If you are familiar with the Photos app in Windows 8.1, you understand how absolutely worthless it is, and what a major step back it was from the services-infused version in Windows 8. For Windows 10, Microsoft is once again starting over with its bundled Photos solution, and this time around we’re seeing a universal app with improved features that will also work on Windows Phone.
Of course, we’re still in the technical preview phase, so some of Photos’ most excellent features—automatically curated albums based on date, time and location; folder view; and more—are not available yet, nor are some editing and photo acquisition features. But if you’ve been suffering with previous Photos app versions, even this incomplete new app will be a welcome improvement.
Here’s what you can do with the Photos app in WTP2.
Integrate with OneDrive. No surprise here, since the OneDrive mobile app is available on every major mobile platform and can sync all of the photos you take across devices to the cloud service. But to be clear, the Photos app does of course integrate with OneDrive, so you can see and sync your photos from the service to your PC. Don’t want OneDrive integration? No worries: you can disable that in Settings.
View your photo collection. The Collection view is a simple, clutter-free aggregation of all of your photos in OneDrive and on the local PC, organized by date with the newest photos displayed first. In today’s implementations of this app on Windows 8.x and Windows Phone 8.x, you will occasionally see duplicate photos or, for those with certain Lumia camera apps, repeated frames of the same photos. But the new Photos app eliminates those in this view for a cleaner, less repetitive look at your photo collection. (You can disable this in Settings.)
View a photo. Just select a photo in the Collection view to view it in the full frame of the app window.
Do more with a photo. Tap/click a displayed photo to access a menu bar with options such as Share, Slide Show, Enhance (not yet available), Edit, Delete, Print, Set as Lock Screen and File Info.
Auto-enhance. Photos will auto-enhance your photos automatically, but if you don’t want the app touching your photos, you can turn that off in Settings.
Configure the live tile. Also in Settings, you can configure whether the Photo app’s live tile cycles between recent photos or just displays a single photo of your choosing.
There’s a lot more coming in the future, and this version of the app is very buggy. But I’m just happy to see Microsoft finally fixing what was, for too long, a terrible, terrible app.