iPhone Live Photos: everything you need to know

iPhone Live Photos: the ultimate how-to guide

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iPhone Live Photos are a special Apple feature, a middle ground between a photo and a video. Instead of taking a simple picture, you can now have a mini video, which literally captures a moment. You can play the Live Photo, apply filters to it, choose the key photo, add Live Photo effects and much more!

We will cover every detail about the iPhone Live Photos in this guide. Jump to the section you need:

How to view Live Photos on iPhone

To see your Live Photo in action, just press and hold it. It’s that simple!

Also, Apple made it easy to distinguish Live Photos from regular images – they have a special icon in the top-left corner. Live picture iPhone

As a bonus, all of your Live Photos can be found in a separate photo folder on your device. It looks like this:
Live Photos folder on iPhone running iOS 12

How to edit Live Photos on iPhone

In 2017, iPhone Live Photos got all the attention they deserved – iOS 11 offered a new set of tools that allows you to make your Live Photos stand out even more.

Here’s how you can edit Live Photos on iPhone:
Edit a Live Photo on your iPhone

  1. Delete sound
  2. Enhance photo
  3. Trim video portion of the Live Photo
  4. Crop and rotate the image
  5. Apply filters
  6. Play with light, color or turn your photo black & white
  7. Markup your Live Photo
  8. Disable animation to convert Live Photo into a photo

And that’s not all! If you swipe up while viewing your Live Photo, you will be able to choose an extra effect: Loop, Bounce or Long Exposure. That’s definitely some Instagram-worthy content. Choose an effect for iPhone Live Photo

How to make a Live Photo wallpaper

What’s the point in an animated photo if you can’t enjoy it all the time? If you haven’t set a Live Photo wallpaper on your iPhone yet, it’s high time to do it! Here are 2 ways to use your live photos as wallpaper:

  1. Go to Settings->Wallpaper->Choose a New Wallpaper. Navigate to the Live Photos folder and select the Live picture. Adjust it accordingly and enjoy!
    Set and adjust Live Photo in the Settings

  2. Or, navigate directly to the Live Photo you want to use as a wallpaper and click on the share button. Next, select “Use as Wallpaper”, adjust it and click “Set”. That’s it!
    Set a Live Photo as a wallpaper

TIP: To animate a wallpaper, just press and hold your locked screen. Pretty cool, right?
Press and hold on your screen to animate

How to transfer Live Photos from iPhone to PC

The latest version of CopyTrans Photo can transfer your Live Photos to PC and back. To do so, install CopyTrans Photo on your computer and connect your iPhone or iPad.

  1. Start with downloading and installing CopyTrans Photo:

    Get CopyTrans Photo

  2. Connect your iPhone or iPad to PC. You’ll see all your iPhone photos and videos on the left side of the screen. You will also see your PC pictures on the right.
    Live Photos will appear on the left and PC photos on the right

  3. In CopyTrans Photo, Live Photos are marked with a small yellow symbol just like on your iPhone. To transfer Live Photos to a computer, just drag them from left to right.
    CopyTrans Photo has indicators for each Live Photo

  4. After the transfer, you will have two files for each Live Photo: the photo and the video part.

    You will get two Live Photo files - a photo and a video

  5. ⭐ Transferring live photos back to iPhone ⭐

    If you want to transfer a live photo back to iPhone, good news — CopyTrans Photo will see that the image and the video belong together and add them as a single Live Photo!

    Import Live Photos to iPhone with CopyTrans Photo

    Important: Did you know that since iOS 11 all iPhones take photos in HEIC format by default? This format is much better than JPEG in terms of file size and image quality and uses your disk space almost twice as effectively.

    Let’s check whether your iPhone does that. Go to Settings -> Camera -> Formats:

    Check the current default format in the Settings

    The only downside of this format is that the HEIC format is not yet supported by Windows. However, we offer you a free Windows plugin that allows your PC to display HEIC files in Windows Explorer (and even use HEIC photos with Microsoft Office):

    Get CopyTrans HEIC for Windows

    We strongly recommend keeping the HEIC format as it occupies 50% less space on the hard disk compared to JPEG.

    But if you want, you can always to choose to convert photos to JPEG from the CopyTrans Photo settings menu:

    Choose to transfer HEIC or JPEG to PC or even both

How to turn a Live Photo into a video

Alternatively, you might only want the video part of the file, for example, if you want to post your Live Photo on Instagram. Here’s where you will definitely need CopyTrans Photo:

Download CopyTrans Photo

  1. The process is simple. Run the program and connect your device. Your Live Photos will be on the left. CopyTrans Photo interface with Live Photos
  2. In the right pane, select the PC folder where you want to transfer your Live Photos. Drag and drop the Live Photo from left to right and hit the Apply Changes button in the top-left corner. Convert Live Photo to video
  3. You will get two separate files on your PC – a JPEG file and a MOV file.

  4. Delete the JPG file and copy the video file back to iPhone with CopyTrans Photo by dragging and dropping it to the right side of the interface. Now you will have a video file on your iPhone instead of a Live Photo.
    Transfer the video part of the Live Photo to your iPhone

  5. This video can be easily added to your Instagram – no restrictions here! Add videos to Instagram

How to turn Live Photos into GIFs

Actually, you could create a Boomerang out of your Live Photo – the setting is right on your device! Swipe up while viewing your Live Photo, and you will be able to choose an extra effect: Loop, Bounce or Long Exposure. Choose iPhone Live Photo effect

Choosing “Loop” or “Boomerang” will turn your photo into a GIF. Your newly created gif will be saved in the Animated folder in the Photos App.

How to convert iPhone Live Photo to JPG

Live Photos are great as they are a hybrid between a photo and a video. But what if we no longer need the video part and want to convert a Live Photo to a still? Well, there are 3 ways:

  • Make a screenshot – which is obvious, but the quality might be impacted.
  • Duplicate as still image right on your iPhone – good for one picture.
  • Use CopyTrans Photo to save still versions of many photos.

With CopyTrans Photo you can automatically save the photo component of a Live Photo to a computer and send it back to iPhone. Your Live Photo will be saved in JPEG.

  1. Download and install CopyTrans Photo by following the link below:

    Download CopyTrans Photo

  2. Run the program and connect your device. Navigate through your iPhone photos in the left pane and select the live photo you want to transfer. All your Live Photos are marked with a familiar icon indicator.
    Select the Live Photo you want to convert to still
  3. In the right pane, select the folder where you want to transfer your Live Photo. Then, drag and drop the Live Photo from left to right.
    Drag and drop Live Photo to PC
  4. Hit Apply Changes to finish the transfer.Click Apply Changes button to finish the transfer
  5. The desired Live Photo is now a still image on your PC. To transfer it back to iPhone, create a new folder using CopyTrans Photo and drag and drop the image from right to left pane.Create a new album and transfer the Live Photo from right to left

How to upload Live Photo on Instagram

For some reason, Live Photos are still not supported by Instagram. It only works for Instagram Stories – you can select the Live Photo to post, then press & hold to animate.

But if you definitely need to post a live photo to Instagram, we have a trick that works!

  1. Copy the Live Photo on your PC with CopyTrans Photo:

    Get CopyTrans Photo

    You will get two separate files on your PC – a JPEG file and a MOV file.

  2. Delete the JPEG file and copy the video file back to iPhone with CopyTrans Photo by dragging and dropping it to the right side of the interface. Now you will have a video file on your iPhone instead of a Live Photo.
    Transfer video portion of the Live Photo to your iPhone

  3. This video can easily be added to your Instagram – no restrictions anymore! How to post a Live Photo on Instagram

Alternatively, you can use iPhone apps such as Lively or Motion Stills to make a video from a Live Photo. The downside is that the apps will place a watermark on the video if you’re not using the paid version.


How to send Live Photos to Android

If you followed the above-mentioned tutorial and saved your Live Photos to a computer, you can easily transfer them to an Android device. Since there is no support for Live Photo on Android, you can only import the photo and the video part separately – exactly why CopyTrans Photo is a must.

To transfer Live Photos to Android, connect your Android device to the PC and drag the photo/video saved on the PC into the DCIM folder on the Android phone.
Add Live Photos to Android device

How to turn off Live Photos on iPhone

If you no longer wish to take Live Photos, there are 2 ways to turn off Live Photos on iPhone.

  1. Stop taking Live Photos. Go to Camera and tap on the Live Photo icon at the top ribbon to make sure that you will no longer take Live Photos.

  2. Disable animation on the existing Live Photo If you already have a Live Photo, but no longer wish it to be animated, just click on Edit and press the Live icon at the top: it will disable the feature. Don’t forget to apply changes by clicking “Done” in the lower-right corner.
    Disable Live Photo on iPhone

How to do Live Photos on iPhone 6?

In general, Live Photos are available for all iPhone devices starting with iPhone 6s. If you have an older model and want to take a Live Photo on iPhone 6, you can follow the guide from iPhone hacks that suggests a method involving an iPhone jailbreak.

Alternatively, you can watch this YouTube video below:


How to take a live photo on iPhone 7?

Live Photo is a default feature in every iPhone starting from iPhone 6S, meaning that you most likely have this option available.

If you are wondering how to take Live Photos on iPhone 7 or later, it’s actually pretty easy: just go to Camera and tap on the Live Photo symbol at the top. Now every photo you take is a Live Photo!

Live pictures on iPhone 7

I hope you enjoyed this guide! Tell us what you think in the comments.

Avatar for Marika CopyTrans

By Marika CopyTrans

Marika (pronounce like 'Merica) dreams of saving the world from boredom. Fairly believes that she was the one for the part of Wonder Woman in DC movies, but for now she is eager to make your CopyTrans journey remarkable.