SnipTag review: Mac photo auto-crop, metadata utility barely makes the cut

Aside from convenience, the great thing about using an iPhone as your primary camera is the sheer quantity of metadata captured with each image. In addition to date and time, you’ll always know where photos were taken, not to mention ISO, exposure, and other settings.

But what about pictures taken prior to the advent of digital photography? Scanned prints, negatives, and slides get embedded with the current date and time, and have no knowledge of where or how those photos were originally taken.

sniptag home screen App Initio Limited

SnipTag is two apps in one: auto cropping for scanned photos, and metadata tagging to make those images easier to find.

SnipTag is a macOS utility designed to help shutterbugs prep photos in two important ways. First, by cropping scanned pages containing multiple images in a single click, and then tagging the resulting digital versions (or other image files) with metadata and keywords that make them searchable in Apple Photos or other apps.

One benefit to proper tagging is that it allows viewing photos in chronological order, so scanned pictures show up alongside digital images taken at the same time. We’re sticklers for keeping our Photos library organized this way, although the built-in tools don’t always make it easy to do.

When launched, SnipTag splits the app window in half, with Snip mode at left, and Tag on the right side. The app doesn’t actually scan photos; this must be done with software bundled with a scanner, the Preview app, or third-party solutions like the excellent VueScan ($40). Scan up to eight photos at once, taking care to leave a small gap between each to help SnipTag identify the edges.

sniptag snip mode App Initio Limited

In Snip mode, SnipTag can import a page with multiple scanned photos, then automatically crop and separate them.

After saving in JPG, PNG, TIFF, or BMP format, import the file into SnipTag, where it is quickly analyzed, automatically cropped, and individual photos are added to an image gallery on the right side of the window. Now you can rotate images, refine cropping, add metadata, delete, or export as new files with or without captions.

SnipTag applies artificial intelligence to determine how photos should be cropped using two engines: Apple Vision or Computer Vision. There’s no guidance offered as to which method is best. In my tests, despite defaulting to the former, Computer Vision provided more accurate (but not always perfect) results. The developer recommends switching between engines as necessary, but this is an awkward solution since the setting is only accessible via Preferences.

Photo tag

Although designed with traditional print photos in mind, SnipTag includes a metadata editor used to add or change filenames, month/day/time, description, and geolocation data for digital images. There’s also a keyword field for entering comma-separated text, which makes photos easier to find after adding to a library.