an album automatically updated with the latest pictures of your child, you can do the following:

  1. Click on ‘File> New Smart Album’.
  2. In ‘Settings’, choose the following condition: Person, [Person’s name].
  3. To add more criteria, click +, with the ability to add criteria for ‘Aggregated Data’. You can also restrict the photos that are put into Smart Album.
  4. Once you have your Smart Album open, click on the drop-down menu next to ‘Show’. You can choose to mark ‘All items’ or limit it by ‘Favorites’, ‘Photos’, ‘Videos’ or even by keyword.

How to share photos from Photos from your Mac

Now that you’ve improved the look of your album, it’s time to share it with others. One way to do this is by creating a shared album, which we will see below. But first we will look at some other ways to share photos.

You can quickly share a photo album via Mail, Messages, AirDrop, or simply by clicking the ‘Share’ icon in the menu at the top of the window. Alternatively, right click on the image or images and choose ‘Share’.

You can also add an entire album to an Album that you already have shared with your relatives or with anyone you invite.

How to share photos from your albums on Facebook or Instagram

You may be wondering how you can share your photos with social networks like Instagram or Facebook and do it from your Mac. This is something that was easy to do in previous versions of macOS Photos and also from your iPhone and iPad.

With the arrival of macOS Mojave, the option to share on Facebook or similar disappeared from the ‘Share’ tabs of the Mac. Now, the only way to upload photos from your Mac to Facebook is through Facebook.

  1. To upload photos to Facebook, you must start by creating a folder of the photos you want to upload to the network (we create a folder on our desktop and drag the photos to it; this will not delete them from Photos).
  2. Open Facebook, create a post, and choose Photo / Video.
  3. A search window will open allowing you to navigate to the folder containing the photos you want to upload.
  4. Select all the photos and click ‘Choose’.

How to create a shared album

We recommend ‘Shared Albums’ as an easy way to share photos with friends and family. In fact, you can create an album and share it with friends and family. Not only will they be able to view the photos, but they will also be able to comment, like, and even add photos themselves.

This is the closest you can get to a shared family album. (We long for the day when ‘Family Sharing’ will mean your photo albums are automatically shared too.)

  1. To create a shared album, hover over ‘Shared Albums’ in the sidebar and click + ‘Shared Photo Albums’.
  2. Rename the shared album
  3. and invite people (click ‘+’ and add people from your contacts). You can also put notes.
  4. Now, you can click ‘Add Photos’ in the bar at the top of the window, but this only gives you an All Photos or Favorites view. We recommend clicking Photos in the sidebar and choosing a photo album that you want to add to your Shared Album to optimize processes.

Please note that you will have to wait a few minutes while the photos are copied to the ‘Shared Album’.

At one point, you could make this album a public web page, which means that you could share the photos through a simple URL, or through user accounts on

How to change the order of your albums

The albums you create should appear in the order they were created, so the most recent album should be at the top. However, you can change the order so that the albums are sorted so that the oldest is at the top.

Simply right-click on ‘My Albums’ and choose ‘Sort’, then rename them so that they can appear as the oldest or the newest.

How to find photos by subject

Creating albums will make your Photos library neat and easier to navigate to locate moments or memories of a trip. Apple has made it easy to find photos because the Photos app can recognize objects within photos.

So if you want to find the photo you took of a peacock, you can type peacock in the search field and Photos will show you the photos of peacocks. Similarly, you can search for cake and see all your photos that include cakes.

If you’ve identified people in your photos, you can also search for a person’s name, and the result will include identified photos of the person. It is frankly revolutionary compared to the possibilities we had years ago.



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