How to set the Albums in an iPhone in a specific order using Photoshop Elements

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Using Photoshop Elements, I have more than 100 Album tags. Using iTunes I uploaded thousands of images with their Album tag into my iPhone (7Plus, OS 11.2).

The iPhone or iTunes orders the albums seemingly randomly.

I can manually reorder them in the way I like, but as soon as I update the order is destroyed. I like to reorder them so that first I have albums of certain people, then albums of holidays and trips (alphabetically or according to date) and then some albums with odd type of contents.

How can I set the order of albums or order them alphabetically and keep that order even after updating with iTunes?
I had this problem also on my iPhone 5S with previous OS versions.
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Jack Klaber

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Posted 8 months ago

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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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Albums in the Organizer are just like 'playlists' for videos. Simple lists storing pointers to the internal identification of each file in the catalog.
- no picture files in the albums (no duplication)
- nothing which can be written in the files themselves; only saved in catalogs.
- If you have set a 'custom' order in an album by moving them around the browsing space, that order is saved in the list.
- If you include a stack or version set in an album, only the 'top of stack' will appear in the album. If you change the 'top of stack' in the browsing space, that will be applied in the album too.

The usual way to output sorted albums with custom 'album order' is to sort your album (select the album order) and to export the set of files while renaming with a common starting text string. Most outside sofwares will be able to recover the order based on file names.

(Sorry, I don't know anything about Macs, Itune...)
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Jack Klaber

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sorry Michel if I made myself not clear.
The problem exists on the iPhone. The way one uploads photos, organized in Albums is via iTunes. The nice thing about PSE and an iPhone is that the iPhone stored the images in Albums, the same Albums as used in PSE. Thus I have uploaded 100+ albums to my iPhone, but the order in which these albums appear on my iPhone is not alphabetically but in a seemingly random order. I can shuffle them around and set the order in a way I like, but the first time I update these albums from PSE on my PC, the order of albums as set by me is destroyed.
I've posted this problem also on an iPhone forum but there no one could help me....
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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If I understand well, the information about PSE albums, which is stored in the catalog database is read and translated by the Apple software into their own proprietary album format? As far as I know, the internal implementation of albums in the 'catalog.pseXXdb' database is still the same, a special flavour of tags with a sort order.
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Steve Lehman

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Hi Jack, 

I am editing my reply (below), as I ramble off the subject sometimes.   Sorry.   
Maybe I didn't quite understand.   You have a high number of albums on your phone that almost matches your high number of albums from your Mac.  My first thought was a storage solution, as your number of photo albums would be tough even for me to juggle on a phone.  Could you explain your system?   

Steve L.   
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Steve Lehman

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Hi Jack, 

Sounds to me like you're looking for places to store lots more of your photos.  Are you running out of drive space?  Maybe a second external drive might be better than an iphone which isn't the safest place to store photos - even if sharing them.   An iphone can reduce your resolution and photo quality.  

A phone is a phone.  But yours is a walkie-talkie and a camera, with about 4 watts output but at its antenna it only puts out a lousy 2.5 watts output, because it has resistance from an overloaded memory which is probably alienating your photos anyway.  

I was into ham radio before computers and I know how too much resistance can take away power output, and this is why my vote is that you opt for an external drive, and keep your phone working like a phone.  

Just for your information, did ya know that the PCI and IDE boards of the motherboard in a desktop is nothing more than a PBX phone system with a 2-way radio repeater and switching system?   Yep, I was very knowledgeable when taking technology at the University.  At 11, I was converting telephones into a remote-switch for my B&W TV which was converted into a rock n' roll light box.   

Find a nice external drive, like a Seagate that advertises 7200 or 8400 rpm with a real disc instead of cheap silicon memory (which advertises a mobile drive) which is only an over-sized thumb-drive.   Even thumb-drives will lose their charge after leaving them alone for too long.   Then, you can keep it plug in a real drive and disconnect its USB to guard against viruses.   Then you will be happier knowing that updates won't mess with your software and won't upset ya.  

I keep a huge SQL database with a million records on one external drive.  I don't let it mess with software and it doesn't overload my network.   Best of all, no viruses.   

Steve (again)   
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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Jack,
Thanks for the follow-up, that's interesting.
I imagine it's very common for photographers to have a sophisticated catalog organization in their computers and to want to share and 'sync' on the Cloud selected files organized in 'albums'.
I don't think there is an ideal solution today for Elements users.
Most users would want better integration and syncing with Apple (iTunes) or Google (Photos).
There are other Cloud sharing solutions like Dropbox, OneDrive, my provider has another one... and I have maybe two other limited Cloud storage solutions!

Remember that the Adobe Revel was created to solve that need, and it failed in the purpose and was dropped.
Adobe clearly wants Elements user to go to Lightroom and mobile.

So, let me start with some very general statements for typical 'family' photographers using Elements.
- My local library is very big (big raw originals). It has sophisticated database organization. It does not rely on folders organization (mostly date based). Only a small amount of files need to be accessible from other devices or shared (keepers, recent events...) For me, the Cloud is not a global backup solution (external drives, other computer in other locations) but the selected files are safe there.
- I don't know other sharing solution offering fast searches by keywords. That means that an organization in folders, albums or collections is the best I can have on the Cloud.

So I can't avoid creating and managing a specific 'synced' folder on my desktop. I prefer Dropbox, but OneDrive would be good among others.
- That 'synced' folder is created from the organizer and its 'albums'.
- I select and organize events and subjects into albums from the organizer. I may rename the files according to custom sort order and downsize them if neccessary.
- I organize the synced folder tree in a common  folder tree for easier searches on the synced devices.
- since I always 'write metadata to files', the keywords are available for the Explorer, but that's not practical.
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Jack Klaber

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Michel,
On the side of PSE I have no problems whatsoever. One of the reasons I like PSE is its support of the iPhone iOS.
To be able to transfer images to your iPhone and have them organized in the same albums as on your PC is for me a boon! 
When you select Photoshop Elements in iTunes, all the albums in your PSE Collection are shown and you can select which albums you want to transfer. You can also select all albums (not an option for me with more than 160 albums and 50k photos....)
Thus I select the albums I want to have on my iPhone and with the help of iTunes this feat is accomplished with the push of one button!

Today I wanted to transfer a test album to my iPhone and behold, something did change in iTunes!
Suddenly I cannot select anymore albums but I am forced to transfer all photos and albums. The select albums radio button is greyed out!!!
I don't know if this is caused by the latest iTunes version 12.7 or/and the latest iOS which is now 11.1.2.
Anyway if this is the situation to be then Photoshop Elements (I have version 13, but I believe this is not of any importance which version one uses...) loses iOS/iTunes connectivity!!
I hope some Adobe engineers will look into this matter. I am at least most interested in solving this problem (even more than having the album order shuffled on my iPhone each time iTunes syncs my iPhone). And if this select album option is not anymore supported then the shuffling issue is anyway of no importance anymore...

(Edited)
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Jack Klaber

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Update:
I just connected my old and trusted iPad 4 to my PC and using iTunes 12.7.1.14 I got the same situation. Only All photos and albums radio button is selected and the Selected albums is greyed out.
As my iPad is still running on iOS 10.3.3. the culprit of this situation is therefore iTunes 12.7.
I'll try to roll back to an earlier version......
Will keep you updated.
(Edited)
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Steve Lehman

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Jack, 
This may lead into more problems as one turns into another still ahead.   I still say it is a cloud solution as I had mentioned, and then Michel had mentioned, may be your solution.  Don't expect Adobe to resolve this in an old version source code to new software.  There won't be a cloud sync built into PSE as long as 14 companies can serve that purpose.  This is a typical work-around solution.  Work it out, plant your tags if you can, or not.  The best work-around is one that can serve others in the future as others in forums who have the same problem (and I don't see that now) and if there are, you can serve as an expert with solid answers.  Right now, your solutions are not solid.   

This reminds me of an old poem by Charles Dickens (I know I am so boring) - 
"...people talking to people, who are talking to other people, who are talking..."  
It went on, but it was to say, people drive themselves mad with over-tasking. 
This becomes a problem that becomes another problem, becoming another.  

You can either drive yourself nuts over it, or you can find a solution, but if you cannot find a solution, it's time to save your brain power for something better.   
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Jack Klaber

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Update:
I just connected my old and trusted iPad 4 to my PC and using iTunes 12.7.1.14 I got the same situation. Only All photos and albums radio button is selected and the Selected albums is greyed out.
As my iPad is still running on iOS 10.3.3. the culprit of this situation is therefore iTunes 12.7.
I'll try to roll back to an earlier version......
Will keep you updated.
It turned out to be an iOS problem that with the latest update 11.2 (that became available tonight) has been resolved.
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Steve Lehman

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Jack, 
I have a new thingy:

There is another forum that is PS discussing something close to yours, although it's not for PSE it's for PS-CC.  They are suggesting what we mentioned, Creative Cloud to resolve this issue by copying files into a mobile.  Ask them how successful it was for them.   Also, one is saying something about Light Room (not sure you have this one, but I do) that this happens with Light Room Ecosystem.  You might take a look here.  

If all of you find a solution, report back to this forum okay.   We need all your input.  Here's the link to that forum.  Don't link both forums.  Just toggle back and forth for now please.   

https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/screenshot-function-automatically-copies-imag...
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Steve Lehman

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Jack, 
My error, I had the wrong link.  I am running several web-tabs here (6 forums at once).   
Here's that link.  this is a good one.   

https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/is-there-a-way-to-sync-the-mobile-and-compute...
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Jack Klaber

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Steve, Michel,

Please forgive me for thinking that we are simply not on the same page.
Let me explain what one of my most used activities on PSE is.
I like to carry with me albums of many events in our family life. For that I always buy an iPhone with lots of storage space. My last iPhone is an iPhone 7 Plus with 128GB storage.
Using iTunes I can transfer images from my PC to my iPhone.
PSE supports this transfer because iTunes recognizes the Albums tag of PSE. Thus iTunes transfers the selected albums to the iPhone and organizes them into iPhone albums which are exact copies of the PSE albums on my PC. Therefore I can have thousands of images on my iPhone, nicely organized into albums so that I do not need to swipe for hours until I find (or not...) the image I am looking for. With the albums on my iPhone I can find for sure any image within 30 seconds flat even if the order inside the albums is not calendary as in PSE.
Here are two screenshots, one from PSE showing a part of my album hierarchy and one from my iPhone showing the same albums.



None of the proposed transfer/copy methods will preserve the albums tag or store/display the images in identical albums and I have to copy each album manually in an identical directory hierarchy in the cloud/dropbox/etc. That is very time consuming and becomes a drag if one needs to do that for each new album!!! 
I hope I made myself clear what the advantage of PSE albums in connection with iTunes image transfers can be for people wanting the same functionality as I do.
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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Please forgive me for thinking that we are simply not on the same page.
I am definitely on another page...
Using iTunes I can transfer images from my PC to my iPhone.
PSE supports this transfer because iTunes recognizes the Albums tag of PSE.
No, I am pretty sure that PSE completely Ignores iTune.
But iTune can undoubtedly fetch the PSE albums information on your drive and copy the files in the albums elsewhere with its own organization system (which I don't know)..
Since the information about the files indexed in PSE albums is ONLY stored in the PSE catalog database, that means that iTune can read and understand the PSE album information in the catalog database; that provides a list of files with their location on the drive(s). From then on, iTune can copy the real files and store them in its own albums implementation.
Nothing has been changed in the way albums are implemented in PSE. The only conclusion I can draw is that a change in iTune made the behaviour change you are now seeing.
(Edited)
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Jack Klaber

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Hi Michel,
Yes, it's not PSE that supports iTunes but the opposite. Sorry for not making this crystal clear.
Indeed, my problem is only with iOS, iPhone and iTunes. But because I haven't gotten any answers on Apple forums, I thought maybe here on PSE forum I might run into an user that could assist me with my specific problem.
I've tried to downgrade my iTune version, using all the tricks in my book that comprises 40 years of computer knowledge, but to no avail. Couldn't get an earlier version of iTunes installed on my rig.
I hate to turn to Dropbox and start manually building a PSE-album based directory structure and then copy in each directory the images. A big drawback is that Dropbox does not display images as thumbnails on the iPhone, making swiping and searching for a certain image impossible. 
I'll try also to use the "all albums" option in iTunes and see if this is at all feasible.
Well, I have to find some answers in the Apple world. Wish me luck.......
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Jack Klaber

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This bug has been solved by the latest iOS 11.2 (became available last night) and I can now select which albums I like to transfer to my iPhone.
 
Seems the culprit was the last update of iTunes, but because this bug is so specific to PSE users transferring albums to their iPhone, Apple did not list it in their fix-list...

(Edited)
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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Good news!
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Steve Lehman

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I agree with Michel,  good news.   
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Steve Lehman

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Jack,

I had shown this before, as you may have missed.  Adobe has another thread where two people are talking about your same problem.   Ask them how successful it was for them.   Also, one is saying something about Light Room that this happens with Light Room Ecosystem.  Look for them at this link.  

https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/screenshot-function-automatically-copies-imag...
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Jack Klaber

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I had shown this before, as you may have missed.  Adobe has another thread where two people are talking about your same problem.   Ask them how successful it was for them.   Also, one is saying something about Light Room that this happens with Light Room Ecosystem.  Look for them at this link.  
https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/screenshot-function-automatically-copies-imag...
Steve,
I can't fathom how this thread can possibly be connected to my problem. Please elaborate.