Keeping track of unorganised photos in Photos.app

When Apple released Photos.app 5 months ago, I took the opportunity to subject my photo library a well needed reorganisation. I moved my photos over from Lightroom album by album, making sure I deleted any duplicates, bad shots and ones that—when being honest with myself—I knew I’d never look at again along the way.

It took a while but now that it’s done (and has been for some time) I feel much happier about the state of my photo archive.

Rather than having to do this again at some point in the future, I’m endeavouring to keep everything organised as I go along from now on. To help with this, I use 2 smart albums to help me keep track of things.

The first simply filters out screenshots to be deleted. There is only one condition for the smart album (“File” → “New Smart Album…”): Filename ends with .png.

A screenshot of my screenshot smart album settings

The second one is equally simple: it groups all of my photos that have yet to be assigned to an album. It’s condition is Album is not Any.

A screenshot of my unorganised smart album settings

So far Photos.app —with iCloud Photo Library turned off—combined with this system is working very well for me. If you have yet to try it out, I’d encourage you to do so.

Tidying up access

Following a temporary files-are-missing-and-I-didn’t-delete-them scare, I changed my Dropbox password. Whilst I was in my security settings, I checked the list of applications that currently had access to my Dropbox—something I can’t ever remember reviewing despite having had an account for many years.

18 apps had access, 12 of which had full access.

Whilst fortunately there weren’t any in there that I didn’t trust, there were plenty I didn’t need anymore and proceeded to revoke their access.

As I was scrolling down to the linked apps list, I was alarmed at the length of the linked devices list. 29 devices were linked to my Dropbox.

When you do a clean install on your Mac, iPhone, et cetera and Dropbox is re-installed and re-linked, it counts it as a new device. Once I figured that out and scanned the “most recent activity” column I was less concerned but again—I revoked access to everything that wasn’t needed leaving just 3.

Now that my mind was thinking about “What other services do I use that apps get linked to?” I went to check my Twitter account. Unlike my Dropbox, I have reviewed the list of apps that are linked to my Twitter account a few times in the past but not having used it in close to a year, I wondered what was in there that didn’t need to be. 23 apps that I no longer use had access. They too were revoked.

I consider myself to be pretty careful with which apps I give access to what so was surprised by how many had added up over time. Whilst I trusted (to a point) everything that did have access, 20-odd apps leaves a heck of a big margin for error.

If you haven’t done so in a while, I’d recommend checking your Dropbox, Twitter, et cetera, accounts for anything that has access that you no longer use.

From a user’s perspective, it’d be nice to receive and email from time-to-time from these companies recommending that the list be reviewed.

Dropbox’s account security settings.

Twitter’s connected services preferences.

Save for Web in Photoshop CC 2015

As of Photoshop CC 2015, Save for Web is deemed a legacy feature. It’s held up pretty well over the years I think, considering it was built on top of ImageReady which was first released in 1998 (again, nice to see the Photoshop team pushing things forward).

If, like me, your workflow relies heavily on Save for Web, then no need to worry just yet. No features have been removed from it and whilst it may be removed in the future, it won’t be going anywhere for time time being. Nor will this update have any affect on your actions and scripts.

From Jeff Tranberry’s blog:

The new Export As workflows are a complete redesign of how you export assets out of Photoshop. Export As has new capabilities like adding padding to an image and exporting shapes and paths to SVG. We also introduced the Quick Export option, which allows you to export an entire document or selected layers very quickly with no dialog.

I’ve already written about some of the new Quick Export options, but the “adding padding” part is particularly interesting to me here. It’s absence in previous releases is one of the reasons I have never used Generator for day-to-day work.

From Photoshop’s documentation:

If your asset needs to occupy a certain width and height, specify those values as the Canvas Size. The Export As… dialog updates the preview to center the image within those bounds.

Quick Export in Photoshop CC 2015

Amongst the banner features announced for Photoshop CC 2015, there are a few small niceties that have been added too. My favourite so far is “Quick Export as PNG”.

Before now I had an action that would duplicate my selected layer or group to a new document, trim the transparent space on all sides and save it as a PNG to my desktop. But no more.

There are 2 different ways you can use Quick Export. Either by going to “File” → “Export” → “Quick Export as PNG” if you want to export the whole document or by right clicking on a layer or group and selecting “Quick Export as PNG” from the menu.

Quick Export as PNG shown in the Photoshop File menu

You can of course set a keyboard shortcut for both of these. To export the whole document, open up the keyboard shortcuts window (“Edit” → “Keyboard Shortcuts…”) and under “Shortcuts For: Application Menus” toggle “File” then “Export>” and click on “Quick Export as PNG” to set your shortcut. For layer and group exporting, go to “Shortcuts For: Panel Menus”, toggle “Layers” and click on “Quick Export as PNG” to set your shortcut. I like Control + Command + E for the former and Control + Shift + Command + E for the latter.

Bonus tip: For years now I’ve had my Caps Lock modifier key set to be Control instead. It makes a drastic improvement to the speed and comfort of using these sorts of shortcuts. You can change it by going to “Keyboard” → “Modifier Keys…” in the System Preferences.

My Keyboard settings

A post WWDC link roundup

As per usual, a lot of content got published in the hours following this year’s WWDC. Here’s a roundup of what I found particularly interesting:

  • Dan Moren’s bullet point breakdown of everything new. He’s gone through Apple’s website and press releases and found plenty of things that didn’t even get a mention in the keynote. If you only read one of these, it should probably be this one.

  • I watched the keynote, read through Moren’s notes, Dieter Bohn’s post on The Verge and the Music page on Apple’s site. Despite what Bohn says 1, I’m still not entirely sure what Music wants to be though. This is what I’m most disappointed about, I had such high hopes. Overall then, I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Drang’s piece. More specifically, this portion:

    But while the advantages of a multifunction device are obvious, the advantages of a multifunction app aren’t. The App Store’s success is largely based on tightly focused apps, not sprawling suites.

  • Federico Viticci’s complete overview of iOS 9 isn’t required reading if you watched the event, I did really like this remark in it however:

    The iPad was at an inflection point – still failing to convince some tech circles of the benefits of a tablet – and the changes coming with iOS 9 are a reassuring sign of Apple’s commitment to the uniqueness of the device.

  • From Apple’s pre-release Mac Developer Library, Responding to Force Touch Events from JavaScript. This’ll be available for Safari, Dashboard, and WebKit-based applications.

  • Also from the pre-release Mac Developer Library, a redesigned web inspector is coming to Safari 9. I’m waiting to be convinced on this — that looks like an awful lot of chrome at the top of the window.

  • Last but not least, screenshots! Credit for the El Cap screenshots goes to Jonatan Castro. The iOS 9 ones come from /u/roonieone.


  1. “[W]hat I did see was a mostly functional and mostly straightforward music streaming app.”