Manage and Edit Your Photos on the iPad

Although you might not use your iPad as your primary photography device, the larger screen often makes it a better photo management option than your iPhone, and the Photos app is a great photo manager and image editor. You can use it to store and manage your pictures, edit them to get the most out of your snaps and share albums with friends and family.


1 – This sidebar is new for iPadOS 14. Show it by swiping in from the side of the screen or tapping the chevron in the top-left corner. To hide it, swipe it away or tap the screen away from the sidebar.

2 – Customise the sidebar by tapping the Edit link. Use the three-lines icons to drag items up and down the list.

3 – View your photos according to the year, month or day they were taken or look at all your photos.

4 – Toggle between viewing the thumbnails as squares or the full rectangular picture; whether taken in portrait or landscape mode.

5 – Tap here to select multiple photos. You can drag your finger to select multiple photos more easily.

6 – This action icon lets you zoom in and out of the photo thumbnails, switch between the square and aspect ratio grids and filter your photos to see all items, favourites, those you’ve edited, videos only and photos only.

7 – Tap here for your main photo library, as shown.

8 – The For You option curates your photos and displays them attractively.

9 – Look at your photos according to the people in them or the places at which they were taken.

10 – Look at photos you’ve marked as favourites or added recently. Here you can also search your pictures by title, notes, people, places and what’s in them.

11 – To open a picture, just tap on one here.

12 – Tap here to get to the photos you’ve recently removed and then undelete or permanently delete them. They’re kept here for 30 days from when you delete them, after which they’re automatically erased.

13 – After setting up an album and sharing it with others, it appears here.

14 – Here are your albums set up in the Photos app.

15 – At the foot of the screen, you’re shown how many shots are in your currently viewed album or collection and also (where applicable) videos.

General Tips for Using the Photos App

Tap a photo or video to view it. To zoom in on a picture, put your finger and thumb on the screen and slide them apart. When zoomed in, you can move it around by dragging with your finger.

You can also scroll them using the photo bar found at the foot of the screen. The open image can also be dragged left and right to swipe through your photo collection, picture by picture.

To delete a single photo or video, open it and tap the Trash icon; if it’s not there, the photo was added to your iPad through syncing and cannot be deleted in this way. Tap the Arrow-in-a-box icon for sharing options.

Photo Editing Made Easy

Open the Photos App and select the image you wish to edit from the Camera Roll. To enter editing mode and bring up the key editing tools, press the Edit link in the top right corner.

If you use iCloud Photos and the photo you’re trying to edit isn’t actually stored on your iPad or your photos are synced with your computer, it must be downloaded first. Just tap Duplicate and Edit.

It’s not just photos you can edit. You can use the Photos app editing tools on videos taken on your iPad as well as photos. You can also trim the start and end of the footage, by moving the end points.

There are two icons in the top right. Tap the Eye to get rid of red-eye on your photo. As instructed on-screen, zoom in and tap the red pupils on the photo to get rid of them. Tap the Three dots for options including opening it in another app or using Markup to annotate or draw on the picture.

The first of the three tools on the left of the screen is Adjust. Drag the row of circles to the right of the picture for adjustment tools. The first, the magic wand, is an auto-adjust that does everything for you. The others include tools for things like highlights, shadows, contrast, brightness, temperature and more.

The next tool, the three interlocking circles, gives you filter options. To apply a filter in real time, slide the row of thumbnails to the right of the picture. The first filter is Original, which leaves the picture as it is, while the others offer enhancements like Vivid Warm and Cool, Mono, and Silvertone.

To crop a picture, tap the Crop tool and drag the picture’s corners into the photo. The three circles to the right of the photograph (top to bottom) straighten the picture, skew it vertically, and skew it horizontally. To increase and reduce the intensity of these effects drag the bars that are found on their right.

Select Crop and there are extra tools at the top. These are (left to right) flip horizontally, rotate in 90° increments, change aspect ratio and access Markup and more options. The aspect ratio tool selected lets you choose from various sizes using the slider.

All the changes you make to a photo can be undone. The last adjustment can be removed by tapping the Reset link, in the middle of the top bar, or Cancel, on the left, to undo all adjustments. Once you are sure, confirm via the pop-up option.

Creating New Albums in the Photos App

To create a new photo album, on the main Photos page (accessed by tapping the ‘Library’ link in the sidebar), tap Select in the top-right corner.

Now select all of the images that you want to add to the new album. Tap on a picture to select it on its own, or drag your finger over several photographs to select them all at once.

Tap the Share icon to show this window, then select Add to Album, or Add to Shared Album, from the menu. You can then add your selected photographs to an existing album, or make a new one.

Record Your Location in a Photograph

In the Settings app, go to Privacy > Location Services and make sure Location Services are on. Take a picture using the Camera app, and you’re asked for authorisation to use your location. Tap an Allow option.

Every time you take a photograph, your location is now recorded by the iPad and embedded in the picture’s details, or ‘metadata’ to use the correct term. To test it and make sure it worked, take a quick photograph.

Close the Camera app, open the Photos app, open Albums (bottom of screen), and then tap Places. You see the locations where you’ve taken photos. Tap a location to see the images you took there.

Navigating the Photos App

With the Library sidebar option selected, in the bottom right corner, select Years in the options near the foot of the screen. Your photographs are arranged according to the year in which they were taken. Scroll up and down to cycle through the years.

Tap one of the photos, you’re taken to the Months view and shown all pictures taken that year, arranged into months. Tap one again and you move to Days, with that month’s photos arranged into the individual dates on which they were taken.

In the Days view, the pictures are arranged in a scrapbook style, a little like the Memories view offered in older versions of Photos. As always, you can tap a photo to open it. For a range of other options, tap the Three-dots icon in the top right.

The Three-dots icon gives access to (among other things) the Share icon. Tap this and you can share the photos you’re looking at in a variety of ways. You can also tap Play Memory Movie for a slideshow, featuring the pictures in question, set to music.

During a movie or slideshow, tap the screen for controls. You can change the music using the slider under the pic, change the duration, play and pause it and, using the Share icon, share or save the slideshow.

While the iPad is locked, and connected to a power supply, it curates your photo collection, analysing the images for subjects, faces and more. This information is used by the search facility, so it’s a good idea to do it often.

iCloud Photos Shared Albums

This feature must be turned on before you can use it, so go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Photos and make sure iCloud Photos is on. You don’t need to have Photo Stream on.

Open the Photos app and navigate to the photo thumbnails. Tap Select and tick the images you wish to share. When all your images are ticked, tap the Sharing icon in the bottom left corner.

Tap Add to Shared Album. In the pop-up, tap Shared Album to place the pics in a different existing album, or start a new one, in which case you can call it anything you like. Alternatively, add the photos to an album you’re already sharing.

If you’re starting a new, shared album, you’re then invited to add people with whom you want to share it. If they’re in your Contacts, just type their names. Completion suggestions are offered as you type; tap one of these suggestions to choose it.

Tap Next and you’re taken to this screen, where you can comment on your new, shared album if you wish. When you’re done, tap Post in the top right of the window to send an alert to those you’ve invited to see it.

To make changes to that album, in the sidebar, find the album in question under Shared Albums and tap it. Manage your photos here or, at the top, tap the silhouette icon to change its settings and/or invite more people.

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Ian Osborne

Ian has worked on computer and video games magazines since the legendary Crash and Zzap! 64 in the early Nineties, so he’s seen many changes over the years (including an expanding waistline and receding hairline). A lifelong Mac user, he bought his first Mac in the year 2000. It’s a testament to the resilience of the Mac that his mother is still using that computer to this very day.

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