Your iPhone Is Full Of Cheesy Videos You Did Not Make

Isn’t it cute when machines try to guess what we want?


If you have an iPhone, and you’ve updated it to iOS 10, you have access to a brand new facial recognition feature that is equal parts insane and fun to play with.

I came across it for the first time yesterday when my buddy Alanna tweeted about it. “Look at this psychotic video my phone made w/o my art direction or consent,” she said, which sounded like the start of my favorite type of technology interaction. Whenever a phone, computer, or bot tries to intuit what I want, the wrongness of their answers is often so endearing that I don’t care that they haven’t completed their task. I do not have a Roomba, but I imagine it’s not unlike finding your Roomba stuck on the carpet or running into a wall—tender. Your machine is trying to make your life easier, but just like the rest of us, it falls short in very specific ways. In this case, our phones are hoarding thousands of photos of our friends, guessing which faces belong to the same person, and auto-generating sentimental video montages for us to share and enjoy. To find it, just go to Photos > People > Your Person of Choice > hit play on the header image.

Your phone breaks ostensibly similar faces into their own little bunches of, say, 15 or 80 photos, and then it’s up to you to scroll through all of those bunches and merge the ones that happen to be of the same person. You can play by the rules and sort all photos of Bobby into a folder you label Bobby, OR you can be an anarchist and go by a theme, like I did here with all of the Kardashian/Jenner content on my camera roll:

Isn’t that fun? And I didn’t have to do anything, really—just tap on all of the Kims and Khloes and Kourtneys that it’d set aside, and notify it that yes, these are all related to one another.

It’s a little like those Facebook memory videos you always get prompted to share, because your friends make it funnier, but the game is heightened by the fact that Apple’s software has complete access to your unedited camera roll. You know how you take ten pics to get that one where everyone’s looking just right? All ten of them are in your video montage, and your phone doesn’t care who has their eyes closed.

To curb that insanity, you have the option to edit your video’s length (short, medium, long), and the tone of the music that plays in the background (gentle, chill, neutral, happy, uplifting, epic, club, and EXTREME). And if there are any truly disastrous photos in the mix, you have the option of omitting them.

Above all else, though, sending the videos to your friends garners such replies as, “No!” and “WHAT IS THIS??” and “Christine this is revolting.” And at the end of the day, isn’t that the greatest gift of all?

Good feature. Try it out.