How to stop selfie photos from appearing in iOS 12’s Selfies album

ios photos icon
Apple

In iOS, any photo you take with the front-facing camera (some people call it the selfie cam) is automatically sorted into an album called Selfies. But what if you don't want photos taken with the selfie cam to appear in Selfies? (The Selfies album in iOS 12 is located in the Photos app, under a section called Media Types.)

There is a way to suppress images from appearing in the Selfies album or remove them without deleting them, though it takes some effort. You can't disable the album nor can you modify images within Photos in iOS to make this happen, but you can use a round-trip export: transfer the photos to your Mac, modify them, and then transfer the pictures back to your iPhone. When the photos are on your Mac, you modify the photo's metadata-the details about how a picture was taken.

Apple identifies selfies by examining metadata that shows a picture was taking with a front-facing camera. Modifying a photo's metadata (known as EXIF) requires a third-party app. In this instance, I use Photos Exif Editor, which is $.99 in the app store. It allows batch modification of photos' metadata cheaply and efficiently.

How to use Photos Exif Editor to edit a photo so it doesn't appear in iOS's Selfie album

With your iPhone connected to you Mac, you import the Selfie pics into the Mac's Photos app. Then, in Photos, you export the photos, and then use Photos Exif Editor to modify the pics. Once that's done, you'll bring the pictures back to your iPhone via Photos on the Mac. Here are the steps.

  1. With your iPhone connected to your Mac, launch the Photos app (Applications > Photos), select the selfies you want to remove from the album.

  2. Select File > Export > Export [Number] Photos*.

  3. From Size, select Full Size.

  4. Click Export and save them in a folder.

  5. Launch Photos Exif Editor and drag that folder into the app or select the folder via an Open dialog.

  6. Scroll down to the Lens section and you'll see something like "camera model front camera camera lens details." Delete that line.

  7. Click Start Process and choose a place to save the processed images.

  8. After the photos have been saved, go back to the Photos app. Import those processed images back into Photos. Note that they no longer appear in the Selfies album.

  9. Delete the original selfies from Photos.

The Hidden album

iOS 12 actually has a Hidden album where you can place photos. They won't appear in any other album, however.

To move a photo to Hidden, select the photo and tap the Share icon (the rectangle with the upward arrow). In the bottom row of gray icons, swipe to the left until you see the Hide icon. Tap it. A message will appear, telling you that if you do this, the photo won't be in any other album, and you need to go to the Hidden album to see the picture. Tap Hide Photo if you want to proceed.

The Hidden album is located in the Other Albums section of the Photos app.

This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Jay (not his real name).

Ask Mac 911

We’ve compiled a list of the questions we get asked most frequently along with answers and links to columns: read our super FAQ to see if your question is covered. If not, we’re always looking for new problems to solve! Email yours to mac911@macworld.com including screen captures as appropriate, and whether you want your full name used. Every question won’t be answered, we don’t reply to email, and we cannot provide direct troubleshooting advice.

  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon