When Apple originally took the wraps off iOS 8 at last year’s Worldwide Developers’ Conference, one of the great new features introduced was iCloud Photo Library, promising the ability for iOS and Mac users to keep one big, master photo library in the cloud, with albums and even edits automatically and transparently syncing across all of your devices. While the idea was a neat one, the actual timeframe for rollout has required some degree of patience, with the feature debuting piecemeal. iOS 8.1 last fall provided a “beta” version built into the update, a web-based portal was provided a couple of weeks later, and this week the preliminary and long-awaited Photos for Mac (Free) has finally arrived, completing the circle.
Bundled with the pre-release OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 seed, only registered Mac Developers or those who are participating in the OS X Yosemite Public Beta program will be able to get their hands on it for now, but it will likely be coming to everyone when the 10.10.3 update goes mainstream in a few weeks. Providing a user interface that those familiar with the iOS 8 Photos app will appreciate, Photos for Mac brings over a few other nice features from iPhoto and Aperture, including Smart Albums, Faces, and more advanced editing capabilities. A “Projects” section also includes the Apple Print Products such as cards and books previously found in iPhoto. As expected, the app will also simply open and import/convert your existing Aperture or iPhoto library, so if your photo collection is already there, you’re pretty much good to go. And while the iCloud Photo Library feature is actually still optional, if you’re an iOS user and willing to shell out for the iCloud storage, it’s a great way to keep all of the photos on your devices organized in harmony.