Tips and tricks for getting the most out of Photos for Mac

Tips and tricks for getting the most out of Photos for Mac

The Photos app on the Mac got a user interface (UI) refresh with the introduction of macOS 11 Big Sur last year. Whether you have a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or any other Mac model, the Photos app offers the same tools that let users unleash their creative sides. While it’s lacking some features, when compared to professional editing software, it’s still decent for everyday average use.

We have prepared for you a list of tips and tricks that let you take even more advantage of the Photos app for the Mac.

1. Find My Face


Whether it’s dimly lit, a weird angle, or maybe a halloween costume shot, the Photos app sometimes fails to recognize faces. That really sucks when you take the People album seriously. Having people tagged properly in the Photos app allows you to search for moments including certain people. Finding the exact shot you’re looking for becomes such an effortless task that even Siri can do it for you.


Even after you connect your Mac to a power source and the Photos app indexes its contents, sometimes it misses a face or two. Fortunately, there’s a little-known solution for that. You can manually tag faces on macOS, even if the Photos app doesn’t detect them.

  • Launch the Photos app on your Mac.
  • Click on the desired photo that isn’t showing the face you want tagged in the list of faces.
  • On the top right of the expanded photo you’ll see a few buttons. Click on the far left Info (i) button.
  • Once the photo information — such as caption, location, and camera details — appear, you should notice an add faces section.
  • If there are already other faces recognized in the photo, they’ll appear there as well. Click on the circle with the plus sign (+) in the faces section.
  • A circle will appear on the photo. Drag it and resize it to fit the desired, unrecognized face.
  • Give the face a name.
  • The Photos app will now add it to the People album as if it had detected the face on its own.

This is helpful when you want to keep accurate records of your moments, especially when the Photos app doesn’t recognize your presence or that of friends or family members.

2. Introducing the iConcealer

Do you ever take selfies of priceless moments with people you love, which you know you’ll be viewing every once in a while? Or maybe you’re just taking a new professional shot for your LinkedIn profile? In either case, some people get bugged by that one gigantic pimple sticking out on their foreheads.

First, no person has perfect skin at all times. We all pass through breakout and clearer phases, depending on our diets, stress, hormones, and a bunch of other factors. Pimples are normal, and they shouldn’t make us feel bad about ourselves. However, we get it; sometimes they’re just in the way and sort of ruin an aspect of a cherished photo. The Photos app on the Mac has a solution for that.

While there are third-party apps that blur out your entire face to make your skin look smoother, personally I’m not a fan of them. They make people look unnatural in weird ways. Photos on macOS offers a subtler solution — Retouching. If you’re familiar with Google Snapseed, Retouching is pretty much the same feature. It uses machine learning to patch spot based on surrounding colors and patterns.

  • Launch the Photos app on your Mac.
  • Click on the desired photo that is showing the face you want to retouch.
  • On the top right of the expanded photo you’ll see a few buttons. Click on the far right Edit button.
  • You will see Light, Color, and Black & White options. Right below them you should find the Retouch buttons.
  • Click on it and adjust the size of your brush.
  • Drag or click on the blemishes and pimples and they’ll just disappear.
  • Click Done when you’re done with editing.

Retouch also works as a cloning tool, so you can hold on the Option key, then click on an area you want to choose as a source. Once chosen, you can release the Option key and start cloning the target spot based on the pre-selected source. This is useful if you’re covering a spot using different colors and patterns than those directly surrounding it.

3. Create unique Projects


Do you ever wish you could create a book, calendar, card, or maybe even wall decor out of your digital photos? Well, the Photos app on the Mac allows you to find the right tools to create your favorite project. Projects is a section in the app that allows you to choose a category — Book, Calendar, Card, Wall Decor, Prints, Slideshow, and Other. It then redirects you to the App Store and displays apps capable of creating the category you’ve chosen.

By default, Photos only supports creating Slideshows, without any third-party apps.

  • Launch the Photos app on your Mac.
  • Click on the Projects section in the bottom left corner.
  • There should be a plus sign (+) next to the Projects word in the sidebar. Click it.
  • Choose the type of project you want to create.
  • Click on the App Store when the list of available apps for such a Project shows up, unless you already have supported apps installed.
  • Once the app installs, launch it and create what you’re going for.

When you’re done, you could either save the Project as a digital copy or print it if you want a physical one. Either way, it’s a nice collection of memories to have.

The Photos on Mac app is significantly more capable than that on iOS, for obvious reasons. Apart from the three mentioned tips and tricks, there’s more to explore, such as more complex color adjustments and other features.

Do you depend on the Photos app for the Mac to edit your photos, do you use third-party software exclusively, or maybe a mixture of both? Let us know in the comments section below.

About author

Mahmoud Itani
Mahmoud Itani

Mahmoud is an Istanbul-based Beiruti who has always sought freedom through writing. His hobbies include keeping up with tech news, writing articles about Apple devices & services, crocheting, meditating, and composing poetry. You’ll likely find him jogging with his dogs at a park, swimming in open water, brainstorming at a coffeehouse, or merely lost in nature. He can be reached on Twitter @Mahmoudzitani or via [email protected]

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