Clear all

Photos face matching & sync overriding manual selection  


Topic starter

I have been using iCloud Photo Library (iPL) ever since it was announced, and long before that I had diligently tagged all (30,000+) photos on my main Mac with faces. After iPL started syncing faces across devices, in the process of having all devices (3 Macs, 2 iOS devices) get into sync, a number of faces were changed by the face recognition algorithm to wrong names, including some where photos of myself are tagged as my brother. For more than a year, I have at irregular intervals tried correcting these wrongly names faces (making sure I have all five devices open at the same time and observing that the change propagates across them all). However, after a shorter or longer interval (days to weeks), when I check back in to these photos, they will have reverted to the wrong names.

Even worse are pictures where I have manually added faces that Photos don't recognize as faces. For some photos, this is perfectly fine, but for some hundreds of pictures, these manually added faces are stripped away. In attempts at beating this process, I have in some cases added 2, 3 or even 5 manual faces and named them correctly. Slowly, over time, one, then another of these is removed, while in a few cases I have made them stick.

This is extremely frustrating, especially since I cannot fathom where the wrong face ID is stored so that it makes it back after it has been changed to the correct name across all devices. Any idea how to fix this so that my carefully named faces stay correct?

Topic Tags
1 Answer

I'm not aware of any tool that allows one to manipulate the face matching magic (aka algorithm) within Photos.

I was of the understanding that all the processing for face matching is done "on device" but I'm not up to date on how this is propagated between devices as I believe originally it wasn't synced.

Certainly stripping manually allocated names doesn't sound like an intended result.

I can only think to troubleshoot by disconnecting devices from iCloud, making a change on all devices, and see if any particular one is doing this.

[Note: Maybe change the title of your post to indicate a face matching problem within Photos?] 


Thanks for your feedback, Graham. Yes, I believe some of the issues are due to face ID-ing being done on device. I notice that across the devices, some will pick up a certain face in a photo, others not, and I suspect some of the removing of manually added faces is caused by this (but not all, there are many photos where no device sees a face and I add it manually).

But your suggestion to disconnect devices from iCloud could be a road forward. If I make corrections and make sure these sync across all devices, then take one device out of the equation, if errors are not reintroduced, it would at least give me a clue which device is causing this.

As for the title of the post (written in deep frustration), I cannot figure out how to edit it...

@bjorna - I've made an update to the title for you, which may change the URL that your post now lives at.