Even without the limits of a 36-shot roll of film or memory cards that quickly max out, it doesn’t take long to fill an iPhone and cloud storage with photos. So Canon has released an iOS app that can make the hard decisions for you when it’s time to clear out some memories using AI to objectively decide which shots aren’t worth keeping.
Having access to terabytes of cloud storage is a double-edge sword because unless you’re willing to pay for the privilege of being a digital hoarder, eventually you’re going to have to clean out your camera roll, and years of being snap-happy can leave you with thousands of photos to comb through by hand. But now you can pawn the hard work off to PHIL (short for Photography Intelligence Learning), which is what Canon has named its computer vision AI platform.
In the Photo Culling app, there are two ways to put PHIL to work. The “Whole Culling” option analyzes your entire camera roll and scores each photo based on four different criteria: noise, sharpness, closed eyes, and detected emotion. Users set a score threshold and the app will then present a list of photos that don’t measure up and can be deleted, allowing users to take one last look for any keepers they don’t want to part with, even if it’s a bad shot.
The other option is called “Similar Culling” and it uses AI to sort similar-looking photos into groups, evaluate each shot, and then present the user with the two best images from each series and the option to quickly delete the rest. It promises to make the decision-making process when it comes to deleting photos a lot easier because the reality is that as beautiful as last night’s sunset was, there’s little chance you’re ever going to go back and look at 40 photos of the sun setting.
Other features include a running tally of how many photos are on your device and the amount of storage they’re taking up and automatic album sorting based on timestamps or photos taken at the same event. When an album starts to get too big the app will automatically remind you that it’s probably time to clean house. However, according to the fine print, the app doesn’t work with photos uploaded to iCloud and instead requires users to ensure that the “Download & Keep Originals” option is turned on so that all the photos are sitting on the device itself.
Canon’s Photo Culling is available from the Apple App Store right now and while you can try it out for free for three days, after that it requires a $3 monthly subscription or a cheaper $15 annual subscription if you think it’s something you’ll use often.