Add a missing face

iPhoto detects the vast majority of the faces in your photos during the initial scan of your photo library, and in scans of newly imported photos. The more faces iPhoto finds this way, the more accurate the face-matching results are.

However, if iPhoto doesn’t detect a face, you can try rescanning your library or you can add the missing face manually. This may help iPhoto get better at recognizing or matching the face.

A face is undetected if it’s missing the “unnamed” label (after you’ve selected the photo and clicked the Info button in the toolbar).

To rescan a photo for a missing face:

  1. Select one or more photos with undetected faces.

  2. Choose Photos > Detect Missing Faces.

    In the Source list, an icon next to Faces spins as iPhoto scans the photos again. During this scan, iPhoto uses less stringent criteria than in the original scan. As a result, you may see more “false positives”—photos in which an object has been identified as a possible face.

  3. To see if iPhoto found additional faces, select one photo at a time and click the Info button in the toolbar.

  4. In the Information pane, click Faces to open the Faces section.

    In the photo, an “unnamed” label appears under detected faces.

    Image of "unnamed" label

  5. If the face you want has been detected, click the label and type a name.

    If no label appears, the face hasn’t been detected. To add a missing face manually, see the instructions in the next task.

To add a missing face manually:

  1. Select a photo that shows a person you want to name, but whose face wasn’t detected in the initial scan or a rescan of your photo library.

  2. In the Information pane, click Faces to open the Faces section.

    In the photo, an “unnamed” label (shown below) appears under detected faces.

    A face is undetected if it has no “unnamed” label.

    Image of "unnamed" label

  3. Click the “Add a Face” button in the Information pane.

    A box appears on the photo.

  4. Drag the box over the undetected face, and then drag the corners to make the box larger or smaller.

    The position and size of the box determine what the person’s thumbnail looks like (on the Faces corkboard, for example).

    Image of Faces positioning box

  5. When the box is in place, click the “click to name” text and type a name.

    As you type, iPhoto suggests names based on names you used previously, names in your Address Book, and names of your Facebook friends (if you use Facebook). You can choose one of these names from the pop-up menu.

  6. Press Return.

    To see this person’s photos on your Faces corkboard, select Faces in the Source list.