How to Create 'Memories' Photo Slideshows on the iPad

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How to Create Photo Memories

If you find the "Memories" feature in Photos both extremely cool and extremely confusing, join the crowd.  While Apple has a reputation for hitting home runs, they also have a frustrating habit of taking a great feature and pairing it with a poor implementation.   This is never more true than with Memories on iOS.  The slideshow-like videos produced are quite amazing, but it sometimes seems like Apple is doing everything in their power to keep you from getting the most out of this feature.   

When you first open the Memories tab, you see a small selection of Memories the iPad has prepared for you.  After you view one of these Memories, you'll see similar Memories and a list of people and places tagged in your photos.  If you choose a person or a place, the iPad will create a custom memory video. 

But if you think you are somehow missing the create button, you are not.  As mentioned, Apple has a bad habit of poor implementation, and this is a prime example.  You'll need to jump through some hoops to create your own memories. 

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

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.  You will also run into problems if you want to do something as simple as combining two days or two months into a single Memory, but there are ways around these issue.  

You can create a memory based on a span of time in the the Photos section by tapping the "Photos" button at the bottom of the screen.  You can zoom into months and days by tapping a grouped selection of photos and zoom back out by tapping the link at the top-left corner of the screen.  

When you are ready to create a memory of a year, month or day, tap the ">" button to the right of the photos.  This will take you to a screen with a "Memory" at the top and the photos below it.  When you tap the play button in the bottom-right corner of the Memory, a video will be generated.  You can then begin editing this memory, which is explained on the next page.

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How to Create a Custom Memory

Unfortunately, most memories won't consist of a single day.  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.  

In order to create a Memory of these photos, you will need to create a custom album.  You can do this tapping the "Albums" button at the bottom of the screen and tapping the "+" button in the top-left corner of the Albums page.  It is a good idea to name your new album the same as you would want the title of your Memory.  You can edit the title of the Memory later, but it is simply easier to name it here.

After you create the new album, add photos as you normally would by tapping "Select" at the top-right and then "Add" from the top-left.  And yes, it doesn't make sense to "select" photos before adding them.  This is another example of a counter-intuitive interface.  You really didn't think Apple was perfect, did you?

Once you have selected the photos, go into the new album.  At the very top is a date range that covers all of the photographs you have added to the album.  To the far right of this date range is the ">" button.   When you tap this button, a new screen will pop up with the Memory at the top and the photographs in the album at the bottom.   You can now press Play on the Memory to view it.  

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How to Edit Photo Memories

The Memories feature is great on its own.  The iPad 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.  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 in 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.  

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Edit the Title and Change Out Photos

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.  

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 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 iPad 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.

When editing the photo selection, you may have some problems trying to navigate by swiping left or right across the screen.  The iPad can sometimes stick to a photo rather than smoothly navigating to the next photo.  It may be easier to use the small thumbnail photos at the bottom to select a photo.   You can delete any photo by selecting it and then tapping the trash can at the bottom-right corner.  

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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 2016 photos, you can only add photos from that 2016 collection.  This is where creating a new album of photos comes in handy.  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.

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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 iPad by tapping the Share Button.  When a Memory is playing in full-screen mode, tap the iPad to see it in a window.  At the bottom of the iPad 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 iPad or iPhone.  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 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 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.

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