Review of iPhoto '11: Apple's Consumer-Oriented Image Editor

Review of iPhoto '11 – iPhoto '11, Apple’s Consumer-Oriented Image Editor
There are 8 mail templates available in iPhoto, include a postcard style. Courtesy of Apple

The Bottom Line

Considering it’s been two years since the last version of iPhoto, we expected iPhoto ’11 to wow us more than it did. It’s still one of the best and most user-friendly image editing programs available, but with the exception of some user interface enhancements, most of the changes revolve around printing and sharing photos.

If you currently use iPhoto ’09, this version may or may not be a must-have upgrade for you.

It depends largely on how important photo sharing options are, or whether Full-Screen Mode sounds like something you can’t live without.


  • Now available as a standalone program, through the App Store, as well as part of iLife '11.
  • Makes it very easy to edit photos as well as organize and manage them.
  • New options for sharing photos, including better integration with Facebook.
  • New email option lets you email from within iPhoto, in one of 8 different email templates.
  • New Places slideshow displays photos by their physical locations, using push pins on a map.


  • Only very minor changes were made to the editing and organizing tools.
  • If you use iLife ’09, the changes to iPhoto’s interface may take some getting used to.
  • Some options (such as the zoom slider) are only available in some modes.


  • Requires OS X 10.6.6 or later
  • $14.99 via the Mac App Store
  • $49.00 as part of the iLife '11 software suite

    iPhoto ‘11 offers a number of new or improved photo sharing options, and a new Full-Screen Mode, but the editing and organizing tools didn’t get much attention from Apple this time around.

    Full-screen mode lets you view a photo in all of its glorious detail, including any flaws (not unlike viewing actors on HDTV).

    It might be painful to see some of your photos’ flaws up close, but it also makes it easier to hide or eliminate them.

    In both standard and full-screen modes, some of the most-used options are available through buttons located along the bottom of the window. On the bottom left, is a button that lets you toggle between full screen and standard views. On the bottom right are Info, Edit, Create, Add To, and Share buttons. The Info button may include camera information if a photo was shot with a digital camera. The Edit button lets you apply any of the available edits (rotate, enhance, fix red-eye, straighten, crop, and retouch) to a photo. Other Edit options are available at the top right of the window (quick fixes, effects, adjust). You can easily undo any changes, as well as revert to the original version if you get too carried away.

    The Create and Add To buttons let you create or add a photo to an album, book, card, calendar, or slide show. The Share button lets you order photo products online, email a photo, or upload a photo to MobileMe, Facebook, or Flickr.

    In standard mode, you also have access to standard dropdown menus, which include most of the options available from the buttons, plus some additional options.

    In full-screen mode, you lose access to the dropdown menus, but you can easily get at them by toggling between full screen and standard modes.

    New or Improved Features of iPhoto '11

    The new email feature lets you email a photo without launching a standalone mail program. If you use Apple Mail, the From field will automatically contain your default email address, as well as dropdown menu access to your other email addresses, if you have more than one.

    Better integration with Facebook lets you view your Facebook albums in iPhoto (once your enter your Facebook login), download them, and view any comments visitors have added.

    You can also easily upload photos to MobileMe and Flickr.

    New or improved slide show features include new themes, animated themes, a face detection feature that puts faces in the center of a photo, and the option to add music to a slide show, including anything that’s in your iTunes library.

    If you’re willing to spend a little money on your photos, you can create and order a custom hardcover, softcover or wire bound book, or create customizable letterpress cards, with 15 themes to choose from.

    Note: There were some problems with the initial version of iPhoto. Before you launch iPhoto for the first time, use Software Update (Apple menu, Software Update) to ensure you’re using the most recent version of iPhoto.

    Published: 1/16/2011

    Updated: 2/8/2015

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