Finder’s Gallery view lets you scroll through folders of photos on your Mac with an enhanced preview pane and rich metadata. Preview works fine as a basic photo viewer for Mac, but it lacks navigation controls, superior viewing experience, and other features. But sometimes you want more than those apps offer.
You don’t need an app like Apple Photos, Adobe Lightroom, or one that supports databases to update and organize your collection while displaying images. We’ll show you some of the best photo viewer apps with unique features for Mac and how you can use them.
1. XnView MP
XnView MP is a photo viewer and manager for Mac. The app lets you organize images in multiple ways and process them with an arsenal of editing tools. It has a built-in batch conversion module and is compatible with more than 500 image formats, as listed on the supported formats page.
The left sidebar is the Finder file system, with section tabs for Folders, Favorites, and Categories Filter. It consists of pre-configured categories to aggregate and label your images.
The center panel shows a thumbnail preview of each photo. You can sort images by name, file size, EXIF date taken or modified, or even filter them by rating, comments, or tags.
On the right side, you’ll see a preview panel. Info lets you see file properties, histograms, and EXIF data. Switch to the Preview panel to check out the image.
Unique Features of XnView MP:
- Support for old, non-standard Photoshop, Corel, Autodesk, and HEIF image formats. Click Create to split or join images and create multipage image files.
- It can handle RAW file photos and uses the GPU to improve performance, caching, and processing. It also supports a full internal bit depth picture of 8, 16, or 32 bits per component.
- Customize the layout of the app as per your needs. Navigate to View > Layout, or select Free to create a custom layout.
- Integrates with XnConvert to convert images, resize batches of images, and apply adjustments like rotation, watermarks, filters, fancy effects, and more.
- Create custom slideshows with parameters for setting up a timer (or keyboard press), screen size, transition effects, and background music.
Download: XnView MP (Free)
ApolloOne is an image viewer app for Mac to view and organize photos. The built-in RAW decoder can generate a preview of an image directly from the RAW file. And with the image processing Lanczos filter, it can scale your image back to its original quality.
To access your photos, choose Tools > Show Browser in the toolbar. Click the plus (+) button and then the Folder menu item. Select the folder you want to add to Places. Navigate to the folder and click to load your photos, then press the left or right arrow keys to see your photos. With just few keystrokes you can maneuver across many photos, like on a Windows PC.
Thumbnails are generated on the fly using a multi-core processing engine. With this, you can instantly zoom in or out of the photo. Or, press the Control key to instantly zoom to a particular magnification. For Macs with a GPU, the app can further speed up the display of images and quality.
The Inspector panel shows you metadata and detailed information from a camera JPEG or RAW file. Read our guide, to learn more about adding metadata to your photos and different metadata categories. On a supported camera, the info page can reveal the serial number, shutter count, and other specifications.
Unique Features of ApolloOne:
- It can provide a glance view of images at the top of the viewer like a film strip or compare two images in a split view.
- Set the source of the metadata and support both macOS extended attributes (used by Finder searches) and XMP. Turn on Spotlight indexing to search images by different EXIF parameters.
- There’s a built-in adjustment panel to help with the assessment of a RAW image. This includes exposure compensation, highlights, and shadows adjustment, color temperature, tint adjustment, and an Auto Tone curve.
- Contact Sheet mode displays the thumbnails in a grid fashion. With it, you can perform file operations in bulk to resize and convert images.
- Add a Smart Folder created by Finder to access your photos. It even supports Finder tags and lets you use a combination of tags for further filtering.
Download: ApolloOne (Subscription required, free trial available)
qView is a minimal image viewer app for Mac. To get started, navigate to File > Open and choose a folder to display its contents. Then, press the left or right arrow keys to navigate between the photos seamlessly, just like on a Windows PC.
Scroll to zoom in or out and Control-click any picture to access more options. You can rotate images, flip images, or switch to the original size and view them in detail.
Unique Features of qView:
- qView supports GIFs, allowing you to increase or decrease the speed or save a specific frame as a PNG or JPEG.
- View photos in slideshow mode by going to Tools > Start Slideshow. You can customize the slideshow direction, timer, and preload settings.
- It offers shortcuts to navigate and access different options and usability. Check the Shortcuts tab in preferences.
- By default, the title bar shows the file name. Head to Preferences > Window and check the Verbose option under the Titlebar text to show more details.
Download: qView (Free)
Picturama is a modern-looking, electron-based Mac app for viewing images. The app supports JPEG, PNG, TIF, WebP, HEIC, and HEIF. It also reads the RAW file format for a selection of supported cameras through the LibRaw libraries built into the app.
To get started, click the Settings button and choose a folder. You can browse the photos by date using the stylish progress bar on the right. Choose a year and month and directly navigate to your photos. Press the i button to see the information and EXIF data of an image. Click the flag button to add that image to your favorites.
Unique Features of Picturama:
- Comprehensive EXIF, IPTC, MakerNotes, and XMP information for each image.
- You can add a tag, but it has no relation to Finder tags.
- Rotate and crop your photos. You can zoom in or out with the slider in the toolbar or mouse wheel.
- Export photos in formats like JPEG, PNG, or WebP. When doing this, you can set the quality and size, and remove EXIF data.
Download: Picturama (Free)
Lyn is a Mac photo viewer and organizer. It supports TIFF, HEIF, TGA, WebP, GIF, and many non-standard, old, and RAW image formats. With the built-in support of camera models and multi-threading, it can progressively scale high-resolution images. In the case of images you want to enlarge, look at different ways to upscale images without losing quality.
The left sidebar displays your folders (including Smart Folders), photo libraries, devices, and mounted volumes. The viewer displays the image with different view (Icon, Strip, List, Map), sort (name, date, color label, tags), and filter (name, extension, tags) options.
The Map layout mode uses Apple Maps with GPS data to provide location information. The List view mode shows the image thumbnail, detailed information, and metadata. And the Strip view mode shows a tiny strip of thumbnails on the top with a viewer area. At the right, you’ll see the Inspector panel. It displays information like type, color space, EXIF, MakerNote, IPTC, GPS, and more.
Browse your photos either using strip view mode or by double-clicking a picture and using the left or right arrow keys. You can use different zoom methods or shortcuts to magnify the image at the cursor level.
Unique Features of Lyn:
- The app can detect the color profile (through ICC) of the image, embedded profile, EXIF, or camera MakerNote.
- You can rate, assign keywords to, and add tags to your photos. It’s also possible to create a smart folder with tags, so you can easily find files.
- When you connect a camera, expand the Devices section and start importing your photos. It can even import from a card reader, hard disk, or NAS.
- Lyn includes a non-destructive filtering engine to adjust color, exposure, contrast, enhance the shadows, apply a sepia filter, convert to black and white, and more. You can even straighten and crop an image and later revert it.
- Publish your photos directly to Flickr, Dropbox, and SmugMug.
Download: Lyn ($29.99, free trial available)
Don’t Forget to Find an Image Editor for Your Mac
Although viewing images seems like a simple operation, many people have different needs from their photo viewing app. The apps discussed in this article cover a wide range of options for different professionals and edge cases. Try out these apps to see which one fits your needs best.
If you’re looking to edit your images, then you require an image editor. All these image viewers have the option to Open with an image editor of your choice. If this interests you, take a look at the best free and paid image editors for Mac.
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