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Too Embarrassed to Ask: Apple's New Photos App

Re/code answers your questions about Apple's new Photos app.

Asa Mathat

Too Embarrassed to Ask is a Re/code feature in which our reviewers answer any and all of your burning tech questions — including the ones you might be too embarrassed to ask your tech-savvy friends. Today, co-executive editor Walt Mossberg answers some of the questions readers and tweeters have asked since he published his review of Apple’s new Photos app.

Apple’s aging iPhoto Mac software was replaced this month by a new, faster, cleaner app called simply Photos. In my review, I gave it the thumbs-up. I do believe it’s better than iPhoto, and much more familiar to the hundreds of millions of people who have used iPhones and iPads to manage their pictures.

But replacing such a longstanding pillar of the Mac raises a lot of questions. Here are a few we received recently, with answers I checked with Apple.

I create a lot of print books in iPhoto … what happens to those projects after I switch to Photos? Can I still order books already finished in iPhoto? Can I continue working on unfinished books? Or can I at least recreate them using the same templates? … I can’t find any review touching on these print matters! — Elise

According to Apple, nearly all print projects will migrate to Photos and can be reedited and reordered there. The only exceptions are wirebound books and small softcover books, as these are no longer supported in Photos. If a user made a wirebound book, the collection of images used for that book will be preserved as an album in Photos, so the user can easily create a new book with the same images. More information on print products in Photos is available here.

If I upgrade from iPhoto to Photos, can I safely delete the iPhoto library, to save lots of space on my hard disk?

You can, but it may not save you the large amount of disk space you might hope for. If you’ve migrated to Photos and verified that all of your stuff is there, you can safely delete the iPhoto library without affecting your new Photos library. However, Photos and iPhoto point to the same master photos and videos, so having two libraries doesn’t double the amount of disk space. For more info, read this.

Can Apple’s new Photos handle more than one iPhoto or Aperture library? Your review mentions “libraries,” but others have reported that multiple libraries can’t be transferred into Photos. — Lucas

Like iPhoto, Photos lets you choose between working on one of multiple libraries. To switch libraries, or to choose another iPhoto/Aperture library to migrate to Photos, hold down the Option key, launch Photos and select the library you’d like to open. However, if you are also using the optional iCloud Photo Library to store your photos in the cloud and sync them to all your Apple devices, note that it is designed to work with just a single library. Apple calls this the System Photo Library. More information on the System Photo Library is here.

If you delete a photo on one device while using iCloud Photo Library, will it be deleted on all your other devices, saving space everywhere? Also, will it be deleted from the cloud?

According to Apple, if you delete a photo from a device that is using iCloud Photo Library, it will be deleted from your iCloud Photo Library, including the cloud and the devices using the cloud library.

Send your questions or topic ideas for Too Embarrassed to Ask to Your identity will not be revealed unless you indicate that you’d like it to be.

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