What Photographers Need to Know About iOS 10 and macOS Sierra

June 14, 2016

By Greg Scoblete

For many creative professionals, Apple products sit at the center of their workflow, so when Apple makes changes to its mobile and desktop operating systems, it’s kind of a big deal. And Apple made two substantial updates to both at its Worldwide Developer’s Conference yesterday, introducing iOS 10 for iPhones and iPads and a major update to macOS, dubbed Sierra–and no, that’s not a typo, Mac OS has been renamed “macOS.”

RAW Photo Support

It didn’t earn top billing (or any stage time) during the on-stage demonstrations, but according to Apple’s developer documentation, iOS 10 will support RAW image capture in the DNG format.

A New Photos Experience in iOS 10

Apple is giving its mobile Photos app face and object recognition plus a map view. Armed with this information, it will be able to automatically compile photo and video slideshows dubbed “Memories”–taking a page from Google Photos, which has had a similar capability. The big difference between Apple’s approach and Google’s is that Google is doing the object and facial recognition in the cloud (where your data resides) and Apple is performing it locally on your device, so none of your personal information has to leave your device.

Users can make some modest customizations to Memories, including changing the duration and text summaries as well as applying a few stock themes.

Apple’s “Live Photos” feature–the GIF-like animated stills introduced in iOS 9–are also getting some few features, including image stabilization, the ability to add filters to them and perform basic edits. Third party apps will also now be able to capture Live Photos.

Finally, Apple is adding a brilliance adjustment slider to the editing tools in Photos.


Siri Will Grow More Powerful

Apple is now allowing third party apps to integrate with Siri, which means the virtual assistant will be able to answer (or, ahem, attempt to answer) search queries directed at other apps. The most relevant example: you’ll be able to search for images and videos in apps.

Siri is also being integrated into macOS Sierra, so you’ll be able to search documents by voice as well as send Messages, create calendar invites and more. However, Apple isn’t throwing the doors to Siri wide open: only six classes of apps will be permitted to integrate with Siri and only “Photo Search” apps are making the initial cut.

Better Communication Between Apple Devices

Apple will now support copying images, video, and text from your iPhone to a nearby Mac — or vice versa. Details on this function were sparse but presumably it works similar to AirDrop but with fewer intermediate steps.

iCloud users will also now have a dedicated folder on the macOS desktop to access stored contents.

Better Memory Management on the Desktop & A New File System

macOS Sierra will remind you to delete used app installers and clears out duplicate downloads, caches, logs, etc. It will also delete items that have been in the trash for 30 days.

Apple is also developing a new file system that, it says, are built for the demands of the modern era. Developers will have access to it and while the details are a bit technical, it looks like speed and security are the two overriding goals of the new system. The system, called the Apple File System (APFS), is due next year.

Less Bloatware on Your Mobile Devices

iOS 10 will let you delete so-called “native apps” from your iPhone or iPad. The full list of deletable apps is here and includes things like iCloud Drive, Music, Voice Memos, Podcasts, Reminders, Calendar, Weather and more. Deleting apps means more room on your device for the digital contents you actually want.

When It’s Coming & What’s Compatible

A public beta of iOS 10 will be available in July and the full release is slated for the fall. It will work on iPhone 5 and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, the 4th gen iPad, and iPad Mini 2 and later, plus iPod Touch 6.
macOS Sierra public beta is available in July and the final version will be ready in the fall.