How to Add a Location to Pictures in Photos for Mac

Nov 6, 2015 - 14 Comments

Add a location to a picture in Photos for Mac

The latest versions of Photos app for Mac allow users to add geographic location data to any pictures stored within the image browser. This can be helpful for organizing photos, sharing with others where a picture was taken, and for later recollection purposes too. Additionally, you can edit the location of pictures as well, so if a photo was incorrectly assigned a location, you can change that in the OS X Photos app.


You’ll need Photos for OS X running on at least OS X 10.11 or later to have the location adjustment features.

How to Add a Location to a Picture in Photos for OS X

You can add locations to single pictures or multiple images, depending on what you select in Photos app:

  1. Open Photos app and double-click on the photo you wish to add a location to (alternatively, you can select multiple pictures from the Albums or Photos view if you wish to apply the location to all selected images)
  2. Click on the (i) button in the Photos menu bar to bring up the image info inspector window
  3. Get Info about the picture to add a location to

  4. Click in “Assign a Location” and start typing the name of the location – this uses a location search based on the Maps application to find* and assign locations, so select a matching location from the search and hit “Return” to assign that location to the picture when satisfied
  5. Click to "Assign a Location" then search for your location to add to the picture

Once assigned, the location data appears in the Image Information panel on a map, as you can see here with a picture from the Grand Canyon:

Add location data to pictures in Photos for Mac

*At the moment there does not appear to be a way to assign locations based on maps and dropping pins alone, you must use the location search feature within Photos

Once the image has been assigned a location and saved, if you export the picture the new GPS geolocation data is stored as part of the images EXIF data, meaning you can find the exact location in Preview, another Mac with Photos, or any other image viewer capable of reading location data (which is most nowadays).

This is a nice feature if you want to selectively add locations to pictures yourself rather than having the iPhone assign them though GPS, particularly if you’re one of us who disabled iPhone GPS automatically adding geotagged locations to photos taken with the camera, or if you manually strip out GPS EXIF data of image files, which is sometimes desirable for user privacy purposes.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

14 Comments

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  1. RM says:

    Great tip, though Photos still sucks so bad I’d rather go to a dentist to have an impacted molar removed without an anesthesia.
    I miss iPhoto.

  2. Zardoz says:

    Hey RM, I totally agree.

    I’ve complained to Apple several times about the lack of being able to assign locations using a satellite view map and moving a drop pin to the correct location. Photos is definitely a subpar replacement for iPhoto.

  3. Nilesh Parmar says:

    I find the new photos app absolutely terrible. It has been too simplified. I now use Lightroom to tag my titles, locations and keywords, this way, the metadata is in the photo, not in a single application, such as Photos. RIP iPhotos, you were on point!

  4. Chris Lee says:

    Photos is great, the best I’ve used on any platform. So robust and fast yet so easy.

  5. Chris Lee says:

    And thanks for the tip! Hope they’ll add the drop pin method someday.

  6. Norbert Pauli says:

    Setting a location within Photos is mediocre since the user totally depens on Apple’s Location Database. If your destination isn’t store there your are toasted. How great is that in the 21st century?

  7. Jelger Kingma says:

    The geotag option within photos is bad to say the least.
    When geotagging pictures made away from known locations and roads it is impossible. You would need the satellite data for that. I hope someday they implement this feature correct. Now I still need to use GeoTag Version 3.
    Other than this I have no complaints on the photos app.

    PS. one more thing why is face data nog preserved when sharing?

  8. Dominik Hoffmann says:

    I found the location of my photo in Google Maps, in the form of coordinates. I then pasted that into the image info inspector window. It worked.

    What I still can’t do is copy location info from one photo to the other.

  9. Tim Foster says:

    You mention the ability to change or add location to multiple photos yet do not give the steps. I cannot get it to work. This is confusing and frustrating.

    • In Photos, shift or option click to select multiple photos, then open up the image info panel (option + i). Then make your changes to the location data – it will be applied to all the photos you selected. As Dominik Hoffmann suggested above, copy & paste GPS co-ords from google maps is much easier than using the very small map in Photos :-)

    • Jim Roberts says:

      Tried above and can’t get multiple photos to open. Only by double-clicking 1 photo will Info show location line. Option+I doesn’t work w/ multiple photos selected.

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