Photos is a free photo editing app and image library for every Mac, iPhone, and iPad. It’s completely free, easy to use, and has the benefit of syncing across all your devices if you take advantage of Apple’s iCloud Photo Library (for which you’ll need to pay for iCloud storage, from $0.99 / £0.79 per month for 50 GB).
Until 2015, the Photos app on the Mac was called iPhoto. When Apple replaced iPhoto with Photos in 2015, it also stopped selling another photo app, Aperture, which offered more advanced image editing. Photos has more in common with Photos for iOS and very little in common with Aperture. It’s not a professional image editing app, but it’s easy to use and will do basic to moderate photo management and quick image adjustments.
The app is a great tool for organizing your photos. It organizes your photos and videos into the same years, collections, and moments as they do on iOS. You can assign photos to albums and shared albums and projects. Finding images can be made easier by pointing people to them so that you can, for example, see each image of a specific person in your library. Add a year to your search to see all of that person’s photos this year. You can also search all your photos with cats, plants or the sea, for example.
If you are interested in the image editing feature, you can apply the same Instagram-like filters that are available in the iOS version of the app, but you can also adjust the light, color, switch to black and white, remove red-eye, adjust white balance, reduce noise and sharpen. There is a Heal tool, but there are no pen or brush-based tools in the Edit toolbox. For example, you cannot sharpen or blur individual spots in an image, or correct the brightness/darkness of areas of an image. You also cannot add text or shapes or make selections. For quick editing, you can click on the “Auto Enhance” icon, which adjusts the color and contrast of an image, making images look brighter and more colorful. For tips and help, see How to edit photos for Mac.
The photos are very easy to use and you can edit and enhance the images, easily share them with friends and family directly (via Shared Albums) or on social networks like FaceBook. But if you want more editing tools, you may need to look further – in which case, check out our alternatives below.