Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Everything new with the Photos app in iOS 12

The stock Photos app on the iPhone and iPad is home to all the images you shoot on your devices. Apple has made some great improvements in their massive iOS 12 update and AppleInsider is going in to show you everything that has changed.

For you

The most noticeable change is the new tab titled "For You." It replaces the outgoing "Memories" and "Shared" tabs and combines both of those categories as well as additional content.

Think of it almost as the Photos equivalent of the Apple Music "For You" tab. Along the top is a sprawling feed of shared album activity. Below are sharing suggestions. These are based on the AI's ability to recognize people in the photos. If it recognizes someone, it will suggest you share that album with them.

Memories is next, which is largely unchanged from iOS 11, comes next. It will promote different memories it thinks you may be interested in looking at, and new ones as they are made.

A new section called Featured Photos will highlight photos it thinks are well done.

At the bottom are effect suggestions. These will be for any Portrait Mode or Live Photo's you've taken. It could suggest photos that are great for a loop effect, or where they could be brightened up with Studio Lighting.

Searching for photos is way more powerful in iOS 12. Siri is able to help out looking out for more specific memories. Within Photos, Search has been upgraded to its own tab.

When actually performing a search, it is significantly faster than in the past (a common theme in iOS 12).

Multiple terms can also be linked together. After you search for something — like "water" — related terms will be presented below. Tapping any with add them to the query, fine-tuning the search. For our water search, we got suggestions based on locations, lake vs ocean, and dates.

There are also more search terms than ever. You could search for places in the past, but you can now be even more specific. You can search for photos taken at something like One Line Coffee, or even just "coffee shops" in general.


On the iPad, there are lots of changes to photo imports. AppleInsider covered them more in-depth in our iPad and iOS 12 feature, but it should make photographers overjoyed.

When importing photos from a camera or SD card, they can now be imported directly to a new or existing album rather than into the camera roll. Previously imported photos will be sorted out into their own section on the top, photos can be previewed full-screen before importing, during the import, the progress indicator can show the number of photos remaining, and import speed overall is quicker.


There are other minor changes as well. All media type albums have new icons. This looks better and makes it easy to tell which albums are which.

Swiping through albums is now horizontal versus vertical, which allows much more to be fit into the tab. Scrolling vertically goes between the different categories such as My Albums, Shared Albums, People & Places, Media Types, and Other Albums.

Other Albums is handy and shows imports, hidden photos, and those recently deleted.

Keep shooting

It is nice to see Apple putting so much effort into improving the stock Photos app, as it used to be problematic with large libraries. While there is still work to do, daily users should be happy with all the changes Apple has implemented.