Whether you use the new iPad with its stunning retina display or the first or second generation models, the iPad is a natural for viewing, managing and editing your photos. Central to this function is the ‘Photos’ app, which provides you with all the necessary tools needed for beginner to intermediate users. Our comprehensive guide on how to use Photos on iPad will cover everything you need to get the most from enjoyment from your photos.

How to use Photos on iPad

How to get photos on your iPad (Mac or PC)

For Mac users, it couldn’t be easier to get your photos on your iPad. You’ll continue to manage photos on your Mac as you have in the past. If you use iPhoto to organize events, you’ll still create albums and place photos within that folder. The actually sync process however is managed through iTunes.

Plug your iPad into your computer using the supplied USB cable. iTunes should launch and in the right column you’ll see ‘Devices’, with your iPad underneath. Click on the iPad and then select the ‘Photos’ tab at the top right. You’ll want to check the box ‘Sync Photos from either iPhoto or the folder of your choice. If you use Image Capture to import your images, then you’ll point iTunes to the folder where your images reside.

iTunes photos

If you are using a PC, then in iTunes you’ll select the folder that stores your images.

You have a wealth of options to select from when syncing your photos, but you should be cognizant the size of your photo library and available storage on your iPad. A quick look at the bottom of iTunes will reveal the storage capacity and what’s occupying space.

iPad storage capacity

How to find size of your iPhoto library
With mac files or folders, you can control-click to reveal the size. This can also be done to find out the size of your iPhoto library, but it is a bit misleading. There a number of generated files which contribute to an increase in the actual size of your library. To find out the size of your actual photos, follow these steps.

  • Navigate to user/Pictures
  • Control click on iPhoto Library and select ‘Show Package Contents
  • Control click on ‘Masters’ and select ‘Get Info
  • Look for the ‘Size’ under ‘General
iPhoto masters

With an understanding of your libraries size and available storage, it’s back to tackle the vast array of syncing options.

All photos, albums, Events and Faces.
Selected albums, Events and Faces, and automatically include either a specific number events or events based upon a timeframe, such as the last 3 months. Of course, you can choose to sync no or all events. Events are in addition the selected albums you have created within iPhoto. iPhoto also offers a time based ‘Last 12 Months’ option.

Sync events

As you select albums or events, you can monitor changes in capacity. Photos are displayed in orange.

There is also an option to select ‘Faces’, which will sync photos based upon photos categorized by Faces. Faces in iPhoto will attempt to organize photos based upon face recognition. When initially using Faces, you can help by correcting mistakes or acknowledging that the software got it right.

Sync faces

When you’re satisfied with your selections, press the ‘Apply’ button to sync photos to iPad. Depending on how many photos you are syncing, this could take a while.

apply changes

Managing Photos On Your iPad

Upon completing your sync, launch the Photos app and you’ll find the selections you made within iTunes mirror those on your iPad.

  • Photos: All of your photos live here, including those taken on your iPad.
  • Photo Stream: If you’ve set up iCloud and enabled Photo Stream, this will show you the last 1000 photos. When you connect to the Internet, it will automatically update.
  • Albums: Include albums that you checked off in iTunes.
  • Events: Events selected and/or the selected number of most recent events or events within a date range.
  • Faces (iPhoto): Photos grouped by individual based on iPhoto’s face recognition.

The final tab within Photos are places and based on geo data of your photos, they will be grouped and shown on the Map. I recently took a trip to Chicago, so Photos displays the group of photos when I tap on the pin in Chicago. This is another way how Photos does the heavy lifting in order to present you with a better, more organized view of your pictures.

iPad photos places

How to setup a slideshow on iPad

  1. Enter any grouping of photos, be it Photos, an album, event or other.
  2. Select ‘Slideshow’
  3. Choose from the following transitions (Dissolve, Cube, Ripple, Wipe, Origami)
  4. To enable music, flip the switch to On for Play Music. This will open up a mini window that looks just like the iPhone’s Music app. Select a song, artist, album or playlist.
  5. Tap to ‘Start Slideshow’
Slideshow iPad

How to create and edit photo albums on iPad
There are two ways to create a new album on your iPad. From the ‘Albums’ tab, tap on edit (top right) and then ‘New Album’ (top left). Enter a title for your album. You’ll be jetted away into photos where you’ll be prompted to Add photos to your album. You can use any of the groupings, including Photo Stream, for which you select photos. When you are finished, tap on Done (top right). If for some reason you need to delete this album, press the edit button and then tap on the ‘x’ next to the album.

Tip: You cannot delete existing photo albums. You need to deselect them in iTunes and then apply your changes to remove them from the iPad.

The other method is similar, but in reverse order. Visit any group of photos, then tap on the ‘arrow’ (top right) to select your photos. Select ‘Add To…’, which allows you to add them to either a new album or an existing album that was created on the iPad. You can add photos from an album which was synced from iTunes. These albums are effective read only.

How to edit your photos on iPad

  • Rotate: This permanently sets the orientation of a photo. For example, if your photo is upside down when view, use this editing feature.
  • Enhance: The application will attempt to analyze your photo and then add proper amounts of brightness and contrast to improve upon your original image. If you are happy with the outcome, select ‘Save’ at the top right. ‘Undo’ will remove the enhancement.
    Photo enhancements iPad
  • Red-Eye: Oh the perils of flash photography and the dreaded red-eye. No worries, simply select this option and tap on each eye to remove.
  • Crop: Sometimes cropping an image can take it from good to great. Tap on ‘Crop’ and grab a corner to align the crop tool to your liking. When happy with your selection, press the yellow ‘Crop’ button at the top right.
    Crop photos iPad

Tip: Use the constrain tool, select a size format and the app will retain the ratio of your image when using the cropping tools. This is most important if you have plans on printing a common size (4 x 6, 8 x 10, 5 x7) or viewing your photos on your Apple TV.

Constrain crop photo ipad

How to share photos from your iPad?

If you would like to share multiple photos, you can do so via email, message or printing from your iPad. Enter an album or photos, tap on the arrow and then select the photos you’d like to share as noted by the blue checkbox. Tap on Share and you’ll have the option to Email, Print, Message. Email will bring up a New Message dialog with your photos already inserted. Type the address, enter a subject and click send.

Tip: The iPad will display the size of the email based on images selected. Some email providers will balk at accepting or sending emails that are too large. Play it safe with a limited number of images.

The other photo sharing option is for a single image. Tap on any photo and select the very same arrow we used above. You’ll note the same options above have expanded to include:

  • Assign to Contact
  • Use as Wallpaper
  • Tweet
  • Copy Photo

Photo sharing on iPad

In iOS 6, Apple is said to bring deep integration with Facebook, so you can most likely expect an option here to Share on Facebook.

Gesture Tips For Photos

  • Swipe right or left to view your photos.
  • Tap once to bring up options for editing, sharing or slideshow options.
  • When viewing a photo, double tap or pinch-out to zoom in. You zoom out by doing the reverse.
  • When photo is at original size, pinching your fingers together (pinch-in) will close the photo bringing you back to your album.

Photos FAQ:

How to change the order of photos on the iPad?
Select an album that you have created on your iPad. Select ‘Edit’. Tap and hold photo, then drag and drop in the order you would like the photos to appear. Note: This will only albums you create on the iPad

How to delete photos from iPad?
Select an album. Tap on a single photo, then tap on the trash icon to delete. To delete multiple photos, open the album, select multiple photos and tap on remove.

Remove photos from iPad

Have further questions or need help on how to use Photos on iPad? Please consider joining our iPhone and iPad forums. Membership is always free and you can ask questions of our community of experts.