July 19, 2024


Education, What Else?

Harry Potter Style Live Photo Albums

4 min read
Harry Potter Style Live Photo Albums

Shelly and I love watching our photo memories with our kids and family, as well as now just with our dogs (as “empty nesters”) on our living room television as well as our kitchen Google Nest Hub. I wrote about this a couple weeks ago in the post, “Digital Picture Frames.” This weekend we’ve had an “Easter Getaway” to an absolutely wonderful VRBO cabin in the North Carolina mountains about two hours from our house, and I’ve discovered the delights of “live photo albums” (which to me, seem like they are “Harry Potter style”) using my iPad, the Apple Photos app, and a HDMI video adapter with the VRBO living room television. In this post, I’ll share a few more details about how this works, what’s needed to do it, and why it’s awesome!

iPad with Lightning Digital AV Adapter” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer

For many years now, I’ve set my iPhone photos to auto-upload / back up to both iCloud / Apple Photos and to Google Photos. Granted, this setup requires that we pay some monthly fees for larger amounts of cloud-based storage with both Apple and Google, but it’s TOTALLY worth it IMHO. First of all, our family photos are SUPER important to us, and the thought of losing these photos due to a hack or malware / phishing attack is super-scary to me. Second of all, this provides me with amazing (and ever-improving) AI-powered search access to all our photos. Not only can I readily create photo albums of every picture we’ve ever taken with our golden retrievers, or every Christmas time picture, or all my cooking photos, I also can enjoy image collage and slideshow creations with Apple and Google developers are now “baking in” to their photo products.

Until this weekend, all our digital photo frame experiences with our family pictures have been with Google Photos. I’ve only used Apple photos a little bit. However, I didn’t bring a Chromecast with us on our weekend getaway, and I wanted to put some family photos on the living room TV this weekend we could enjoy as background ambiance. It turns out (at least in the current iteration, from what I can figure out) the iPadOS Google Photos app does NOT support dynamic slideshows at all. In contrast, the MacOS Photos app DOES support slideshow playback of albums, and these also “auto-play,” so once you get started, they just keep playing! They also auto-magically add some instrumental background music, so if you want that added ambiance, you can just turn up the TV volume.

Enjoying our Apple Photos “For Me” Live Photo Slideshows” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer

Here are the “digital supplies” you need to do this yourself, along with the specific techniques.

  1. You need a WiFi or strong cellular data connection to stream your photos and live photos from iCloud on your iOS device.
  2. You’ll need your iPhone or iPad, and you’ll need to have the “auto-upload” feature turned ON (“Turn on iCloud Photos”) so tons of your past photos are available in iCloud. (You don’t want to do this on a trip, just before you want to start a photo slideshow like this, because… depending on how many photos you have… this can take a LONG time to upload / sync. Do it NOW if you have not already!)
  3. To connect an iPhone or iPad directly to a HDMI television, you’ll need both an HDMI cable (get a cheaper one at WalMart or Target, or order from Amazon) as well as an Apple Lightning to HDMI video adapter. ($50 from Apple, the “Lightning Digital AV Adapter.”)
  4. The TV remote control, on which you’ll need to find the SOURCE CHANGE option. After plugging in the HDMI cable to an available port on the back of the TV, you’ll select that port with the remote control after plugging in your iPhone or iPad.
  5. To start the slideshow in the Apple Photos app on your iOS device, tap the icon at the bottom of the screen titled, “FOR ME.” Select a desired “memory” and then it should start to auto-play. It will just keep playing more memories, so your background digital slideshow is underway!

One of the side benefits (or drawbacks, depending on your perspective, pantry supplies and cooking talents) is that your Apple Photos slideshows may totally make you hungry for a variety of past recipes you’ve cooked and documented! For me, many of these are shared on my @CookWith Wes Instagram channel, YouTube playlist, Twitter channel and via the #CookWithWes hashtag on Mastodon.

To learn more about our Easter weekend getaway and our lessons learned as parents who are now “empty nesters,” check out the latest episode (“Episode 10: The Velveteen Rabbit”) from Shelly and my new podcast, “Wes and Shelly Share.”

Harry Potter Style Live Photo Albums” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, subscribe to Wes’ free newsletter. Check out Wes’ video tutorial library, “Playing with Media.” Information about more ways to learn with Dr. Wesley Fryer are available on wesfryer.com/after.

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