[Mac App Review] Open In – External editor support for Photos.app that takes all power of Photoshop or Affinity Photo (External Editors for Photos)


Photos.app on macOS works seamlessly with iCloud Photo Library which keeps your photos and videos up to date on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV and iCloud.


However, when it comes to more professional photo editing you probably feel Photos.app is not enough even though it has Photo Editing Extensions  which few third-party apps support so far. Do you wish more powerful photo manipulation in Photos.app just like in Photoshop or Affinity Photo? If so, this posting is just for you.


Open In is Extension which lets you use external editors for Photos.app so that you can bring all power of your favorite photo editor like Photoshop or Affinity Photo into Photos.app.


App Store Screenshot Images of Open In - External editor support for Photos.app

App Store Screenshot of Open In - External editor support for Photos.appApp Store Screenshot of Open In - External editor support for Photos.appApp Store Screenshot of Open In - External editor support for Photos.app


Downloading and Initial Setting for Open In Extension

To get Open In, Go to App Store and download it. When you open Open In, you should be instructed with simple steps:
Screenshot of running Open In... extension app


Go to System Preferences > Extension, select Photos on the left side then find and tick off Open In.. on the right:
Setting up Open In... in macOS system preferences


That’s it! you don't need to keep Open In open and running. You are completely ready with one time set up and never need to open it again. But do not delete it.



The Workflow Overview of Open In...

Quick overview of how Open In works.

Open In works like a  bridge between Photos.app and your favorite photo editor. Open In hands over your photo to be edited from Photos app to an external photo editor of your choice. And then you edit the photo in that editor. After saving your photo in the external editor, you accept that changes finally in Photos app.



Full Process


In Photos.app, You can start with clicking the Edit PhotoEdit Photo button inside Photos app button or pressing Command + Return key:


Where Edit Photo button is inside Photos app


Then it shows up Edit Tool of Photos.app. There is Extensions button among other tools on the bottom of the list. This lists all of Photo Extensions that you permitted  in your System Preferences before to show up within Photos app. There you should see Open In…  extension if your System Preferences  is properly set.


finding Open In extension among other Editing Tools of Photos app


When you choose to use Open In… extension, it lets you choose application. Go ahead to click Choose application…:

Open In lets you choose External Photo Editor


Then it again presents all possible external photo editors that are currently installed on your macOS. My case is below:

all the external photo editors available on your Mac


I have chosen to use Adobe Photoshop CC, my favorite for getting most of what I am paying for. Remind that you can also choose other editing tools.


chosen application-Photoshop CC





Pressing the Open In button under the application name will fires it up and running. Below image shows that Photoshop CC have taken over the photo to edit it:

the photo open inside Photoshop reay to be edited


I did simple photo manipulation and have FLATTENED the layers like below. 

after editing the photo inside Photoshop


If you chose an external photo editor with capabilities of stacking layers like Photoshop or Affinity Photo, You should flatten all the layers into one before saving and closing to give the photo back to Photos.app. As for Photoshop application, a good sign indicating that you did is the padlock icon on the layer and that is only one layer on your Layer Panel.


The idea is that the external editor has to give back the same file format as it was. If it was a .PSD file when handed over, flattening would not be involved. However, normally people would not import .PSD files into Photos app in the first place but, it's possible.


After saving and closing the photo from your external editor, you will see the photo has been changed when you get back to Photos.app. Click Save Changes button on the upper right corner to accept the changes:


Saving Changes when got back to Photos app


Then you are back to Editing Tool and you wil notice that there is Revert to Original button as well. Photos.app still keeps the original photo so that you can revert to it anytime in the future:

leaving Editing Tool of macOS Photos app


Click Done button to leave Editing Tool. Now this change will reflect inside all your Mac and iOS devices if you use iCloud Photo Library's sync feature.


the photo has changed in Photos app



You Got The Power

Isn't it nice to have all capabilities of what your favorite photo editor have inside Photos.app via Open In extention app? Moreover, the extention is available for free on the Mac App Store. Thanks to the developer.


I am Kyle Kim at StarryReviews.com. Please stay tuned with new posts coming up!

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