13 Tips for Using Live Photos on iPhone

Live photos have been around on iOS devices for a few years, allowing you to capture specific moments in precisely 1.5 seconds of motion before or after snapping a photo. You can do many things with a live photo on your iPhone or iPad. You can convert it into a still image, change effects, edit it as you would a regular photo, and more. This guide serves up the best tips to use Live Photos on iPhone.

1. Take a Live Photo on iPhone

The Live Photo feature is enabled by default on the iPhone Camera app. You don’t need to enable any settings.

Follow these steps to take a live photo on iPhone:

  1. Open the Apple Camera app on your iPhone.
  2. Select the “Photo” tab at the bottom if it isn’t selected. Make sure that the “Live Photo” icon is turned on. When turned off, you will see a bar on the icon.
Iphone Enable Live Photo
  1. With the feature enabled, tap the Shutter button to capture a live photo.
Iphone Take Live Photo

Tip: learn how to use the Apple Camera like a pro on iPhone.

2. Play Live Photos on iPhone

Easily play live photos. Open a live photo in the Apple Photos app, and “Live” will be in the top-left corner of the photo. Long-press on the live photo to play it.

Iphone Live Photo Play

Tip: want to extract text from a picture? Learn how to use Live Text on iPhone.

3. Find All Live Photos on iPhone

Apple Photos makes it a bit hard to identify live photos. You won’t see the Live Photo icon on the thumbnail of the photos in the Library view. However, it offers a separate Live Photos folder.

To see all the live photos, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Apple Photos app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on the “Albums” tab at the bottom.
  3. Scroll down and tap “Live Photos” to see all of them.
Iphone Live Photos Album

4. Add Effects to Live Photo

You can convert your live photos into fun videos by adding effects like loop, bounce, and prolonged exposure.

Open the live photo, tap the “Live” button at the top, and select the preferred effect from the list.

Iphone Live Photo Effect

5. Change the Key Photo of a Live Photo

To change the key photo of your live photo, follow these steps:

  1. Open the live photo on your phone.
  2. Tap the “Edit” button, and select the “Live Photo” icon at the bottom.
Iphone Live Photo Edit
  1. A slider will show at the bottom. Tap on the frame that you want to see when viewing your live photo as just a regular photo. A white selection box will appear on that frame. Tap on “Make Key Photo.”
Iphone Live Photo Edit Key Photo
  1. A white dot will appear on the photo that you have selected. A grey dot represents the original key photo. Tap on it if you change your mind, or tap on “Done” to save the changes.
Iphone Live Photo Edit Key Photo Save

Note: If the preview slider doesn’t appear after pressing the Live Photo icon in Step 2, ensure that you haven’t added an effect to the live photo.

6. Trim a Live Photo

Live Photos are usually about three seconds, but you can further trim it down as shown below:

  1. In the Apple Photos app, open the live photo, and tap the “Edit” button, followed by the “Live Photo” icon.
Iphone Live Photo Edit
  1. Drag the slider at the ends to trim the live photo. Keep the portion that you want to keep within the yellow slider.
Iphone Live Photo Trim
  1. Press “Done” to save the trimmed photo.

7. Mute a Live Photo

If you don’t want your live photo to have audio, you can mute it by following these steps:

  1. Open the live photo, and press the “Edit” button, followed by the “Live Photo” icon.
Iphone Live Photo Edit
  1. Tap on the Speaker icon to mute the live photo. It should turn grey.
  2. Press the “Done” button to save the muted live photo.
Iphone Live Photo Mute

8. Edit a Live Photo

Apple Photos offers additional features to edit a live photo. You can adjust the color and light of the photo. You can even add a filter and straighten, crop, or rotate a photo. All of these features are accessible under the “Edit” button.

Iphone Live Photo Edit Tool

Tip: interested in capturing pictures after a delay of a few seconds? Learn how to set a timer on the iPhone Camera.

9. Convert Live Photo to Video

Apple offers a native feature to convert live photos to videos without using a third-party app. The only drawback is that you can convert only one live photo to a video at a time.

  1. Open the desired live photo.
  2. Tap the “three-dot” icon at the top, and select “Save as Video” from the menu. That’s it.
Iphone Live Photo Save As Video

Note: For iOS 15 and lower, tap the Share icon followed by “Save as Video” instead of the three-dot icon. If you don’t see the option, ensure no effect has been added to the live photo.

10. Combine Multiple Live Photos in a Video

Interestingly, if you select multiple live photos and save them as a video, they aren’t converted into individual videos; instead, Apple Photos combines them into a single video. Follow these steps to carry that out.

  1. Locate the live photos you want to merge into one video.
Iphone Live Photos Album
  1. Tap on “Select” in the top-right corner, then select the live photos you’d like to merge into one video.
Iphone Live Photo Select Multiple
  1. Tap the three-dot icon or the Share button, and select “Save as Video.”
Iphone Live Photo Multiple Save As Video

iOS will generate the video and save it to your Camera Roll. You can access it from there or the Videos section of the app.

Tip: want to edit your videos on an iOS device? Learn how to compress, crop or trim a video on iPhone.

11. Convert a Live Photo to a Still Image

There are multiple ways to convert live photos to still images. We cover two of the methods below:

Turn Off Live Photo Feature

  1. Open the live photo in the Photos app.
  2. Tap on the “Live” drop-down box, and select “Off” from the list of options.
Iphone Live Photo Off

The live photo will be converted to a still image. If you want to return to the live photo, tap on the same option again and select “Live Photo.”

By Using the Duplicate Option

  1. Open the live photo, tap on the three-dot icon (or the Share icon), and select “Duplicate” from the menu.
Iphone Live Photo Duplicate
  1. Select “Duplicate as Still Photo.” The key photo of your Live Photo will be saved as a still image on your iPhone.
Iphone Live Photo Duplicate Still Image

12. Convert a Live Photo to GIF

To convert live photos to GIFs on iPhone, you need to use the Apple Shortcuts app. You can convert multiple live photos using this shortcut.

  1. Tap on the “Gallery” tab at the bottom of the Shortcuts app, and search for GIF. Select the “Make GIF” shortcut.
Iphone Live Photo Gif Shortcut
  1. Tap on “Add shortcut” to install the shortcut.
Iphone Live Photo Gif Shortcut Install
  1. Go to the “Shortcuts” tab, and select “All Shortcuts.”
Iphone Shortcuts View All
  1. Tap on the “Make GIF” shortcut, and select the live photo you want to convert to GIF.
Iphone Make Gif Shortcut
  1. The shortcut will start working its magic, and the live photo will be converted into a GIF. Tap on “Done.” The GIF will be saved in the Photos app. You may also want to learn how to edit a GIF.
Iphone Live Photo Gif Save

13. How to Disable Live Photos

You can turn off live photos temporarily or indefinitely on your iPhone.

Turn off Live Photos Temporarily

If you want to turn off live photos for a photo or two, do it while capturing the photo. Open the Camera app, and tap on the “Live Photo” icon to turn it off. You will see the “Live Off” indicator, and a bar will appear on the Live Photo icon.

Iphone Live Photo Off Temporarily

Turn off Live Photos Indefinitely

If you want to indefinitely disable live photos on your iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Open “Settings” on your iPhone.
  2. Go to “Camera,” followed by “Preserve Settings.”
Iphone Camer Settings
  1. Enable the toggle next to “Live Photo.”
Iphone Camera Preserve Settings
  1. Open the Camera app, and tap on the live photos icon to turn it off. Make sure it shows a bar on it. The Camera will preserve the settings until you change it again.
Iphone Live Photo Off Temporarily

Tip: want to scan a document, QR code, or picture? Check out different ways to scan with an iPhone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I set Live Photos as wallpaper on iPhone?

Prior to iOS 16, you could set live photos as wallpaper. While the feature isn’t currently available, Apple is about to bring it back with iOS 17.

How can I remove changes made to a live photo?

Open the live photo in the Apple Photos app, and tap on the three-dot icon. Select “Revert to original.”

How do I share a live photo on WhatsApp?

You can share live photos as GIFs on WhatsApp. Open the live photo in the Photos app, and change the effect to either “Bounce” or “Loop.” Tap on the “Share” icon, and select “WhatsApp” or any other app that supports GIFs. The live photo will be attached as a GIF.

All images and screenshots by Mehvish Mushtaq.

Mehvish Mushtaq
Mehvish Mushtaq

Mehvish is a tech lover from Kashmir. With a degree in computer engineering, she’s always been happy to help anyone who finds technology challenging. She’s been writing about technology for over six years, and her favorite topics include how-to guides, explainers, tips and tricks for Android, iOS/iPadOS, Windows, social media, and web apps.

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