How to switch to iOS 8’s iCloud Photo Library right now

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[UPDATE: Lots of readers report that the new option to activate iCloud Photo Library isn’t showing up on their devices. I’m looking into it. So far I know that the GM version — the one I used to write this guide —  and the final version are identical, build number 12A365. My guess is that Apple turned off the beta already]

iCloud Photo Library is rad. The idea is that all your full-res photos (including RAW photos) reside on Apple’s servers, and you access them from all your devices.

That’s a change from Photo Stream as it is now, which stores only the last 1,000 photos you took, not your whole collection. Apple has also introduced new tiers of iCloud storage pricing to cope with all your photos (and videos). This is now live, and I signed up for the 200GB option ($4 per month) to test it out.

Let’s take a look.

iOS 8 gives the Photos app superpowers

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Photos on iOS 8 are so good that you will be able to ditch a whole home-screen folder’s worth of editing and organizing apps. That’s not an exaggeration: Apple’s new mobile OS packs in so many great new features that – even without the extending abilities of iOS 8’s new plug-ins – you can do pretty much any edit right there in the photos app.

The camera, too, has gotten an upgrade, and – maybe the most important for some – so has the iCloud Photo Stream, which will now give access to all your photos, from any device, whenever you want.

Sounds pretty good huh?

The iPhone 6 camera is the only camera you need

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Your iPhone 6 will take better photos than most pocket cameras.
Your iPhone 6 will take better photos than most pocket cameras.

Two things strike me about the camera in the new iPhone 6 models. One is that you can take better pictures; the other is that the iPhone is now a much better place for viewing those pictures.

With their bigger, brighter screens — and iCloud’s new Photo Albums feature (which stores all your photos, ready to view, in iCloud) — the iPhone 6 and its larger sibling, the iPhone 6 Plus, are looking to be the best smartphones yet, from a photographic point of view.

App Watch: Plain old text and widgets (lots of widgets)

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Widget, widgets, widgets. Boy, have we got some widgets for you. And text. Plain text. Plain old text, turned into a calculator. And widgets. Did I mention those? Weather widgets. Battery widgets. And yes, text widgets.

Read all about these new widgets and other new apps in this week's App Watch.


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Gadget Watch: Staying home with robots

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Who needs to go out outside this week? Not us: We have headphones, a home-monitoring video camera, a robot to clean the floors and a keyboard that sleeps on your desk, all ready to play with your iDevices. Determined to leave the house? Take the GoPro PowerPole with you and then offload the footage to a new wireless, battery-powered hard drive from Western Digital.

Who needs to go out outside this week? Not us: We have headphones, a home-monitoring video camera, a robot to clean the floors and a keyboard that sleeps on your desk, all ready to play with your iDevices. Determined to leave the house? Take the GoPro PowerPole with you and then offload the footage to a new wireless, battery-powered hard drive from Western Digital.


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How to create and use custom presets in Lightroom Mobile

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How about using your own Lightroom develop presets on iOS? Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
Wouldn't it be great to use your Lightroom develop presets on iOS? Here's how to make it happen. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I can’t tell you how much I love Adobe’s Lightroom Mobile. But like an insatiable lover, I want more. Specifically, I want to add my own presets. LR Mobile ships with a selection of the desktop app’s image presets built in, but unlike the desktop version, you can’t save your own settings as a preset, nor can you add any made by third parties. Or can you?

In this tutorial, we’ll see how to add any preset to Lightroom Mobile, using any and all of the image-editing tools available in the Mac version and making them available on iOS.

Lensbaby for iPhone is frustrating yet awesome

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The lensbaby LM-10, shot through a fisheye lens and two mirrors.
The Lensbaby LM-10, shot through a fisheye lens and two mirrors. Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I like the Lensbaby that I have for my regular camera, but I frikkin’ love the Lensbaby LM–10 for the iPhone. Like most things that make the trip from elsewhere to iOS, the little Lensbaby offers a subset of the original’s features, but they are – dare I say – a more focused set of features.

Let’s just say the iPhone Lensbaby is about the funnest iPhoneography accessory around.

Get a taste of Apple’s photo future with Lightroom Mobile

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The same photo, on all your machines.
The same photo, on all your machines: This is the future. Images: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

OS X will get a new Photos app next year that will keep all your pictures in sync across all your devices. It will work with the iOS 8 Photos apps on iPhone and iPad to match up your full-res photographs, your albums and even the edits you make to your pictures.

The changes are a ways off, but fret not -– if you use Adobe’s Lightroom Mobile, you can enjoy this fabulous cross-platform photo synchronization right now.

App Watch: Stargazing, light-leaking and book-recommending

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This Labor Day holiday we take things easy. Whether stargazing with Starwalk 2, taking a walk and remembering the hot spots along the way with Rego, getting a recommendation for a good read with Bookvibe, or adding so retro-style light leaks to our photos with a new set of Prolost Lightroom presets.

This Labor Day holiday we take things easy. Whether stargazing with Starwalk 2, taking a walk and remembering the hot spots along the way with Rego, getting a recommendation for a good read with Bookvibe, or adding so retro-style light leaks to our photos with a new set of Prolost Lightroom presets.


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