What’s in a Name? – Finding Photos with Another Name

Mylio Features  /  Things Organized
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What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to your photos, a lot. The right file name can mean the difference between finding a picture and losing it in an endless scroll of auto-generated numbers. Or worse…

If you’re someone who knows and cares about your photos, you’ve noticed how your photos are named. Pictures have file names that are chosen by the camera that took the picture. That camera could be a phone or a dedicated camera. In all cases it is the source of the file name. You may not care about that name, but you should. Why?

Name clashes. If you take pictures long enough, especially if you – and family or team members – use more than one phone/camera, you run the risk of creating two pictures with the same name. If those pictures ever end up in the same folder, you could even end up losing pictures without even knowing it. 

The pictures my iPhone or iPad take have names like IMG_0047. When I buy a new iPhone, the first picture it takes is called IMG_0001. How imaginative. While we’re at it, suppose I happen to buy an iPhone and an iPad at the same time. Then I start taking pictures with both. The third picture taken by each will be called IMG_0003. Wait! That’s the same name. If I put them in the same folder, how will I be able to tell them apart? Your computer may even prompt you to delete them since they appear to be duplicates. If you’re not careful, you could lose half your photos, or at least get albums confusingly merged. 

Tablet and Phone need different name conventions

Since we’re talking about iOS devices, let’s just spend a minute more. Say I take a lot of pictures on my phone. Eventually I’ll have a picture with the file name IMG_9999. When I take one more picture, guess what the new picture is called? Yup, IMG_0001 again. So even on a single phone, we are eventually going to run into name clashes.

Android Phones are a little (okay, a lot) better in this respect. One picture I took with my Samsung phone is called: 20190403_133039. There are a lot of digits here that represent the year, month, day, hour, minute, and second. Pictures taken on different devices can still have the same name (less likely) but at least it won’t happen on the same device.

You’d think “real cameras” would be much better. Spoiler alert: they’re not. In fact, a picture I took today with my Sony camera has the name DSC06561. Nikon, Canon and other cameras use virtually the same format. So name clashes are just as likely with a point and shoot.

Fortunately Mylio solves this problem AND can automatically sort your pictures the way you want. With a quick set up, you can have Mylio automatically name and number your photos to your specifications. Set, forget, and be safe.

Automatic Renaming with Mylio

Mylio keeps the import process simple. Many users want Mylio to just put their pictures somewhere and don’t even know pictures are in files that have names. The Life Calendar makes it possible for users to organize their pictures without ever knowing about or even seeing a folder, let alone a file name. On the one hand, this means Mylio looks simple when you first set it up. On the other hand, you have to ask to get access to all the import functions.

So the first thing to do is go to “Setting>Advanced” and toggle “Show Advanced Import Settings” to “on”.

Now, say you are importing pictures from an SD (or CF) Card. After tapping on “Import” and then picking “SD Card”, you will see this dialog:

Screenshot of Camera Card Import

File Naming” and the line below it is where the magic starts. So, if you tap on the blue entry below File Naming, the next thing you will see is:

Screenshot of File Name Input

Let’s see what these choices mean:

  1. Keep existing file names the starting point; leave the file names the way the camera set them.
  2. Prefix-Sequence: You pick a “prefix” like “my_pictures” and then Mylio adds a number to it. Like my_pictures001, my_pictures002 and so on.
  3. YearMonth-Day-Sequence Like 2019-04-22-0994
  4. YearMonth-Sequence 2019-04-0094
  5. CameraSequence iPhone_6-0094
  6. Custom: This is where it gets interesting.  Let’s talk about this.

True Custom Names

Mylio provides a set of tags that can be combined to create a completely customized file name. Mine looks like this:


What? Let’s go piece by piece:

  • P I picked P as the prefix for all my photos. You can pick your name, your city, a letter, or nothing at all.
  • 190412 Year, Month and Day in a slightly abbreviated format
  • 170531 Hour, Minute, and Second
  • A7R-III Abbreviated form of the camera model so I can tell which camera I took the picture with.

So, how did I ask Mylio to do all that? I tapped in the white box below ‘Custom’ the first time I was doing an import. Then I typed in a string – you can see it there – that specifies the naming template. The string consists of letters and tags. The letters can be anything except “{“ or “}”. Those two are excluded because a letter surrounded by the { } is considered to be a special tag. So {d} is the full date in abbreviated form. {t} is the time. {i} is the abbreviated camera model. And, {o} is the original file name. You only have to type this string in once.  The tags are all there for you to see if you scroll down below the white field. It takes only a couple of minutes. Now here is the best part:

  • Mylio remembers this string on all your devices.
  • From now on when you do an import just leave the “File Naming Field” alone (set at Custom . . .)
  • Mylio will automatically rename your files as they are imported.

You should name your photos in a way that makes sense to you. Whatever your approach, Mylio lets you customize it. That means you’ll be able to find them easier, avoid name clashes, and never lose a photo.

Woman happily organizes the file name on her phone