AMITIAE - Wednesday 15 July 2015

Cassandra: Duplication of Photos on the iPhone - Needs Some External Help

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


I think I have the hang of Photos on the iPhone and when I am out in town find this adequate in most cases for editing images. As well as those I take with the iPhone, I can import JPG images directly from my Nikon DSLR using an Eye-Fi card. The camera and iPhone are linked by Wi-Fi. I import the RAW (NEF) images to the computer when I go home.

Editing on iOS devices is quite straight forward and I usually stick to the Crop feature (which has a straighten tool), and the Adjustments (Light, Color and B&W). The sliders allow changes to be made quite quickly, but if I need some fine-tuning, tapping on the 3-bar icon to the right reveals a wider range of settings. Again, sliding the finger right and left on the scale gives the user good control over adjustments.

In most cases this is enough, but the icon to the bottom right with 3 dots allows access to those apps whose developers have made use of specific APIs and images can be edited from within Photos.

Original images or their edited versions are synchronised via iCloud to other devices: in my case a couple of Macs, an iPhone or two and an iPad. Once in a while, this does not go as planned. This week I had took a photo in an old barber's shop in Bangkhunnon - the Western side of Bangkok. After editing I made some additional changes in Effects Studio: a nice app that has some useful filters and effects. I was quite happy with the end result: a sepia finish with some slight vignetting.

As a note, another useful app that allows this in-Photos editing is Pixelmator (there is also a Mac app) and this is on sale this week for a bargain $0.99.

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Extra Editing Options in Photos on the iPhone

Oddly, the edited image did not appear in Photos on the Mac, or on the other devices. I checked in Settings > General > Photos and saw that the images were being uploaded, but this stopped and restarted several times. Despite trying some fixes, the 7 or so images refused to upload. As some were not essential (screenshots and a couple of poor shots), I deleted all but the barber shop image. Still it failed to upload. In the end I edited the image again and pressed the Revert to Original option.

I still wanted a sepia version, but I also wanted the option to delete the image if it went wrong again, but on the iPhone there is no way to duplicate an image. One of the options available is to Copy, but this is merely an alias: edit the copy and the original will change too.

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Original Image and Re-edited Sepia Version

I solved the problem for my purposes, by using the Duplicate feature in Photos on the Mac. This may not be available to all users, particularly those who run only with iPads and have no computer. The Duplicate item is at the bottom of the Image menu (above Delete) and is applied to the image or images highlighted. Once that option was used, I had two versions of the original and both appeared on the iPhone.

I was then able to re-edit the photo. I used the same series of edit tools and Effects Studio options. The new sepia image appeared in the libraries of all devices with no problem, so the cause of the original bottleneck remains unknown.

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Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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