How to Turn Photos into “Memories” on macOS

Apple Photos will automatically scan your memorable events, places, and people, gathering them into curated collections called Memories. You can also create your own Memories, turning any Memory into a slideshow, which you can share with friends and family.

Memories are different from albums. Albums are just folders you put photos into. But you can create Memories from any album or group of photos in your collection. Photos will also create Memories automatically from photos you take, based on a time period or location, turning them into “best of” collections.

You might think of Memories as a sort of day-by-day scrapbook collection. For example, if you go to a party and take a bunch of snaps of you and your friends, they’ll appear the next day as a Memory. It’s then up to you what you want to do with it, by saving it, creating a slideshow, sharing it, or just letting it fade away.

To use Memories on your Mac, you must first at least be running macOS Sierra.

In order to make sure Memories works across all your Apple devices, you will need to set up iCloud, sign in with the same Apple ID, and turn on iCloud Photo LIbrary for each device on which you want to view your Memories. If you want to see your memories on a 4th generation Apple TV, then you need to make sure it is updated to tvOS 10 or later.

Viewing Memories in the Photos App

You can view Memories on your Mac by opening the Photos app and then clicking Memories in the sidebar and double-clicking on any Memory.

When you view a Memory in Photos, it will slowly cycle through the contents, allowing you to preview it before you save it, convert it to a slideshow, or share it. In the example below, we how Memories created a “Best of Last Month” collection.

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Creating Your Own Memories

The Photos app will automatically create Memories based on photos you’ve recently taken. You can create your own Memories, however, from any album. Simply open the album and click “Show as Memory” in the top-right corner.

Alternatively, if you’re browsing from the All Photos tab, you can click the group title and it will automatically be converted to a Memory.

Save Memories for Access Later

The Photos application is always creating new Memories based on new photos you add. In order to preserve Memories so that they’re not overwritten by new ones, scroll all the way to the bottom and click “Add to Memories”.

When you want to look at your Memories more closely, simply double-click to open one and then scroll down to check out a summary of photos contained within a particular Memory. Clicking “Show All” will display all the photos in a Memory.

Scroll all the way to the bottom of a Memory and you can select a person or group to see more photos like it, click on a place to view more photos taken nearby, or discover other related Memories, which are sorted by events, scenes, places, and people.

Turning Any Memory into a Slideshow for Sharing

As we mentioned at the beginning, you can turn your Memories into slideshows, which you can share with your friends and family. Once you’re happy with the photos you’ve gathered into your Memory, click the slideshow arrow in the Photos’ toolbar. From there you can choose a theme and accompanying music (the iOS version has a few more options and calls them Movies).

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If you want to share a Memory you or the app has created, click the Share button in the top toolbar. As you can see, you can share your Memories through iCloud Photo Sharing, Facebook, Messages, and more.

The Memories feature is a great way to distill your photos into something accessible and meaningful. Whether it’s a day at the beach, a vacation to Europe, or just a barbeque with friends, it lets you rediscover photos that might have otherwise gotten lost in the crush of new photos.

Matt Klein is an aspiring Florida beach bum, displaced honorary Texan, and dyed-in-wool Ohio State Buckeye, who fancies himself a nerd-of-all-trades. His favorite topics might include operating systems, BBQ, roller skating, and trying to figure out how to explain quantum computers.