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How iOS 8 changes the ways you'll take and manage photos

Serenity Caldwell | June 5, 2014
Monday's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote was an exciting one for me on multiple levels, but the icing on the cake was seeing Apple's plan for handling images and video on iOS. Come the fall, the company's 1000-photo iCloud sync limit is history, to be replaced by an all-encompassing, some-storage-required iCloud Photo Library. It's a pretty big shift for both the company and its users, so before anyone panics, let's look at what's going to change with iOS 8 and what's staying the same.

The new and improved Camera app

While Apple didn't talk about iOS 8's Camera app much on stage during Monday's keynote, there were a few highlights here and there, and on Apple's website later in the day.

Time-lapse video: iOS 7's Camera app introduced the modal carousel, which offered users different options for shooting video, photos, slow-motion video, square images, and panoramas. iOS 8 looks to add a new mode: Time-lapse video. Just point your device and press record; the app will snap photos at dynamic intervals to create a timelapse video — no manual speed modulation or editing required.

Manual focus and exposure controls: Not only will developers have access to manual camera settings such as focus and exposure points for their third-party apps and extensions, but you'll also soon be able to independently control the focus and exposure of a scene in iOS 8. There are several ways the Camera app could implement this, including tap-to-focus with an exposure slider or two separate tap-to-focus reticles.

Self-timer for the back camera: Though front-facing selfies are all the rage, sometimes you want a bit more quality and control to your images. With iOS 8, it looks as though selfie-takers will get that extra edge with a camera timer. If it's anything like the similar feature found in third-party apps, it will likely have several options for a delayed shutter, probably up to 10 to 15 seconds.

Burst mode for older phones: When the iPhone 5s debuted, it included a quick burst mode, which let users press and hold the shutter button to snap multiple photos in succession. Owners of older iPhones got a somewhat slower version, which only snapped images once every half-second or so. In iOS 8, graphics optimizations will apparently give those users a quicker burst mode.

Panorama photos for the iPad: We've been able to take panorama photos on our iPhone since iOS 6, but the iPad has been left out of that fun. Fortunately, it looks like iOS 8 will bring the wide-format pictures to Apple's tablet as well — though you might get some looks as you pan across a vista with your 9.7-inch tablet in hand.

What's staying the same

Despite all these additions and under-the-hood changes, there's still a lot you'll recognize about the Photos and Camera apps in iOS 8.

Photos has largely kept the same organizational structure found in iOS 7, with your photo collection divided up into Moments, Collections, and Years as well as Albums. Your Shared Streams also remain intact — iCloud's service for sending albums of photos to your friends (or collaborating on shared albums) is still as robust as ever.

And the Camera app — while hooked into Photos in a new way — retains the same look and feel as first introduced in iOS 7. Come the fall, you'll just be shooting with a few more fancy tools in your toolbox.


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