OS X El Capitan: Extensions transform Photos on a Mac into a professional quality imaging application

“One of my favourite improvements in El Capitan, Photos now lets you apply third-party image editing extensions within the application,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld.

“These improve the built-in editing functionalities of Photos, helping you achieve far more with your images,” Evans writes. “Developer MacPhun says extensions support in Photos means ‘Apple’s app will finally get close to Aperture or Lightroom with its editing capabilities.'”

Introducing the first few extensions to arrive at the Mac App Store:
• BeFunky Express
• Intensify
• Tonality
• Noiseless
• Snapheal
• Affinity Photo

Evan writes, “Apple has published a website page to explain use of third-party extensions in Photos for OS X, and these make it pretty clear that other developers (including Pixelmator and DxO Optics) have been looking into supporting this feature – keep an eye on the Mac App Store for more releases in future.”

More info and links in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Many of these extensions offer remarkable sophisticated tools for very low cost. Check them out!


  1. It’s not the editing capabilities that I need, it’s the organization. Photos just doesn’t support Events like iPhoto did. (I know there is an Events view, but it sucks.)

    1. Amen to this (and ditto for the same observation from buddabob & dmjefferis): to lose organization tools is a huge … and utterly unacceptable … step backwards.


      Where things stand right now with PHOTOS, it is no longer an exaggeration to say that a cheap $299 Linux PC with GIMP has better capabilities.

      1. Download Gimp for Mac, if that’s what you prefer.

        I’ve yet to see someone buy a Mac for the sole purpose of organizing photos, but hey if that’s all you do, then enjoy that $299 PC as well. I’d rather put it towards a $499 Mac mini and have the additional benefits of owning a Mac, even if not using Photos.

        1. Sorry you missed my point, Bill.

          My point is that Apple’s OS X photo management ecosystem employing ‘Photos’ no longer holds any advantage over a cheap PC running something like Gimp.

          And yes, for some people, this loss in **capability** will most certainly mean that they’ll no longer pay extra to get a Mac.

          Instead, those customers will drop $150/seat for Adobe Lightroom licenses, and because it runs on multiple platforms, they’ll leave OS X behind as well – – not because they wanted to leave Apple, but because Apple chose to leave them by taking tools out of their toolbox.

          1. The average consumer cares about managing their photos about as much as they care about managing their music library. As long as they are in chronological order most people are content.

            I’m not defending Apple or Photos. I think Photos sucks. It is however nice to see extensions working with Photos. That being said, I hope Apple improves organization of Photos given they killed Aperture and not everyone is an “average” user.

            1. A reasonably fair point about average folk “not caring”, but Apple’s self-appointed responsibility on the UI and a (claimed) value to “delight” the consumer means that all of the “Nanny” stuff applies here in anticipating what the user really needs (recall, it isn’t the “faster horse)”).

              In this regards, Apple should have known better. Even befor the Final Cut X fiasco.

  2. The change from iPhoto to Photos is the worst thing I have ever see from Apple.
    My first Mac was a 14″ iBook (white plastic). I’ve seen lots of changes, good and bad, however the Photos takes the prize for worst… especially the way it handles the albums and recent downloads…
    You have nearly no control of how the photos are sorted… it SUCKS.

  3. Does iPhoto still work ok in El Cap? Just curious if anyone can tell me. Photos just feels a little off. It’s fine on an iOS device but, doesn’t translate well to the Mac. I really want to like it so I hope it gets a lot more positive attention. Like maybe… input from photographers….

      1. Thank God!!
        I’ll still play around with Photos just to see if I can get use to it. I like the speed of it in Yosemite and agree with “themacgod”. Give us the option of background color.

  4. I ditched El Capitan this morning and went back to Yosemite. There is a bad driver in it that makes C1 not work. Some people need a real program with professional capabilities for photo editing and Apple doesn’t come close to providing one. They did at one time but dropped it in favor of a watered down consumer approach that is very limiting.

    1. I am running a 5K iMac and Capture One Pro 8 works fine. I see on the C1 site they are saying there is an issue with some drivers. Phase One has had access to the beta as have all developers but, as usual, they are very slow at pushing out updates. Why have so many other developers been able to achieve what Phase One has not?

      1. Thanks. I have Affinity Photo and Tonality Pro but they (as noted in this thread) don’t have extensions yet. I did download BeFunky Express and noted that Photos then appeared in the Extensions list. So, you are correct! Patience – as with AAPL – is required at this point 🙂

  5. Being a longtime Aperture user, I didn’t like Photos at first, but it’s starting to grow on me. If you miss events and don’t like the way it handles Moments, just put all your iPhoto or Aperture events into Albums. Mine transferred right over as albums and I just arranged them into years. Basically gives the look of events in the Album/Photos menu. Now I have the option of looking at moments or albums/events, and it works quite well. Photos could still use stars, and a few other things, but as a DAM at least it’s very fast, and I have my pics on all devices now.

    What I don’t like about the extensions is that they don’t save edit history, so they aren’t truly non-destructive in the sense that you can’t go backwards once you save from the extension. Revert to original is the only option.

  6. iPhoto was bloated and so unbearably slow! Apple updated it as much as they could, but remember it was made at a time that people took far fewer pictures. Photos is quick, the way it shows images by date is intuitive, and you can organize all you want with albums and keywords. If you miss the sidebar just turn it on from the view menu and you get a view very much like the old iPhoto.

    I am so happy to see events go, they slow things down, and it was much easier to see images in the photos view. Sure I can’t sort my photos by any other category than date, but I can sort my albums in the El Capitan update by title, date newest and date oldest. I find it much easier to just search by a category, date or location and I have the option to set up a smart album to sort exactly what I want.

    As for editing Photos is so much more superior than iPhoto, frankly anyone who says it isn’t is more than likely just a troll and should just be ignored.

    IPhoto was a great program, emphasis on was! I am so glad Apple had the forethought to retire it. As with all change there will always be those left behind, or decide to take another path which is absolutely your right.

    As with those who are afraid of when iPhoto or Aperture will no longer work, well I am using an iMac 5k and iWeb and IDVD still work on it and how long ago where those programs abandoned?

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