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Photos Needs to be Simpler

Apple’s Photos app is the default location for saving and sharing photos with friends on iOS. It’s a place where I spend a lot of time either deleting old screenshots (unique to us bloggers) or sorting images into albums as best I can before syncing them with iPhoto. The app has never made much sense to me, between how it simply handles moving images into albums from the Camera Roll or into Photo Stream, and I don’t particularly care for how it whisks away old photos after a period of time on a per device basis in Photo Stream. Peter Nixey was featured on Hacker News earlier today for his thoughts on how managing photos could be better on iOS, and I agree with the general idea:

I want the canonical copy of my iPhoto library in the cloud. One iPhoto library in the cloud, many devices with access to it. I want to edit, organise and delete photos on any device and see the same changes on all other devices. No master/slave setup - just straight cloud access.

I get that there are limitations and lots of things happening in the background, but a lot of that makes itself evident in Photos if you look closely enough. I don’t necessarily agree with Peter’s pricing ideas or that Dropbox and the like are even a threat. But what I do agree with is that the dumb syncing silo that is Photo Stream has to go. Camera Roll can stay as it is — I don’t necessarily need the two merged. When I move photos from the camera roll into a new album, that photo should be gone — moved from my Camera Roll. And those albums should simply show up everywhere from my iPhone to my iPad and on my Mac or Windows box. The “duplication” that happens everywhere with photos right now on iOS is absolutely crazy. And if I want to use the iPhoto app on iOS instead… can’t I just make that the default?

I love taking pictures on my iPhone. But the syncing, the managing, the sorting… it’s not great.