How to tell Photos it recognized the wrong person

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Photos app is usually pretty good at recognizing people.
Photos app is usually pretty good at recognizing people.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Photos app’s Faces feature is fantastic. It does a pretty good job of gathering all the pictures of a person together, for both browsing and search. And it’s really easy to add new faces to the list. But what about managing those faces? What if the Photos app’s AI added some photos of a stranger into the photos of your husband?

It’s easy to tell your iPhone or iPad that a photo does not contain the person it thinks it does. Unfortunately, it’s a real pain to find the setting you need to tweak.

Today we’ll see how to tell the Photos app that a mistakenly recognized face is not actually that person after all. We’ll also see how to set a key photo, so you can pick the main image that represents that person in the overall album view.

How to tell Photos it recognized the wrong person

This is the regular Faces management menu, accessed by tapping the three-dot icon.
This is the regular Faces management menu, accessed by tapping the three-dot icon.
Photo: Cult of Mac

First, open up the Photos app and tap the Albums tab. Then tap the People & Places album. You’ll see all the faces that Photos has compiled. Tap on a face to see all the photos of that person. If one of those photos is of someone else, here’s how to correct it.

First, tap Select. Then, tap the incorrect photo. Then, tap the Share arrow.

You can only get here via the Select option.
You can only get here via the Select option.
Photo: Cult of Mac

This brings up the regular iOS share sheet. Scroll sideways on the bottom (black-and-white) row of icons until you find a button called Not This Person. Tap it, and the photo will be removed from that person’s album.

When in the Photos app's Select mode, you can toggle between a wide view and a close-up Faces view.
When in Select mode, you can toggle between a wide view and a close-up Faces view.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The tricky part here is that you must first tap the Select button, and then tap the photos(s) that you want to remove. You can’t just select a single photo by tapping it and sharing it. If you do, you won’t see the Not This Person icon in the share sheet. The setting is so hidden that you might want to bookmark this post, because you’ll have forgotten the trick the next time you need it.

How to set a key frame photo for Faces

Now that all the photos of that person are correct, let’s pick a favorite image to be the key photo. This photo will show up anywhere that a thumbnail of that person is used in the Photos app. To select the picture you want, tap Select again while viewing that person’s album. Then tap the photo you want to use as a key photo, tap the Share arrow, and then tap the Make Key Photo.

It’s a pain, but at least you only have to do it once.

Pro tip for power users

To make this easier in the future, you can long-press and drag the two buttons — Not This Person and Make Key Photo — across to the far left of the share sheet. This puts them first in the list whenever you activate it.

But because these buttons only appear in a very specific circumstance, putting them at the beginning will not affect any other share sheet organization you may have done.

This tip works anywhere, too. Any time you have an app-specific set of share options, you can move them to the front of the queue without spoiling your regular share-sheet order.