Looking at the album index in the Photo app, it seems that the photo used as the album cover is picked randomly. Is it possible to change the picture that is used as the album cover?

10 Answers 10


In my experience, the cover photo is simply the first photo in the album. When you're within an album, hit the button in the upper-right corner to manipulate the photos; then tap and hold a photo until it "inflates," at which point you can drag it to move it around. You'll just have to be happy with your album cover being the first photo in the album.

(Edited to clarify the tap-and-hold gesture.)

  • I don't seem to be able reorder the photos on an iPhone 4S or iPad 2. I can only tap to select which would let me add the photo(s) to a new or existing album. Nov 22 '11 at 5:30
  • I'm using an iPhone 4 with iOS 5.0.1, and since those devices ship with iOS 5, they ought to be able to do it.
    – L2G
    Nov 22 '11 at 5:37
  • Understand that when I do this, I have to tap and hold a photo until the thumbnail "inflates" slightly, which is the cue that it's ready to be moved around. It's similar to moving icons around on the home screen, except I don't have to hold a photo for more than a moment before it lets me move it around.
    – L2G
    Nov 22 '11 at 5:42
  • That's what I've been trying, but it doesn't inflate. If I tap, then it gets the checkmark and becomes selected, but tap+hold doesn't do anything. Hrm. Nov 22 '11 at 5:57
  • I think I figured out the problem. You can't reorder "Camera Roll" photos. Only photos in albums you've created can be reordered. The "Camera Roll" cover photo will always be the newest photo you've taken.
    – L2G
    Nov 22 '11 at 6:01

Hold down the photo you want to be the cover, copy, then paste over the top of the first photo in the album to make it your cover.


In Photos 1.0 (the 2015 update of iPhoto), open the album, select the photo you want to use as the icon for the album, right click and choose Make Key Photo.

  • Has no effect for iPhone/iPad Photos app Aug 15 '16 at 17:26

Click on the photo you want as your cover photo, then right click, then select Make Key Photo.

  • Has no effect for iPhone/iPad Photos app Aug 15 '16 at 17:25

Enter the album you want to change, click on picture you would like as the cover, under image click make key photo.

I had the same prob, this worked for me on march 2016.

  • Has no effect for iPhone/iPad Photos app Aug 15 '16 at 17:25

The only way I found to get the right photo for the album was as follows:- Create a new album with the same name. Select the cover photo you need from the original album and "Copy".Return to your new album and "Paste". Return to the old album and select "All" and add them to your new album. The cover photo should now be the one you selected.You can now delete the original album. It sounds long-winded but I cannot find any other way! Good luck! It does work.


Based on my personal experience. For Windows users, the album cover photo will be the first alphabetical photo. Make sure before synchronizing the folder to put the photo that you want as the album cover with the first alphabetical name.

If you already synchronized the folder and you want to change the album cover after being synchronized one of two options will work for you.

  1. You can change the name of the new wanted album cover to be the first alphabetical name, then synchronize again. If it didn't work then you should proceed with step number 2.
  2. Swap the names between the current album cover photo and the photo you want to put as album cover.

Here's how I finally figured this out in Mac OSX Photos (i.e., not 'iPhoto').

1) Just open up the photos film strip by clicking on the tiny upside-down 'V Photos' button bottom center of the Project view. 2) Select 'Placed' or 'Unused' photos from the dropdown on the right - i.e., depending on where the photo you want currently resides. 3) Dbl-click the Cover page to open it up large (optional). 4) Simply drag whatever photo you want over top of the existing Cover photo. 5) You can change the small 'Flap' photo in the exact same way.

I haven’t found a solution on the web version of photos or the iOS / tv versions, but they sync over iCloud from the Mac app once you change things there first.


At least in ios14 I can go to the picture in the album, hold it, and just hit the make key picture option.


Your albums that are synchronised with your iPad are also in iPhoto. Open the album that you want to change the photo cover for and reorganise your pictures so that they are how you want them to be displayed in your iPad. Your iPad will display the pictures in the same order as they are listed in iPhoto.

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