Tech Friday: Your photo apps are making a lot of “facetile” images

Posted By on May 31, 2019

If you are using Apple’s Photos app, you’ve probably noticed the software attempts to identify faces of people (not just Apple either). This can be helpful for “you” to sift through photos, but also seems a bit nosy when the app also builds a pile of “facetile” photos on its own. facetilefoldersMost people likely will not see these photos since they are buried in an obscure resource face folder, but there are megabytes of them there and generally will not show up in a Spotlight search (default settings). Surprisingly in my case, they did show up in my cloud backup … so be aware if that is something you use.

Now,  I’ve used TimeMachine with local harddrives for my backups primarily (not trusting “free”  but with strings cloud storage), but after an iMac issue this past year, also started to use my .edu Google Drive with a Terrabyte of no cost storage to automatically backup some of my iMac data to the cloud. Only then did I notice and start to wonder about all the automatically created “facetile” images (7853 of them in my case) being sent to a BigData company. Hm, now what is Google doing with it?

Likely almost all images taken by smartphones are already analyzed for facial recognition anyway, but seeing “facetile” images automatically being plucked out of the hidden resource folder on my iMac, and then only by chance noticing these archived “facetile photos” were being backed up to Google Drive, and likely scanned for their facial recognition database, was a bit unsettling. It has me wonder how many others are completely oblivious to this process automatically happening?


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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