Apple updates Yosemite, ditches iPhoto for new Photos app

More blending of iOS and OS X in today's 10.10.3 update

photos for mac primary

Apple today updated OS X Yosemite to 10.10.3, a build most notable for Photos, a new application that replaces the aged iPhoto.

The third update to Yosemite since the OS's debut last October, 10.10.3's release followed a public beta by just over a month. That beta was offered to users who had registered with the preview program Apple launched to test updates for the then-current OS X Mavericks, and in mid-2014 to do the same for Yosemite, Mavericks' replacement.

Computerworld staffers downloaded and installed the 1.5GB 10.10.3 update without problems.

The biggest addition to 10.10.3 is Photos, the successor to the 13-year-old iPhoto, which has been criticized for its awkward interface and confusing connection to the cloud. Like many of the changes Apple has introduced to OS X, Photos resembles the same-named app on iOS.

"iCloud Photo Library," for example, lets users store photographs and videos on Apple's servers, making them available from any of that user's iOS or OS X devices, or from other platforms through a browser. iCloud will also be used to sync changes to images and for sharing photographs and video with others.

iCloud Photo Library -- which remains in beta on iOS -- generally leaves lower-resolution images on the local device but stores the full-resolution originals in the cloud. iCloud Photo Library is off by default, a good thing since unlike "My Photo Stream," the contents of the new Library are counted against the storage space remaining in a user's account.

The 5GB of free space iCloud provides can quickly vanish under the weight of storing full-resolution photographs. Apple, of course, sells additional iCloud storage -- starting at $0.99 per month for 20GB and climbing to $19.99 per month for 1TB -- but the Cupertino, Calif. company's prices are not the cheapest around.

Photos on both iOS and OS X replaces not only iPhoto, but also My Photo Stream and the iOS-specific "Camera Roll." More information about Photos' iCloud Photo Library can be found in an FAQ posted on Apple's website.

Apple announced Photos at last year's Worldwide Developer Conference, but didn't give registered developers their first peek until early February 2015.

The company called out other changes baked into 10.10.3, including purported improvements in Wi-Fi performance, connectivity and compatibility. Wi-Fi issues have been among the biggest complaints of Mac owners since Yosemite's launch Oct. 16, 2014. Today's update was the third to take a crack at the troubles.

OS X 10.10.3 also addressed stability issues in Safari, added more than 300 new Emoji characters and fixed a Bluetooth disconnect problem, Apple said in a support document today.

Yosemite powered approximately 54% of all Macs that went online in March, according to recent data from analytics company Net Applications.

OS X 10.10.3 can be downloaded from the Mac App Store; current Yosemite users can retrieve the update by selecting "App Store" from the Apple menu, then clicking on the "Updates" icon at the top right of the store's window.

OS X usage as of March 2015 Data: Net Applications

OS X Yosemite accounted for more than half of all instances of Apple's operating system tracked in March.


Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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