My Problem with Apple Photos as a Photographer

A while back, Apple gave us a really cool feature in the Photos app: reading text in the images. Combined with the ability to detect faces, locations, etc., this is immensely useful. You can search for things like photos of your favorite slice of pizza with relative ease. But I, like many photographers, send images to my iPhone from my Mac or other devices. And for some odd reason, Apple neglects to give us the option to search for one of the most important things. What am I talking about?

To come right out with it, I’m talking about file names. In this way, Apple Photos is the equivalent of the book-smart friend who severely lacks street smarts and experience. We’ve worked with tons of photographers over the years for this site, and we know how important file names can be. Photographers use them to detail the names of projects, specific renders of photos, etc. With that said, for as smart as Apple Photos is, you can’t search for photo filenames. 

Go ahead and try it. Many times I’ve had to download images from our site for sharing on our social media pages using my phone. But when I want to use an older image, it sometimes just makes more sense to redownload the photo instead of trying to find it. It creates a chaotic mess. Our website names our images very specifically though, and if the system could read those filenames, it would be a huge change for photographers and social media managers.


You might think that I could type into the search bar and look for exactly what my heart desires. But that’s not the case all the time. Apple Photos won’t always bring up an image of an egret if I’m looking for one. It can’t understand what I mean when I type “stars” into it. One would think I’d want images of the stars I’ve photographed above NYC. But if I type in things like sky, night sky, or other parameters, it still can’t find those photos. It also can’t find the images that I shot with my Fujifilm X Pro 3. What’s more, it can’t find the photos that I’ve shot with my Profoto lights. If I’m shooting street photography, the app won’t be able to detect exactly what I’m looking for. And at times, I wouldn’t even know how to tell it what I want to bring up. Sometimes it’s indeed just easier to find the filename I need.

I know you’re going to say that I should use the Files app for that. But let’s be very frank here, the files app is an outdated thing that looks like it was made before Windows XP. It also has its quirks, like not being able to safely eject USB devices. Further, it also doesn’t let you easily find files you might download like a PDF document or something of the sort. 

So what can Apple do? Well, it’s probably time to make the search more universal and include things like files. And merging the two apps isn’t a terrible idea. Apple’s marketing gurus could come up with a far better name than I could for this as I can only think of stuff like stash or stuff.

And with that, I can hear Steve Jobs turning over in his grave.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.