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When you open your Photos app, do you feel overwhelmed by a veritable mishmash of photos and videos? Depending on how many photos you have -- and on what you want to do with them -- managing the images on your iPhone's Camera Roll can prove to be a royal pain.
If you use Photo Stream across your iOS devices, you probably appreciate how your photos are stored in iCloud -- albeit for 30 days -- and Shared Photo Stream lets you specify which photos you want to share and who you'd like to share them with. But things can get cumbersome if you want to customize your photo arrangement by moving images into albums on your iOS devices and not have them deleted wholesale, for instance.
That's where these apps come in. Read on for the lowdown on essential tools to help you take charge of your photos in a way that suits your style.
First up: a sync-centric app.
Do you routinely upload your photos from your iPhone or iPad to a popular destination such as Dropbox or Facebook? PhotoSync, by Touchbyte, tries to take the tedium out of transfers -- all that clicking, waiting or hunting for a cable -- especially if you have a truckload of photos to move. This $1.99 app simplifies the transfer of photos -- and videos -- wirelessly to Dropbox, Facebook, Flickr, Google Drive, Google+/Picasa, SmugMug, SkyDrive, FTP/SFTP and more. It also takes care of moving files to and from your computer and your iOS devices. In fact, PhotoSync is tailored to work seamlessly over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for direct transfer among iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads.
The company says that the app does not limit the number of photos or videos you can shift at a given time. Two other benefits: You can set a default target -- a specific computer or online service -- and all new or selected files will automatically transfer to this location. Plus, if you use iPhoto or Aperture, PhotoSync lets you import into these programs. Note: You must have the company's free PhotoSync Companion for Mac OS X installed to take advantage of all transfers involving your iOS devices and computer. PhotoSync requires iOS 4.3 or later.
PhotoSocial's free Photoful syncs up with your iPhone's camera roll. Then, from the app's photo gallery, you can use gestures to view and organize your photos: Slide your finger across rows of images to select or deselect them; flick a photo to the left of your screen to toss it (don't worry, the Undo option appears immediately!); push photos off to the other side to share via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email or SMS.
Your photos are grouped together by date, and you can name albums by tapping their date, or edit album names with a single tap. You can also tag one photo or five dozen photos easily. In addition, Photoful includes built-in editing tools from Aviary and postcard prints from Sincerely. With Apple's new OS on the horizon, PhotoSocial touts Photoful as the app that picks up where iOS 7's native "Photos" leaves off, giving users more control over their photo collections. Photoful is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad running iOS 5.0 or later.
If you're looking for a freebie that blends organization, editing, sharing and a blanket of security, try MyPhoto by Covworks. This app promises simple and speedy photo organization, owing to its (unlimited) album and group setup. You can use MyPhoto's series of effects and filters to edit your pics, and you can pick themed frames -- sepia, red and wood, for example -- to display your photos. Use MyPhoto to share images on Facebook, Twitter, iPad, email and a PC. In addition, you can create backups of the data on your PC.
Want to keep some photos away from prying eyes? Hide them in MyPhoto Secret Albums. This free app runs on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad with iOS 5.0 or later -- and it supports the 4-inch Retina display (iPhone 5).
Hedonic Software's imaginatively named Albums aims to be the catchall manager for your photos, videos and even documents. The $1.99 app enables the wireless transfer of your files to and from your computer (and mobile devices), using a Web browser or Dropbox. You can set up an unlimited number of albums and sub-albums, with support for all the major image formats, iOS video formats, animated GIFs, PDFs and Microsoft Office, among others.
Albums lets you establish smart albums, which will automatically sort files according to titles, keywords or metadata such as date, media type, resolution and aspect ratio. The app's slideshow function allows you to blend photos with videos, run a loop, shuffle, play back video in slow motion or fast motion, add TV out (for iPad and iPhone 4 or later) and more. On the user account front, you can create custom accounts with separate libraries -- with the ability to move files between accounts -- and you also get a guest account. Albums works on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod Touch (third, fourth and fifth generations) and the iPad. The app requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Photo Manager Pro by Linkus runs the gamut of features: This $2.99 app lets you organize photos and videos, insert captions, customize folders, transfer files, create presentations, share photos on Facebook, add a layer of security and more. To improve the organization of your photos and videos, go wild with your folders and subfolders: Customize your folder color and/or background style; drag and drop folders for better order -- and in turn, drag and drop photos for a more sensible organization. Maximize the app's efforts and use its star rating logic to further organize your photos. Photo Manager Pro enables file transfer among your iOS devices over Wi-Fi, and it also supports FTP transfer, iTunes file sharing, and import/export to and from Apple's own Photos app.
Security-wise, Photo Manager Pro gives you the option of locking down the app itself with a passcode -- and individually passcode-locking individual folders. Furthermore, the app will track break-in attempts and display a log of recorded break-ins. Photo Manager Pro is available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, and it requires iOS 4.3 or later.
You have your own reasons to keep certain photos from others' eyes. Private Photo Vault by software developer William Sidell lets you store your photos in a secret gallery. This free app lets you select photos and videos you want to keep hidden by passcode-protecting them. During setup, after you punch in your four-digit PIN, the app prompts you to email the passcode to yourself because if you forget the passcode, you are completely locked out of the private repository.
Once you're in your secured vault, you can create slideshows and export, delete and move pics. Using the wireless sync feature, you can upload photos from your computer straight to your private vault. In addition, you can create multiple private albums and password-protect albums individually. Private Photo Vault runs on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad and needs iOS 4.3 or later. The $2.99 Pro version gives you the option to establish an onscreen pattern as a passcode instead of a PIN.