The grid is the main page in PhotoPhile. It is the place where you can view small versions (thumbnails) of all your photos, just like Adobe Lightroom or the iPad’s own Photos app. It is also where you can search, filter, sort, change and send your photos. In short, this is the place to be.


The Grid screen

Getting Around

At first, your grid display might be fairly empty. More than likely, though, you already have a lot of photos on your iPad or you’ve already copied a lot down from Lightroom. If that’s the case then the grid should already be full of your own photos. If you really do have none, then PhotoPhile will copy a small set into place so that you have something to play with right from the beginning.

The Main Display

A typical grid cell

A typical grid cell.

Most of the screen is taken up with the grid itself. Each of your photos is shown as a small “thumbnail” version, letting you get a quick overview of what set of photos you’re looking at. Each photo has a set of icons displayed with it. These show you whether it is starred (or rated), if it has been flagged as “accept” or “reject”, and if any of the photo’s metadata has been changed then a small red light is shown. Finally, each photo may have a coloured background corresponding to one of the five colour labels (red, green, blue, purple, yellow).

Single-tap to select or de-select a photo.
Double-tap to send all selected photos to the slideshow.
Pinch to make the thumbnails bigger or smaller. If you change the size by much, PhotoPhile will need to recalculate the thumbnails so try to get to a size that you like and stick with it.
Hold and tap to select a range. This is a non-standard action you may not have come across before. To select a range of photos, unlike the iPad’s own Photos app you don’t need to single-tap each one. If you hold one finger on one photo and then tap another, each photo between them will be selected.

The Tab-Bar

At the bottom of the screen is the Tab Bar. Like many other iPad apps, this is how you get from one area of the app to another. Each of your main buttons on the tab-bar takes you to a different set of functions. The Grid is where you are right now. There are also options for “Slideshow” (viewing photos at full-screen), “Info” (general information about the App) and “Settings” (where you can change many of the ways that the App works).

The Tab Bar.

The Tab Bar.

There are some other controls on here, too. At the far left is a quick indicator of how many photos are visible in the current collection, and how many of those you have selected. Next is an indicator showing whether an Eye-Fi card is connected, and if it’s doing anything. Finally on the far right, there may be a progress indicator with a large red “Cancel” button. This is usually not visible, only showing when there is some kind of long-running background job working.

The Toolbar : Photo Changing Options

At the top of the screen, there is a toolbar. This has most of the day-to-day controls for working with your photos, setting metadata and changing what’s shown in the grid.

The grid toolbar.

The grid toolbar.


Star Options on the toolbar

Star Options on the toolbar

Starting from the left, there are five star icons. These control the star rating, or score, of the currently selected photo or photos. Simply tap on one of these to set the rating. If you want to remove the rating completely, tap on the same number again.

Tap once to set a rating.
Tap any other star to change the rating.
Tap the current rating to remove it completely.


Flag options on the Toolbar

Flag options on the Toolbar

After the star ratings come the flag ratings. Just like the stars, these are a way of marking photos in a way that makes it easier to find later. Unlike the stars, these have specific meanings which correspond to those used by Adobe Lightroom. The white flag means “accepted” and the black flag means “rejected”. Rejected photos are shown in PhotoPhile as being greyed out and, of course, you can easily filter them out of the grid completely.

Tap once to set a flag.
Tap the other flag to change to that one instead. A photo can not be flagged as both accepted and rejected at the same time.
Tap the current flag to remove it completely.


Label options on the Toolbar

Label options on the Toolbar

These are not the same as keywords. A label is yet another means of marking photos to be found later. Labels can have a big effect on the grid display, however, because for certain preset labels they change the displayed colour. These presets match Lighroom’s default labels – “Red”, “Green”, “Blue”, “Yellow” and “Purple”. On the toolbar there are five coloured boxes (shown in landscape orientation only) which can be used to set the selected photos’ label.

Tap once to set a label.
Tap any other label to change to that one instead. A photo can only have one label at a time.
Tap the current label to remove it completely.

Labels, as with the other controls on the toolbar, can be used for searching or ordering your photos so they go beyond just changing the colour of the items in the grid. You can assign any label you like to a photo, not just the predefined ones. To the right of the five coloured boxes is a single button which will open a drop-down showing you all the labels that are currently known. You can add your own labels easily by selecting the “New Label” option. Custom labels are shown as a light blue colour.

The Toolbar : View Changing Options

On the right-hand side of the toolbar are a set of controls that are used to change what you see in the grid.

Sort Order

The first of these controls is for setting the sort order of the photos. The title on the button will be the current sort order, so it will usually start as “None”. Tap this control to open a long drop-down list containing all the things that you can sort by. Simply tap the item that you want to sort on and the grid will immediately change to that sort order.

Sort Direction

The next button shows an “A-Z” for ascending sorting, or “Z-A” for descending sorting. Tap the control to reverse the sort order. The grid will redraw immediately.


One of the most important features of PhotoPhile is the ability to filter your photos. The “Filters” button opens up a new panel where you can define any criteria you like for filtering the photos. There is a whole section on defining and using filters!


The Actions menu.

The Actions menu.

The buttons “All” and “None” select all the photos in the grid, or none of them, respectively.


Finally, there is an “Actions” button. This opens a list of options that can be used on any photos you have selected.

The Collections Panel

To the left and right of the screen are a pair of small pull-out tabs. These contain extra controls and information about the contents of the main grid. The left-hand tab is the Collections Panel. It is split into four areas; “Collections”, “Static Filters”, “Active Filters” and “Publishers”. Each of these are different ways of grouping or finding your photos.

Slide the small grey and blue tab left to right to show or hide the panel.
The panel can be set to hide itself automatically in the Settings tab.Tap a collection or filter to show the member photos in the grid.


The Collections Panel.

The Collections Panel.

A Collection corresponds to a folder. These are the places where your photos are stored. If you have imported photos from Lightroom, collections will be created in PhotoPhile to match the Published Connections in Lightroom. Collections are also created to match Albums in the iPad’s Photos app, and for photos received from an Eye-Fi card. Each photo may only be a member of one collection.

Static Filters

A Static Filter is a set of photos to which you can add or remove photos as you like. This doesn’t change where they are stored, or what other collections they are members of. You can add a photo to as many Static Collections as you like. This doesn’t use extra storage space on your iPad; only one copy of the photo exists.

Select Action then Add to Filter to add selected photos to any Static Filter you like.
Select Action then Remove from Filter to remove selected photos from a Static Filter. You need to select the right filter first.
Tap “New Filter” in the filter selection dialog to create a new static Filter.

Active Filters

Active Filters work entirely differently to Static Filters. Instead of manually selecting photos to be added or removed, you create a filter definition using the Filters bar. Each filter you create there is shown in this list. Since these filters work in realtime on all of your photos, they update themselves as you add more photos or change metadata.

Active filters also have an action menu shown to the right of the name. From here you can rename or delete the filter. Deleting the filter doesn’t delete any of the photos that the filter shows, only the set of rules that is used to choose which photos are members.

The last option on the Active Filter menu is “Uploaders”. This option allows you to convert an Active Filter into a Publisher. A Publisher is essentially an Active Filter which will send any new photos to an internet service.


A Publisher is a Filter, either Static or Active, that has been set to automatically send any new photos to a web service. Currently there are web services defined for Dropbox, Google Drive, Flickr and FTP. Setting up a Publisher takes three steps.

First, use the Settings page to define a new Uploader. Each of the available uploader types can have several targets defined. For example, you may wish to create uploaders for several different FTP servers, or for two different folders in your Dropbox account. Please see the Settings page for full details of creating uploaders.

Next, create and save a filter using the Filters panel. This filter will now appear in the Collections panel, under “Active Filters”. Alternatively, create a Static Filter using the grid’s Action menu.

Finally, select the menu for the new Active Filter and choose the “Uploaders” option. You will be shown a list of all the uploaders that are currently available. Choose one or more uploaders and tap “Select”. Now your Active Filter will be moved into the Publishers section.

When it is first created, your Publisher will be set to only send photos when it is told to. A Publisher will remember which photos have already been published.

Tap the Action menu for the publisher, then tap Upload Now to send any unpublished photos.

Once you are certain that your filter is correct, you can decide to set the Publisher to upload any new photos automatically. As new photos arrive, or you change metadata in PhotoPhile and photos are added to the collection, they will automatically be sent to each of the uploaders that you associated with this publisher. You can change the publisher back to manual mode any time you like, again using the Action menu.

Tap the Action menu for the publisher, then tap Set Auto Upload or Set Manual Upload to change the publisher’s upload mode.

A photo will never be removed from the remote service, even if it is removed from the Publisher.