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Live Photos on iPhone: What Is It and How to Use It

Eric Miller
Eric Miller Originally published May 17, 24, updated May 31, 24

If you are an iPhone user, you must have been familiar with Live Photo. But if you are new or just heard about it, let me give you a quick rundown.

Live Photo brings your still pictures to life by capturing moments with motion and sound. It's a feature that not only saves the visual snapshot but also captures the dynamic atmosphere around the scene.

In this article, we will explore Live Photos on iPhone in more detail. We will discuss what Live Photos are, how to use them effectively, and how they can make your photography experience more enjoyable.

In this article

Part 1. Is Live Photo Available on All iPhone Models?

Live Photo feature is not available on all iPhone models. iPhone Live Photo captures what happens 1.5 seconds before and after you take a picture. This feature is supported on iPhone models starting from the iPhone 6s and later. Live Photos are also compatible with certain iPad models, including the iPad (5th generation) and later, iPad Air (3rd generation) and later, iPad mini (5th generation) and later, as well as iPad Pro models from 2016 onwards.

  • Live Photos capture more than just a static image by including motion and sound.
  • Live Photos capture background noises and movements that add depth to the photo.
  • Viewing Live Photos allows you to relive the moment by pressing and holding on the photo.
  • Live Photos can be edited to select the best frame, apply filters, or add effects.
  • Live Photos can be shared easily with other iPhone users or uploaded to social media platforms that support this feature.
  • Live Photos take up more storage space compared to regular photos.
  • Live Photos may not be viewable on devices or platforms that do not support this feature.
  • Using Live Photos frequently can consume more battery power.
  • Some editing options available for Live Photos are more limited compared to standard photos.
  • Live Photos are exclusive to Apple devices.

Part 2: How Do Live Photos Work on iPhone?

Live Photos on iPhone work by capturing a short video clip along with a still photo when you press the shutter button to take a picture. Here's how Live Photos work in more detail:

1. Capture Process: When you take a Live Photo on your iPhone, the camera starts recording a short video clip along with the still image. This recording includes about 1.5 seconds of footage before and after you press the shutter button.

2. Playback: To view a Live Photo, simply tap and hold on the photo within the Photos app or any other compatible app. This action triggers the playback of the video clip associated with the Live Photo.

3. Ambient Audio: Live Photos also capture ambient audio along with the video clip. This feature preserves the sounds that were happening at the moment the photo was taken.

4. Editing: Live Photos can be edited just like regular photos on your iPhone. You can apply filters, adjust brightness, crop, and make other edits. You can also choose a different key photo within the Live Photo to set as the still image.

5. Sharing: Live Photos can be shared with other iPhone users through iMessage, AirDrop, or email. When shared with non-iPhone users or posted on social media, Live Photos will appear as regular still images without the motion and sound effects.

Part 3. How to Set and Take Live Photos on iPhone?

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to set up and take Live Photos on an iPhone.

1. Open Camera App

Launch the Camera app on your iPhone.

2. Enable Live Photos

Search for the Live Photos icon that looks like three circles inside each other at the top. Tap on this icon to activate Live Photos. When Live Photos are on, the icon will change to yellow.

enable live photos on iphone

3. Frame Your Shot

Find your subject and frame your shot within the Camera app.

4. Capture the Photo

Press the shutter button to take the Live Photo. Ensure that you hold the iPhone steady for a moment after taking the photo to capture the additional video footage.

icon note
Note: Live Photos usually use more storage space than regular photos because they include a video part. On average, each Live Photo takes up about twice as much storage space as a normal photo. For instance, a Live Photo might use up around 3-4 MB of storage, whereas a regular photo of the same view might only need 1-2 MB.

Part 4: How to Find and View Live Photos on iPhone?

Finding and viewing Live Photos on your iPhone is easy and can be done directly within the Photos app.

4.1 How to Find Live Photos on iPhone

1. Open the Photos App

Find and open the Photos app on your iPhone's home screen.

2. Navigate to Live Photos

Tap on the "Albums" tab at the bottom of the screen.

3. Select "Live Photos" Album

Scroll down and look for the "Media Types" section. Tap on "Live Photos" to view all your Live Photos in one place.

live photo album on iphone

4.2 How to View Live Photos on iPhone

1. Select a Live Photo

Tap on the Live Photo you want to view. It has a small "LIVE" badge at the top left corner of the photo thumbnail.

2. Play the Live Photo

Once you open a Live Photo, press and hold on the image. You'll see the Live Photo come to life with motion and sound.

3. Navigate through Frames

When watching a Live Photo, move your finger left or right to go through different parts of the Live Photo sequence. This helps you pick the best frame or moment to use as the main photo.

4. Share or Edit

From the Live Photo view, you can tap on the share icon or share the Live Photo with others. You can also tap on "Edit" to make adjustments, apply filters, or set a different key frame.

Keep reading to know more detailed steps!

Part 5. How to Change Live Photo Effects

Changing Live Photo effects on your iPhone allows you to customize the visual and audio components of your Live Photos. Here's how you can change Live Photo effects:

1. Select Live Photo

Navigate to the Live Photo you want to edit and tap on it to open.

2. Edit Live Photo

Tap on the ‘Live Photos’ button around the top of the screen.

live photo button on iphone

3. Select Live Photo Effects

You will see a series of effects icons. The available effects include:

  • Live: This is the default Live Photo effect that plays the motion and sound captured with the photo.
  • Loop: Creates a continuous looping animation of the Live Photo.
  • Bounce: Plays the Live Photo forward and backward in a bouncing motion.
  • Long Exposure: Blurs moving elements in the Live Photo to create a long exposure effect.
live photo effects on iphone

Part 6: How to Edit Live Photos on iPhone?

Besides selecting the effect, you can also edit your Live Photo on iPhone. You can follow this guide to edit your Live Photo.

1. Select Live Photo

Choose the Live Photo you want to edit and tap on it to open.

2. Enter Edit Mode

Tap on "Edit" in the top right corner of the screen. You'll now see editing tools at the bottom of the screen.

3. Adjust Crop and Aspect Ratio

To adjust your Live Photo's composition, tap the crop icon (a square with arrows) and drag the corners of the frame to change the crop or aspect ratio.

live photo crop on iphone

4. Apply Filters

Tap on the filter icon (three overlapping circles) to apply filters to your Live Photo. Swipe left or right to preview different filters and tap on one to apply it.

live photo filters on iphone

5. Make Adjustments

Tap on the adjustment icon (dial with dots) to adjust parameters such as exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, and more.

live photo adjustment on iphone

Part 7: How to Change a Live Photo Key Photo on iPhone

You can also change the key photo on your iPhone Live Photo. Try to follow this step-by-step guide.

1. Open Live Photo

Open the Live Photo which you want to change the key photo.

2. Tap Edit

Tap on "Edit" in the top right corner of the screen. You'll now see editing tools at the bottom of the screen.

3. Scrub Through the Timeline

Below the Live Photo, you'll see a timeline of frames captured during the Live Photo recording. Drag your finger left or right along the timeline to preview different frames.

4. Select New Key Photo

Pause on the frame you want to set as the new key photo. Once you've found the desired frame, tap on the "Make Key Photo" button.

live photo key photo on iphone

5. Preview Changes

After setting the new key photo, tap and hold on the Live Photo to see how the changes affect the appearance of the Live Photo.

6. Save Edits

If you're satisfied with the new key photo, tap "Done" in the bottom right corner of the screen to save the changes.

Part 8: Can You Turn Live Photo into A Photo?

Not only turning a still photo to Live Photo, you can also do otherwise. Here is how you can turn a Live Photo into a still photo on your iPhone.

1. Open Live Photo

Navigate to the Live Photo that you want to convert into a still photo and tap on it to open.

2. Go To Edit Mode

Tap on "Edit" in the top right corner of the screen.

3. Disable Live Feature

In the editing toolbar at the bottom of the screen, look for the "Live" icon. Tap on this icon to disable the Live feature. The icon will turn from yellow (Live Photo) to white (still photo).

disable live photo on iphone

4. Save Changes

Tap "Done" in the bottom right corner of the screen to save the changes and convert the Live Photo into a still photo.

Bonus: Live Photo Alternative - Turn Your Photo Move and Talk with Wondershare Virbo

Looking to enhance your photos with motion and audio effects beyond what Live Photo offers on iPhone? You can consider using Wondershare Virbo, a versatile tool available on iOS, Android, desktop, and online platforms.

Virbo has a Photo Talking AI tool that offers powerful features to enhance your photo storytelling. You can convert text to speech effortlessly, add personalized background music, and enjoy seamless video creation and editing.

wondershare virbo photo talking tool

Virbo’s Photo Talking tool delivers clear audio using AI avatars and allows customization with your own voice recordings. It also supports diverse accents and languages to help you create engaging narratives for a global audience.

Here's how to use the Virbo Photo Talking feature:

Step 1. Open Wondershare Virbo App

Launch the Wondershare Virbo app on your mobile device, then select the 'Talking Photo' option.

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open wondershare virbo app

Step 2. Upload Your Photo

Choose and upload the photo you want to animate, ensuring it's clear and suitable for the talking effect.

upload photo to virbo photo talking feature

Step 3. Enter Text or Record Audio

You can enter text or record audio to accompany your talking photo.

enter text or audio to virbo photo talking feature

Step 4. Choose a Voiceover

Select a voiceover that matches the desired tone and language for your photo.

choose a voiceover on virbo photo talking feature

Step 5. Generate Video

Click on 'Generate Video' to transform your photo into a talking video.

generate virbo photo talking feature

Step 6. Preview and Download

Preview the generated video and download it to your gallery or share it directly on your preferred platform if you're satisfied with the result.

preview and download virbo photo talking feature

With Virbo Photo Talking, you can transform static photos into dynamic narrators by adding voice clips and animations. This brings your photos to life with movement and sound, creating engaging and interactive visual experiences.

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Live Photos on iPhone make photos more lively by combining motion and sound, adding depth to your memories. They capture not just the still image but also the atmosphere of the moment. Setting up and using Live Photos is easy and enhances your photography.

If you have an interest in creating more interactive visual stories, you can try Wondershare Virbo TalkingPhoto AI. With Virbo, you can turn static photos into dynamic narratives with voice clips, animations, and personal touches. This tool can convert text to speech, add background music, and customize voices and accents. Whether you use an iPhone or other devices, Virbo lets you transform your photos into captivating talking images.

Eric Miller
Eric Miller May 31, 24
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