Cleen Helps Cleaning Up Your Photo Library on the iPHONE

November 18, 2014
Updated on: November 18, 2014 at 17:32

Cleen Helps Cleaning Up Your Photo Library on the iPHONE → via @_patrickwelker

If your iPhone is your main camera and you shoot a ton of pictures you probably know the drill: at some point there are just too many pictures and you are the person in charge to clean up this mess before you share them to family and friends.

Photo management has become easier in the last years. Several iOS apps now offer automatic uploading of your latest and greatest. Personally, I’m a fan of CameraSync because it allows you to setup a naming scheme of your own. Plus, it offers background location sync, meaning, if I return home the app recognizes my trusted ol’ WiFi network and the photos I took get automatically uploaded to my preferred destination.

In the App Store description of Camera Sync there’s a quote from

Call me lazy, but I don’t like plugging my phone into my computer just to get all my pictures. CameraSync fixes this annoyance by wirelessly sending all new photos you take to Dropbox [or] Flickr, Amazon S3, SkyDrive, an FTP server or….

This is exactly me. Shooting away, auto-uploading and just being lazy about it.

For me, one problem remains with this approach: I end up with a ton of pictures which I don’t want to archive anyway. My Mac with its 24″ display attached to it is perfect for plowing through pictures and getting rid of them. Still, the last time I sorted my pictures was 6 months ago. This is downside of being lazy. I tend to defer this task because when I’m at it, I will also edit the pictures to have them ready to share. With editing being time intensive this leads to a vicious postponing circle.

Working in batches is fine - it would even be better if I do it monthly (which was my initial intention) - but wouldn’t it be even better to pre-filter pictures manually by hand even before uploading them with CameraSync? After all our phones are bigger now and have such a nice display. The upload would be faster without the additional ballast.

Well, now we can do it in the most easiest manner: meet Cleen and enjoy triaging with swipe gestures.


Cleen is a free iPhone app and was made by the same team who brought the nifty cloud-based photo book app tapsBook to the iPad. Cleen is equally clever and has three interactions to assist you:

  1. Swipe up: mark as favorite = keep your photos.
  2. Swipe down: mark as trash = prepare for batch deletion.
  3. Swipe left: postpone the final decision and act-on the photo later.


The workflow is much like the one from Triage (the self-titled Email First Aid Kit). Cleen applies this gesture driven fast filing system and let’s you sort out unwanted photos.

At any point you can drag a faved or trashed photo back to main area for revision.

Once your done, you can delete all files at once… and they will vanish from your iPhone’s camera roll.


The last part is actually the exciting part. Cleen is the first app I saw using this new iOS 8 feature and I can’t wait for a screen shot app which makes use of this feature. Screenshot Journal and I Love Screenshot can already copy screen shots to dedicated folders, but being able to move (or copy + delete) would be make those apps much more useful for bloggers.

The one minor issue is that I’d have wished for a more trimmed down UI where I can see more of my photo. To work around smallness of the cards which representat of your photos, you can tap and hold to zoom in on a photo. I would also like an option to just “keep” a photo instead of marking it as a favorite. Marking a photo for reviewing “later” keeps the photo and doesn’t add it as a favorite. So there’s kind of a workaround already build-in.

Currently you can’t select a default folder in the settings. If working with the cameral roll is your main use case for Cleen, you’ll have to swipe all the way to its folder first. Having an option to open Cleen with a default folder would be a nice little time saver.1

Cleen is not optimized for the iPhone 6 (Plus) yet. But my guess is that it won’t take long until an update is available which adds support for it.

In short, I think Cleen is excellent and does a stellar job at simplifying a crucial step of photo management: taking out the trash.

  1. And… an URL scheme for all those Launch Center Pro addicts would also be great – just to launch the app.

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