Every time you browse through the photo and video grids in the Photos application, you are in the Photos, Albums, or Search tab, all media is cut into small square thumbnail boundaries. But it doesn’t have to be like that.
It can be 4: 3 or 16: 9 pictures, regular mo-mo or video, portrait or panorama. The Photos application does not discriminate to showcase your photos in a three-wide or five-wide grid. So each image and clip is squeezed into a 1: 1 thumbnail preview symmetrically in a typical Apple way. Even what you cut in 10: 8, 7: 5, 5: 3, 3: 2, or the custom ratio will be displayed as a 1: 1 preview.
The problem with the square in the grid view is that you cannot tell whether a photo or video is in portrait or landscape orientation or what aspect ratio. So, if you are looking for a particular picture or clip that you take as vertical 16: 9 or horizontal 4: 3, there is no way to directly see it. But Apple changed it on iOS 14.
In the Photos app on iOS 14, you can sort and filter content, and even add text, but when you have to browse your grid, the default view is attached to the box. But you can change it to see everything in the original aspect ratio and orientation.
Switch to Original Aspect Ratio Display
Whenever you are in a three-width or five-width grid view in Photos, tap the ellipsis icon (•••) in the upper right, then select “Aspect Ratio Box” in the action menu.
All photos and videos in the grid will appear in the correct aspect ratio instead of just a square, and in the right orientation. This allows you to quickly view portrait or landscape shots, pictures and videos taken on the big screen, and standard or custom crop ratios, to name a few examples.
White space will be shared with each photo and video in light mode, while black will fill in the blanks in dark mode. So it won’t look clean or cookie cutter like a square box view, but you will also be able to see all of your media content.
Changing the appearance of the grid doesn’t stick throughout the Photos application – it just makes your choice in your current tab. So if you switch to “Aspect Ratio Grid” in the Photos tab, you will still see a square grid in the Album and Search tab, unless you also change it to the aspect ratio display. But if you change it in a particular album or folder, you will see changes in all other albums and collections in that tab.
Returns to Square Grid View
After you change the look of the grid, it will still be like that. So, every time you return to Photos and browse through a three-width or five-width grid, you will see the aspect ratio and orientation of the original image and video.
To return to displaying all the symmetrical boxes, tap the ellipsis icon (•••) in the upper right, then select “Grid Photo Box” in the action menu. Again, changing the box display only applies to your current tab, so if you change it to Photos, Albums, and Search and want to return to the box everywhere, you have to adjust the settings of each tab.