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Workflow from iOS: Capturing Apple keywords

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Amazing Norris

New Member
Mar 24, 2016
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  1. Windows 10
Hi folks,

I am working my way through a back catalog of 150k (very amateur) photos taken over the last 20 years or so. I have a workflow and a system in place by which I star-rate them (1=delete, 2=archive, 3=keep, 4=share, 5=showcase) in offline LRC (on PC). This works great for photos taken on a (dedicated) camera, the output of which naturally splits into events or occasions with few remainders.

iPhone photos are a law unto themselves, however. We have thousands which live in a disorganised and amorphous mass on the apple devices themselves. Photos are taken of everything or anything that happens on any random Tuesday around the kids. Some are fantastic and some are just good, or important memories or... whatever. They do not split naturally into events, and they are only organised by the binary ‘favourite’ or not. That is it. But the apple AI is incredible and it allows us to find any pic we need, when we need, *on the phone*.

We want everything available and backed up on SmugMug and so have organised an epic archive up there of all the 3* and above lightroom photos. The iPhone shots are a disorganised anomaly though. Once they are out and into lightroom, or to SmugMug, the Apple AI is gone and the photos are no longer interrogable.

So! I think the right approach is bring them into Lightroom accept a coarse organisation into Year/Month, then rely on keywords.

The question here is this: how do we get the keywords from Apple’s (excellent) AI into the LR catalog?

(I expect some will suggest that we could rely on alternate AI approached (LR, SM?) - by all means point me to how I would do that with such a large catalog offline.)

(Some will have a wholly better workflow for me - again, I am all ears!)

Thanks folks!
Are you using Photos synced through iCloud? Because if you are, it might work similarly to how cloud Lightroom (non-Classic) works: The AI-driven keywords are generated by analyzing the photos on the Apple/Adobe photo server, and might not be embedded in the copies of the photos on the phones. One reason for that theory is that I don’t know of any way to enter keywords with Photos on iOS, so if they are there, the server AI manages that without any user input or management.

Entering keywords manually is possible on Photos on a Mac, But I’m not sure if Apple AI keywords can be seen in that Info panel. I don’t sync my Apple Photos with iCloud because I use Lightroom for all that, but looking at the files in Photos on a Mac could be one thing to look at, if your family has a Mac somewhere and Photos syncs to that Mac.

If you don’t have a Mac, another thing to try is to open a web browser on your PC, sign in at iCloud.com using your Apple ID, go into the web browser version of Apple Photos, and look at the photos there (again, if your iPhones sync photos to iCloud). However, in Photos on the web, I can’t find a way to see keywords. But you could try downloading an image that you know has Apple keywords, and see if they are present in the photo file downloaded from iCloud.

If the keywords are present in the downloaded files, and if they were embedded in standard IPTC format, then they would be recognized by Windows Explorer (Properties), Lightroom Classic, and Smugmug. If they are present but stored in some other way (such as Apple Tags), then some software would be needed to convert them to IPTC keywords. And if they are not present at all then it will still be an unsolved puzzle.
Thanks so much, Conrad! I really appreciate the effort.

As it goes, the files synced to my Photos on Mac show no keywords either. The output of the AI search appears to inaccessible to end user! A programme called osxphotos appears to allow those with greater technical ability than I to access that output. For me, it is probably easier to pass it through the Adobe Cloud and try to capture that.

That should be simple, right?
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