How to back up your iCloud Photo Library

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Back up your precious — and totally non-creepy — memories.
Back up your precious — and totally non-creepy — memories.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Wait, what? Why would you want to back up your iCloud Photo Library? Apple takes care of that, right? After all, the clue is in the name — the library is stored in iCloud.

Not so fast. That’s true, but what if something screws up at Apple’s end? What if you lose access to your iCloud account? What if, what if, what if? In most cases, you’ll be fine, but being a good computer nerd, you probably understand the value of redundant backups. So today we’ll see how to make sure all your images are safely stored. Just in case.

iOS 12.1.3 brings fresh fixes for iMessage, CarPlay and iPad Pro

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iOS 12 false update popup
Grab the new iOS update now!
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

The first iOS update of the year is finally ready for the masses.

Apple is releasing iOS 12.1.3 today, bringing a number of bug fixes and performance improvements to the iPhone and iPad. iOS 12.1.3 is a minor update and doesn’t contain any big UI changes or new features, but it resolves some important issues with CarPlay, iMessage, Photos and the iPad Pro.

Adobe Lightroom now supports Shortcuts

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I sent this image to Lightroom with a Shortcut.
I sent this image to Lightroom with a Shortcut.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Adobe’s Lightroom, perhaps the best photo-editing app on iOS, now supports shortcuts. That is, it supports one shortcut, letting you load photo into it from the camera roll, or any other place your find images in iOS.

Wouldn’t a simple Open In… option suffice? Perhaps, but by adding just one simple shortcut, Adobe has also added quite a few powerful possibilities.

How to share photos safely with Shortcuts

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Removing geodata won’t always protect a photo’s location
Removing geodata won’t always protect a photo’s location
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you know that every photo you send via iMessage, or other messaging services like WhatsApp, contains all that photo’s location data? If you snap a picture in your home, anyone who’s receives that photo will be able to see where you took it on a map.

The same goes for uploading images to online auction sites, or internet forums. The good news is that it’s easy to sanitize your images with Shortcuts.

How to change background blur in iPhone XS and XR photos

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Depth Control on iPhone XS
Depth Control can add subtle or wild background blur to your images.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The iPhone XS has an  amazing camera, and the best part of that camera is the Depth Control feature, which lets you adjust the background blur after you take the photo.

This is a powerful feature, but to get the most out of it, you might want to check out these tips and tricks on using Depth Control on iPhone XS.

How to import photos into 2018 iPad Pro

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iPad photo import
Importing is dead easy.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You’ve been able to import photos into an iPad ever since the first iPad launched. You had to buy a Camera Connection Kit to do it, which at the time consisted of two 30-pin Dock connectors, one with a USB-A port for hooking up cameras and CF readers, the other with an SD card slot. Since then, imports have gotten faster, and better. And the biggest difference with the 2018 iPad Pro is that now you can use any old USB-C card reader or hub to do the importing. Let’s see how it works.

How to use the new iOS Comic Book photo filter

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Shoot your own comic-book remake of
Shoot your own comic-book remake of A Scanner Darkly.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 12 has a great new camera filter: Comic Book. It turns your selfies and photos into pretty convincing pen-and-ink-style drawings, complete with flat blocks of color. It even works with Animoji selfies.

But hold on one second. You won’t find this filter in your iPhone’s Camera app, or even in the Photos app. Instead, you need to fire up the Messages app and use the camera there.

Check out iOS 12’s great new Photos For You tab

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The new For You tab makes it easy to discover and share your own photos,
The new For You tab makes it easy to discover and share your own photos.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

For many people, the new “For You” tab in Apple’s Photos app could become the default front page for their pictures. The new feature in iOS 12 gathers everything you care about — recent pictures, sharing activity, memories and something called “Featured Photos” — into one convenient spot.

Let’s check out the Photos For You tab and see what you can do with it.

iOS 12 photo imports are way, way better

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Somehow this happened…
Somehow this happened…
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

In iOS 11 and earlier, importing photos from a camera to your iPad photo library was always a bit clunky. You plugged the SD card in using the Lightning SD card reader, or hooked up the camera to a USB adapter, and then the Photos import took over your entire screen.

Also, all the images you imported wound up dumped right into your main photo library, leaving you to manually select them later if you wanted to add them to albums.

In iOS 12, Apple improved all of this. Let’s take a look at the great new photo import features in iOS 12.