& iCloud Photo Library

Here are some brief notes on using Photos app with iCloud Photo Library on your Mac, iPhone and iPad.

There are two main sections in the Photos app — Photos and Albums.


Photos* is for time views — Moments, Collections, Years. These are automatically created groups based on location and date. Sorted by Date, oldest at top.

* On the Mac, it's at the top of the sidebar. If there's no sidebar, go to View menu > Show Sidebar.


Albums shows all the albums — custom ones, and automatic ones like Favourites, Videos, Selfies. It's also where you find the trash, now called Recently Deleted.

All Photos shows everything. Sorted by Date Added.

Custom albums (that you create) can be sorted in different ways on the Mac. Just drag items to change the order. Go to View menu > Sort for more options. The changes you make will happen on iPhone and iPad too.


  • In Photos (Moments Collections Years), tap a group of photos to zoom in.
  • Mac: Use the left/right arrows at the top left of the window also.
  • iPhone & iPad: Tap the blue link at the top left to go out.
  • When viewing 1 photo full screen on the Mac, use the left/right arrow keys on the keyboard (or swipe left/right on the trackpad) for previous/next photo. Also try Split View (View menu).


  • When you first enable iCloud Photo Library, a process of uploading and downloading begins. This process takes time, and depends a lot on the quality of your Wi-Fi and internet connection. Be patient. It may be hours or even days before your photo library looks normal.
  • The bottom of Moments shows uploading status and other syncing info.
  • The old Camera Roll album is gone. The All Photos album has all the photos. Sorted by Date Added.
  • Tap/click a location (above a group of photos) to see a map.
  • Photos on the Mac does not download items immediately when it isn't open. It does download at some point though. Open it if you want fast results.


If your photo library was originally an iPhoto library, it probably has a folder in Albums named iPhoto Events.

  • iPhoto Events has events and albums from the old iPhoto library.
  • Events can be deleted. The photos inside won't be deleted — they remain in All Photos.
  • Events can be moved out of that iPhoto Events folder into the sidebar or other folders.
  • To move several events at once, select the iPhoto Events folder so you can see all the events in the main window. Then select events and move.