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There’s an app for that

The Roll digs up your best shots so you don’t have to

By nature, the camera roll on your phone is a reflection of the world as you see it. So it makes perfect sense if it’s a complete mess. I know mine is.

Overgrown and overrun with duplicates and accidents, with every half-decent shot flanked by a half-dozen failures, my camera roll is no longer a stash of precious memories, it’s a hoard.

But there’s a new iOS app that aims to intervene: The Roll hoovers up your entire camera roll (photos stay private and stored on your phone), and with the aid of image recognition technology, it automatically tags photos, stacks duplicates (or close cousins) and presents what
it supposes to be your best shots based on an “aesthetic score” it generates. (Everyone’s a critic.)


This means whether you’re red-eyed from the flash or walleyed from the daiquiris, you no longer have to sift through hundreds of heinous selfies to find yourself at your finest. It also makes snooping through your husband’s iPhone way faster. I bet.

PRO The Roll actually does a pretty bang-up job sorting photos, but the tags are the really impressive part. The Roll gets a lot right in its reads (“sunglasses,” “water,” “mode of transport,” “cute”), and the result is liberation from permascrolling.

CON The Roll takes a while to get rolling; my (admittedly too many) 1,500 photos took nearly an hour to “score” – about as long as a manual deleting spree would. And despite the assurance of privacy, it’s still disconcerting to pass all of your photos through some distant algorithm, but eh. I give up.


Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.