Hot on the heels of releasing OS X Yosemite 10.10.2, Apple has released the first beta of version 10.10.3, which is actually a major new update, as it includes the all-new Photos app.
The new Photos app will replace iPhoto, which discontinued development last year, as did Aperture. Unfortunately, regular users won’t be able to get their hands on the new Photos app until OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 officially releases within the next few months. Otherwise, if you’re a developer, you can access the pre-release beta through the Mac App Store or the Mac Dev Center.
The Photos app isn’t just an updated version of iPhoto. Instead, it’s a whole new app with a handful of new features, including the ability to access your iCloud Photo Library, which means that when you take a photo on your iPhone or iPad, that photo will automatically be viewable on your Mac through the Photos app, thanks to iCloud.
Perhaps one of the coolest features is that edits made to a photo on your iPhone or iPad in the Photos app can be automatically synced to all devices instantly, and the process can be done the other way around as well.
The design of Photos on Mac looks nearly identical to how it looks on iOS 8, with a few obvious design differences since it’s on a Mac rather than your iPhone or iPad. In the app, you can do things like sort your photos and videos and even only view special files like panoramics, burst shots, slow motion, and timelapse video, separating all other photos and videos.
Photos on Mac also lets you zoom in and out of Collections and Moments, just like on iOS 8, and you can even hover over small thumbnails to reveal a larger version without having to click through in order to view the photo.
One thing that you’ll probably want to do before getting all excited about the new Photos app is buying more iCloud Drive storage. All of those photos and videos can take up space and that will add up eventually. All Apple users get 5GB for free, but you can up that to 20GB for just $0.99 per month or all the way up to 1TB of cloud storage for $19.99 per month.
However, you can still use the new Photos app without iCloud Photo Library, but that means you won’t get the automatic sync features and will have to sync manually with your iPhone or iPad, but even that won’t be a big problem for many users.
There’s no official word on an exact release date for OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 (and thus the new Photos app), but Apple says that it will arrive at some point in the Spring.