Group photos by faces

The Microsoft Photos app uses face detection and face recognition technologies to help you quickly and easily identify and organize photos of friends and family. Face detection distinguishes faces from other objects in an image. For example, face detection helps the Photos app know when there is a face in a photo or video so that the app can further analyze the photo. Face recognition identifies and groups similar faces across multiple photos or videos in your personal collection. 

For more information about the data that is collected and stored when you use the Photos app, see the Privacy Statement.

To group photos by faces

If you are running the July 2019 version (2019.19061.17310.0) of the Photos app—or a later version—you will be asked when you start the app whether you want to use the facial grouping feature.

  1. Start the Photos app.

  2. A welcome screen appears asking for your permission to turn on the People setting in the Photos app.

    Screenshot of the Welcome back to Photos screen.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Select Yes to leave the People setting turned on and preserve previously determined facial groupings.

    • Select No thanks to delete any previously determined facial groupings. When asked whether you’re sure you want to turn off this setting, select Yes.

To turn on the facial grouping feature

  1. In the upper-right corner of the Photos app, select See more … > Settings.

  2. Under the the Viewing and editing section, turn the People setting from Off to On

    Screenshot of the People setting.

  3. Turning on this setting populates the People tab with facial groupings. As your photos and videos are being added to the Photos collection, your People tab might look something like this:

    Screenshot of the People tab before it is populated with faces.

  4. As more photos and videos are added, facial groupings will begin to appear on the People tab. Those groupings can be linked with contacts from the People app in Windows.

    Screenshot of the People tab populated with faces from the Photos app.

  5. Link the facial groupings to your contacts by selecting the Add name link and then selecting a contact. If no contact exists for that person yet, you can always add one.

    Screenshot of the list that you can use to link contacts to facial groupings.

  6. Once you’ve linked your contacts, you can easily find your friends and family by using the search box.

    Screenshot of the search box in the Photos app.

  7. If you want to unlink a contact from a facial grouping, select a linked facial group to open a page showing the contact's profile picture and photos of the contact. Next to the profile picture is the contact's name and a pencil icon.

  8. Select the pencil icon to display the following two options:

    • Remove name—which unlinks the contact from the facial grouping.

    • Open contact details—which takes you to the respective contact record from the People app in Windows.

Screenshot of a contact showing the Remove name option.

  1. Select Remove name to unlink the contact from the facial grouping.

To turn off facial recognition

  1. In the upper-right corner of the Photos app, select See more … > Settings.

  2. Under the Viewing and editing section, turn the People setting Off and then confirm that you want to turn off the setting by selecting Accept.

    Note: Turning off the People Setting removes any existing facial grouping data generated by the facial recognition process. No photos or videos will be removed from your device if this setting is changed. If you decide to turn on this setting again later, your collection will be scanned again, and facial grouping data will be regenerated.

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