How to activate Photos’ hidden 3D Flyover view

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3d flyover photos
See all your photos on Apple's 3D Flyover map
Photo: Cult of Mac

The iOS Photos app might just look like a simple grid-like list, but it has a ton of hidden power. For instance,  you can see your photos on a full-screen, 3-D Flyover map. And with one simple swipe on a photograph, you can see where it was taken, see other photos taken nearby, and collections photos that your iPhone figures are related to the one you’re looking at. It’s a fantastic way both to find out more about your pictures, and to browse. After all, why limit yourself to flipping through pictures, one by one, in the order you shot them, like some film-camera using hipster luddite, when you can see your photos on a map in Apple’s glorious 3-D Flyover view?

See all the details about a photo

Here we have a picture I took of a bar that has the same name as my boss. But where was it? To find out, I can tap Details, or just swipe up, bringing in a map from below. Now we’re in the nerve center. You see a map with the photo placed on it, which you can tap to expand to full screen. On this map you can see all nearby photos, thanks to the location data that your iPhone saves in every picture you snap.

photos metadata view
See everything about your photo with a simple swipe up.
Photo: Cult of Mac

This screen will also detect the people in the photo, and show you a thumbnail for each of them. Tap the thumbnail to see all the photos you have of that person. You’ll also see a Related section, which is full of moments that Photos thinks you may want to see next. It pulls data from all over your iCloud to come up with these. For instance, it knows that you were at a friend’s home one day, because that friend is in your address book. It also knows about birthdays, events like Christmas, and so on. The suggestions are uncanny sometimes, and if you’re old enough to remember getting lost for hours in the family photo albums, you’ll recognize that feeling here.

Use Flyover to virtually ‘tour’ your own photos

Even without the satellite layer turned on, you get a great 3D view of many cities.
Even without the satellite layer turned on, you get a great 3D view of many cities.
Photo: Cult of Mac

But perhaps the neatest feature is Flyover, Apple’s map tech for virtual city tours. Flyover offers one of the best ways to view holiday snaps: thumbnails of your images dotted over Apple’s 3-D Flyover view. To access it, enter the map view for any photo, tap Show Nearby Photos, then tap the little i symbol at bottom right. Here you can change to Satellite view, and activate the 3-D Map.

This might be the best way to view travel photos since the novelty photo-printed coffee mug.
This might be the best way to view travel photos since the novelty photo-printed coffee mug.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Now, all the nearby photos are superimposed onto the Flyover view, and you can relive a vacation, only without having to avoid pickpockets, or keep raising your voice at the locals in an effort to make them understand English.

This tip works not just on your iPad and iPhone, but also in Photos for the Mac, so you can view your pictures on the big screen. And remember, you can also beam this view to Apple TV, which makes for pretty much the least-boring vacation slideshow ever.

All thse tricks also work on the Mac.
All these tricks also work on the Mac.
Photo: Cult of Mac

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  • Jason

    It doesn’t work for me. When I swip up it just gives me pre canned photo albums

  • MarkDeMaio

    thats very cool. i just tried it. thanks, i never knew that feature was there.