I tend toward minimalism in the physical world, but when it comes to digital detritus, I could be featured on a special episode of Hoarders. I’m particularly bad with photos: I take a ton and delete none. I never get around to axing duplicates and blurry pictures either. My entire photo library basically just sits there in a huge lump. But then I discovered GoodOnes, a free (for now) iPhone app that provides an easy interface for combing through your thousands of snaps, and uses artificial intelligence to suggest which ones are keepers.

Filtering out bad photos, leaving only the good ones

If you’re looking for a deep, complex photo-organization tool, look elsewhere. GoodOnes’ focus is on simplicity and usability. Once you’ve downloaded and installed it, it will hook up with iCloud and Google Photos to organize your pictures into batches by date. From there, you have three options for each picture: Best, Rest, and Trash. Best puts a star next to a pic you like, Rest leaves them alone, and Trash throws ‘em out. It also lets you put pictures in a photo book, share snaps directly to any app, and do some basic photo editing.

GoodOnes’ purple octopus mascot is cute, and the simple-as-possible interface and gamified approach to sorting through pictures is effective and fun, but the thing that really elevates GoodOnes above just using your photo gallery is its ability to choose the best photo from a series of similar snapshots, recognize blurry pictures, and point out screenshots saved on your camera roll for easy deletion.

Artificial intelligence means people’s eyes will be open in your pictures

I tend to take a ton of pictures of the same thing with the intention of choosing the best one. But I rarely get around to the “choosing” part, so every picture I take just sits there in the cloud, waiting for the day of universal deletion. GoodOnes does the photo evaluation for you. It takes a look at groups of similar pictures and presents you with the best in the series.

I asked the app developers how it actually works, but they were tight-lipped about their special sauce, saying only that its “AI considers a variety of attributes about each photo” to determine which is superior.

From my anecdotal experience, GoodOnes is shockingly spot on. I’ve gone through about 30 series of similar pictures over the last few days, and so far it’s been right about nearly every choice. It chooses the photo where everyone’s eyes are open and is focused best. It even seems to take composition into account. According to the app’s developers, as you rate photos, it learns your preferences and caters its critical opinion to your standards, getting better as you rate more pictures.

Privacy and photo apps

With any photograph app, there is a concern for privacy. GoodOnes works entirely on your phone and doesn’t upload your pictures anywhere. That means its fast, private, and works offline. As the app’s developers point out, this makes it perfect for the plane ride home from a snapshot-heavy vacation.

According to the App Store, however, the app does collect data linked to your contact info, identifiers (data that can be linked to you), usage data, and, diagnostics, so keep that in mind as you use GoodOnes.

Where to get GoodOnes

GoodOnes is available for iPhone through the app store. Right now, it’s totally free, although a subscription service is planned for the future, so jump on it quick.


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