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Photo Library Access Permission with iOS 14

Close Up of Hands of a Woman Browsing Through a Photo Gallery on a Digital Tablet

Reading Time: 7 minutes read

Apple’s release of iOS 14 has iPhone users excited about the improvements Apple has in store. The improvements we’ll be focusing on here are found in the Photos and Camera apps. 

Understanding the basics will definitely help with your picture taking abilities as well as your device performance. 

iOS 14 New Features

The majority of this article will talk about improvements to the photo library. However, it would be criminal to not point out several improvements to the Camera app. Here’s a few of the top changes with the update.

  1. Quicker Photos – The app is 90% faster when it launches and it’s now possible to take 4 shots per second. 
  2. Preserve Settings – If you prefer certain settings when you take photos, you can preserve them with a simple toggle in the camera settings.   
  3. Night Mode – a new stabilization feature helps you keep a steady camera at night. A handy guide points out movement before taking pictures.
  4. Exposure Compensation – This new option allows you to adjust exposure before you take a shot. An interactive monitor in the upper left adjusts in real time. 
  5. Quick Shots – While in the camera app, pressing and holding the volume up button activates burst mode. Pressing and holding the volume down button activates video mode. One press of the volume down button captures a single picture. 

Photo library updates with iOS 14

Another area Apple made improvements to is the Photos app. One of the more noticeable, is the ease in scaling the library view. Simply pinch to view more of your photo library. Spread to zoom in on a select image. A new widget system makes it that much easier to access your photo library. The revamped photos picker lets you tag images for easier inclusion in notes, emails, or other media posts. This also controls what 3rd party apps have access to.     

How to allow limited photo access for apps

With a call for increased privacy and security, the iOS 14 update to Photos answered. Users can now limit 3rd party apps access to specific images and videos, instead of their entire library. After updating to iOS 14, your existing photo permissions remain intact. The new privacy controls will appear when an app seeks permission for access to your library.  

For example, let’s say you install the app Darkroom. They’re going to ask for access to your Photos library. Instead of the blanket Grant Photo Access option, you now can choose from Select Photos, Allow Access to All Photos, and Don’t Allow. 

Tapping Select Photos activates the image picker to manually select images this particular app can access. To see what will be shared with Darkroom, tap View Selected at the bottom. 

Access to photos can also be controlled via Settings. To adjust access for your camera go to Settings → Privacy → Photos, choose Camera+ from the list. Change permissions to the new Selected Photos option to manually pick Photos items Camera+ will see.

To change those selections, tap Edit Selected Photos. Adjust what you’re sharing by adding new or removing existing items from the section. Tap View Selected to review what will be shared.

Are you already sharing some of your Photos library with an app?

If so, you may see a permission prompt with two options — Select More Photos and Keep Current Selection. It’s another way to control which apps can access specific items from your Photos library.

How do I update the photo access for my current apps?

To update the content your current apps have access to, follow these simple steps. In Settings, go to Privacy and then select Photos. Select the WWDC Photos Editor and then choose Edit Selected Photos. From there you can adjust the imagery available to the app. 

Another way to update photo access is via a prompt when you open an app that has access to your photos. Choose either Select More Photos or Keep Current Selection.

How will iOS 14 impact my current photo permissions?

In short, not much. After updating to iOS 14, your existing photo permissions remain intact. You can either leave them as is, or select what is or isn’t shared. The update gives users more control and added security/privacy.  

What is the limited library photo picker?

This is the new system provided photo picker that enables app access to your photos and videos. “Limited” being the key difference. Instead of access to the hundreds or more likely thousands of photos and videos on your device, your apps see only what you want them to. 

The new picker also features fluid zooming on the photo grid with a simple pinch or spread. It’s searchable and offers multi-image selection. 

How has privacy changed for photos with iOS 14?

Privacy is the buzzword on everyone’s mind when it comes to sharing photos. iOS 14 has taken a big step towards addressing this issue. In past versions, users were asked to grant access to their full photo library. The door, figuratively, wide open. With the update, users are able to decide which photos and videos apps have access to. It’s a move that’s putting users’ privacy needs first.   

Other updates to the camera and photo apps

Additional updates to your Camera app:

  • A new chevron at the top of the screen reveals/hides settings from within the app
  • In the Settings app, Grid has moved to “composition” and capturing outside the frame has been simplified
  • A new toggle exists in Settings mirrors photos taken with front-facing camera
  • It’s faster. Time to first shot is 25% faster and Portrait shot-to-shot is 15% faster.

Additional updates to your Photos app:

  • Ellipsis on the top right adds new actions for zooming in and out, adjusting the aspect ratio grid, and filtering
  • Photos can be filtered by favorites, edited, photos, and videos. Combinations are allowed
  • Zooming in on photos has greatly improved 
  • Captions can be added to shots. They sync across devices and are searchable

What devices is iOS 14 compatible with?

According to Apple, iOS 14 will run on the iPhone 6s and later. The exact same compatibility as iOS 13. Here’s the complete list:

  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st generation)
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)
  • iPod touch (7th generation)

How the Motif app has adapted 

So what do these changes mean to the performance of your Motif app? Well, for one, improvements to your Camera app will certainly create more stunning photo projects. A faster camera with better features lets you capture better photos and more of them. 

Your privacy is important to Motif. Apple’s iOS 14 access update gives you control of what you’d like to share. When the prompts covered earlier in this story are displayed, make your selections. Create photo projects with a better sense of security. Motif is working in concert with Apple to ensure a seamless transition to the new iOS 14. Motif has been a trusted Apple partner for over a decade.