July 19, 2019

I am a big user of my ipad when I travel. I love to shoot and then review the daily take on my ipad. Generally, I create at least one photo album to store the trip’s photos. If I am shooting a lot, I may create an album for each day. At some point, the number of albums I had became so numerous that I started spending a lot of time just trying to find a particular album.

One of the things that always bugged me about organizing my photos on my iphone or ipad was the flatness of the organizing structure. Many albums could be created, but they all were organized at the same level as Camera Roll. Then along came IOS 12.3. Apple introduced a new organizing structure, the folder. Now, an organizing structure with as much depth as you want now exists. You can create a folder and then place albums within the folder. And yes, you can create multiple layers such as Folder, Album, Folder, Album.

How do I start?

The feature is hidden a bit. If you go to Photos, Albums, and tap the + symbol in the top left corner, all you will see is New Album and Shared Album.

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So, how do you find this new feature? Well, instead of tapping the + symbol, tap on See All, then Edit. Once again, you will see the + symbol. However, when you tap it, you will see new choices – New Album and New Folder.

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Tap New Folder and the dialog box to name the folder will appear.

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Now that you have a new folder, you can tap on it and create albums within it just as you would normally do by tapping Edit and then the + symbol. The cool thing is that you can create folders with albums or folders with albums that have a folder in it with albums in that folder ad infinitum, allowing you create as simple or complex a storage system as you want.

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Clearly this is version 1 of this feature, missing a lot of functionality.

My biggest issue is that there is no drag and drop of existing albums into a new folder or moving an album from one folder to another. If you want to move your photos into a new folder and album you will have to do the following steps:

1. Create the new folder
2. Create the album you want in that folder. You can use the same name at different levels.
3. Go to the old album. Select all the individual photos and add them to the new album in the new folder.
4. Delete the old album.

Another issue is that when you are importing photos and want to import them somewhere other than the Library (why it isn’t called Camera Roll is another one of those mysteries of life) the hierarchical structure is not visible. You see simply see a long list of albums whether or not they are in a folder.

Finally, no user- organized order of albums within a folder exists. Essentially they show up in the order you create them. Here is an example of where this could be a problem. Suppose I make a folder called US designed to contain an album for every state I visit. I take a drive from Austin to Washington DC, adding an album for each state that I photograph as I pass through. So, I have Texas, then Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, DC. First, they are not in alphabetical order which is what I might want because from DC I am heading to New England where I will a lot of states. Then I take my long awaited photo workshop in Alaska. It goes at the end of the list and there is nothing I can do about it. There is no logical order unless I create a folder first and enter every single state (in alphabetical order) whether or not I will ever get there.

So there you have it. A simple, useful, but mostly undocumented feature that I hope will be a great aid in organizing your photos on your ipad or iphone.

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