How to Create 'Memories' Photo Slideshows on the iPhone and iPad

Your iPhone and iPad can create slideshows of your favorite memories

Memories are custom slideshows that your iPhone or iPad can make for you. It may be the coolest feature you've never used on your device. While Apple made a great show of it when the feature was announced, it's a feature that is quite easy to miss. But once you start using it to create slideshows from your iPhone photos, you might find it to be the most time-saving feature on your device. 

How to Create Photo Memories

Memories are dynamically created, so you don't have to do much to create a slideshow of a specific day or vacation. However, you will need to know where to go to create your own memories.

After you launch the Photos app, you will notice a Memories tab. Sounds simple, right? Tap the Memories tab, hit an add-new button, and away you go... or not. The Memories tab will show you the dynamically created memories — and from time to time your iPhone or iPad will create a memory for you— but you can't actually create a new memory form this tab.

How to Create a Memory of a Day, Month, Year or Vacation

Screenshot of Photos on an iPad

In order to create a Memory of your own, you need to go outside the actual Memories tab. On the counter-intuitive scale, this is a 10.  But don't worry, its actually fairly easy to create your own memory photo slideshows once you actually know where to go.

  • For a memory based on a day, month or year, tap the Photos tab at the bottom-left corner of the screen.
  • The Photos section arranges your photos into collections based on time and place. The first layer will separate your photos by year, the next layer are "collections" based on time and place, and the last layer is called "moments" and displays the specific time and place you have chosen. A button at the top with a "<" symbol will read "Years", "Collections" or "Moments." This button will take you to the previous layer.
  • When viewing a layer, tapping the photos will take you to that section. For example, tapping the photos under "2018" while in the Years layer will take you to all photos and videos taken in 2018.
  • You can create a memory by tapping the label instead of the photos. So, if we tap the label "2018" instead of the photos under it, we are taken to a new screen with a dynamically created slideshow or "memory" already prepared for us. 
  • The layer under Years are collections based on time and place. By default, the photos will be grouped into months, but if you traveled during the month, a new collection will be created based on that particular place. This makes it easy to pick out a vacation.  Just tap the label above the photos to view the dynamically created memory.
  • The last layer is for individual days. This is great if you went to an amusement park or sporting event and want to create a quick slideshow of it.

 

How to Create a Custom Memory

Screenshot of Photos on an iPad

Not all memories fall into a specific collection found in the Photos section. For example, your Christmas, Hanukkah or similar memories might begin earlier in December and extend through the New Year and into January. This means a single day, month or even year wouldn't encompass all of the photographs you might want to include in this memory, so we'll want to create a custom collection.

  • Choose the Albums tab in Photos
  • Select All Photos. This will show you all of your photos and videos arranged in chronological order without being separated into collections. 
  • Tap the Select button at the top-right corner of the screen.
  • Scroll through the photos and videos, tapping each one that you want to be used for the slideshow. Remember, the slideshow memory is created dynamically and not all photos may be used, so be sure to create a good selection. 
  • Once you have selected all the photos you want for the slideshow, tap the Add to button. On an iPhone, this button is at the bottom of the screen, while on the iPad it is at the top-left.
  • Select New Album and give the album an appropriate name.

Now that you have an album filled with just the photos and videos you want to use, it's easy to create a slideshow out of them.

  • Go back to the screen with all albums by tapping the Albums button at the top of the screen.
  • Scroll down and select the newly created photo album.
  • Tap the name of the photo album at the top of the screen just below the < Albums button. This will take you to the newly created photo memory.

How to Create a Memory of a Person

This is a cool trick that will create a dynamic slideshow from the photos and videos you have containing a specific person.  It's by far the fastest way to create a cool slideshow for someone's birthday.

  • Go to the Albums tab in the Photos app.
  • Scroll down and select People.
  • This tab will show you just the faces of people in your photos. Unfortunately, it won't show everyone. Only faces found in multiple photos that the iPhone or iPad can easily detect.
  • Choose a specific person to go to a custom album with all of their photos. At the very top of this album is the dynamic memory slideshow.

How to Edit the "Memories" Photo Slideshow

The Memories feature is great on its own. The Photos app does a great job of picking out a few photos from a larger selection, adding music and putting it all together in an excellent presentation. At times, it might misinterpret a photograph such as putting the focus on the tricycle instead of the 4-year-old riding the tricycle, but mostly, it does a great job.

But what makes this a killer feature is the ability to edit the Memory slideshow. And, just how easy it is to do that editing.

You have two options when it comes to editing: mood control, which is done on the quick editing screen, and photo control, which is done on the fine tuning screen.

You can start editing a Memory simply by playing it. Once you are on the screen where the Memory plays, you can select a basic mood for the Memory by choosing it from just below the Memory. These moods include Dreamy, Sentimental, Gentle, Chill, Happy, etc. You can also choose a length for the Memory between Short, Medium and Long.

Going Further...

This quick edit ability alone is a pretty good way of changing up the Memory, but if you want a finer level of control, you can get to the editing screen by tapping the button at the bottom-right that has three lines each with a circle on it. This button is supposed to depict sliders, but it might have been easier just to put the word "Edit" there instead.

  • You will need to save the Memory to edit it, so when prompted, confirm that you want to save it to the "Memories" section of Photos on your iPhone or iPad.
  • You can edit the Title, Music, Duration, and Photos. The Title section allows you to edit the title, the sub-title and choose the font for the title. In music, you can choose one of the stock songs or any song in your library. You will need to have the song loaded onto your iPhone or iPad, so if you generally stream your music from the cloud, you will need to download the song first. When you edit the duration of a Memory, the Photos app will choose which photographs to add or subtract, so you will want to do this before you edit the photo selection. This allows you to fine tune those photos after choosing an appropriate duration.
  • You can add a photo by tapping the "+" button at the bottom-left of the screen, but you can only add photos that are within the original collection. So, if you created a memory of 2018 photos, you can only add photos from that 2018 collection. This is where creating a new album of photos helps out. If you don't see the photo you want, you can back out, add the photo to the album and then start the editing process again.
  • You are also restricted from placing the photograph at a particular point in the order. The photo will be placed in the same order it exists in the album, which is generally sorted by date and time.

It is unfortunate that there are so many restrictions and so few ways to truly customize Memories, but there is hope that Apple will open up more editing options as the Memories feature evolves. For now, it does an excellent job of creating a memory on its own, and it offers just enough editing options to make sure you can insert the photos you want even if you can't put them in a custom order.

How to Save and Share Memories

Now that you have an awesome memory, you probably want to share it!

You can share a memory or simply save it to your iPhone or iPad by tapping the Share Button. When a Memory is playing in full-screen mode, tap the device to see it in a window. At the bottom of the screen, you'll see a film strip of the entire Memory. In the bottom-left corner is the Share Button, which looks like a rectangle with an arrow pointing out the top.

When you tap the Share Button, a window divided into three sections will pop up. The top section is for AirDrop, which will let you send the Memory to a nearby iPhone, iPad or Mac. The second row of icons allow you to share the Memory through apps like Messages, Mail, YouTube, Facebook, etc. You can even import it into iMovie to do further editing.  

The third row of icons allow you to save the video or perform functions like send it to your TV screen via AirPlay. If you have set up Dropbox on your iPhone or iPad, you may see a Save to Dropbox button. If you don't, you can tap the More button to turn this feature on. Most cloud storage services show up the same way.  

If you choose Save Video, it will be saved to your Videos album in a movie format. This allows you to share it to Facebook or send it as a text message at a later point in time.