Apple's Live Photos, introduced in 2015, are photos that capture 1.5 seconds of video before and after you take a picture, with the aim of adding a little bit of life and movement to still images.
When you take a photo with an iPhone, not every shot comes out crisp and clear, but with Live Photos, if you get a blurry image, you can open it up and see if other frames you captured are clearer. If so, you can choose a new "key photo," aka the main photo that you see in your camera roll. Here's how:
Open up the Photos app.
Choose a Live Photo.
Tap on "Edit" in the upper right hand corner of the display.
Using the photo navigation bar at the bottom of the image, tap the thumbnails to browse through the frames captured for the Live Photo.
If you find a better still, tap on "Make Key Photo" to select it.
If you like your original still image best, tap "Cancel" to exit out of the editing interface.
Once you've selected a new frame and tapped on "Make Key Photo," the new still image selected from the photo will be the main image that you see in your camera roll and the image that's sent if you share the photo with someone else.
Selecting a key photo from a Live Photo is a feature that was introduced in iOS 11, so to edit your photos and choose a new main photo, you'll need an iOS device that's running iOS 11. You can also make these edits on a Mac running macOS High Sierra.
iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra bring Live Photos to FaceTime, allowing you to preserve a special memory while video chatting with friends and family. Whenever you use the new Camera button that's at the bottom of the screen on a FaceTime call, it captures a photo, but don't worry - this can't be done in secret and the other party is always notified when an image is captured.
How to Take a Live Photo in FaceTime
Initiate a FaceTime video call.
While in the call, press on the camera button that's located at the bottom of the display to the left of the red button for ending a call.
Pressing the camera button captures a photo from the camera of the person you're chatting with, so if they have the front-facing camera on, you'll get a full image of their face as if they had taken the photo themselves.
The Live Photo taken from the FaceTime call can then be found in the Photos app along with the rest of your photos.
Every time you take a Live Photo in FaceTime, the person on the other end of the video call receives a message letting them know that a Live Photo was taken, so capturing an image during FaceTime isn't something that can be done in secret. FaceTime Live Photos also don't capture audio.
Disable Live Photos in FaceTime
If you don't want people to be able to take a Live Photo when FaceTiming with you, it's easy to disable. Here's how:
Open the Settings app.
Scroll down to the "FaceTime" option and tap it.
Toggle off "FaceTime Live Photos."
With this setting toggled off, people you chat with will not be able to use the Live Photo in FaceTime feature. You can still take Live Photos of others, however, as long as their setting isn't toggled off.
FaceTime Live Photos only works when both FaceTime participants are running iOS 11 and have the option to enable/disable the feature. If someone isn't using iOS 11 and you attempt to capture a photo, you'll get a warning that all parties need to be running the new software.
FaceTime Live Photos on the Mac
FaceTime Live Photos are also available on Macs running macOS High Sierra. Capturing an image is done by clicking on the camera button, and toggling off Live Photos can be done on a Mac by opening the FaceTime app, choosing Preferences from the menu bar, and deselecting "Allow Live Photos to be captured during Video calls."
Apple originally debuted Live Photos in 2015, alongside the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, marking it as a feature that enhances the smartphone's photography with pictures that move when a user performs a 3D Touch on them. With the launch of iOS 11, Live Photos can now be edited in a few useful ways, and this guide will help you make a new key photo (which shows up first in your Photo Album), as well as explain how to add new animation effects to a Live Photo.
To begin, taking a Live Photo hasn't changed with the new iPhone software: simply open your Camera app, tap the circular Live Photos icon at the top center of the screen, and take a picture.
Making a New Key Photo
Tap the "Albums" tab, then navigate to the Live Photos album to find your image.
Tap "Edit" in the top right corner of the image you select.
At the bottom of the screen, scrub through your Live Photo and find the exact spot you want for a new Key Photo.
Tap "Make Key Photo."
Changing a Live Photo Effect
Find the Live Photo you want to edit and select it.
From the center of the screen, swipe up.
Here you'll find three new Live Photo effects.
Choose Loop, Bounce, or Long Exposure.
Swipe down to see the effect in full screen.
Live Photos now have the full suite of editing options previously available to traditional still photos only, including: rotating, cropping, filters, and light and color balancing. You can also choose to mute the Live Photo (volume icon at the top left in edit mode), and automatically enhance it (wand icon at the top right in edit mode). Markup is one editing feature that does not support Live Photos, however.
After you choose a new Key Photo and find a new effect, you can replay your Live Photo like before by performing a 3D Touch action anywhere on the screen of an iPhone 6s device or later.
Last year Google launched an app called Motion Stills that fixed a lot of issues that users had -- and still have -- with Apple's new Live Photos feature introduced in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. With the new update, Motion Stills now lets users customize the displayed frame that appears automatically in the camera roll of the iOS Photos app.
The intent is to display more clearly what the Live Photo image is composed of, particularly when the frame displaying the content is taken from a blurry or unclear segment of the Live Photo. Now, users can cycle through any frame from a Live Photo in Motion Stills, choose a new image, and export it back out to the iOS Photos app with the new frame. This exporting process keeps the Live Photo in Apple's custom 3D touch looping format and not the GIF format of Motion Stills.
As The Verge pointed out, there is a catch in the basic function of Live Photos that could result in a customized frame appearing lower-resolution in the Photos app.
There is a catch. For space reasons, Live Photos only save the primary frame in full 12-megapixel clarity, with the other frames handled as lower-resolution video; choosing one of these frames will therefore result in a photo with less detail than the original. But since the vast majority of Live Photo viewing probably happens on phones, this may not be a major issue for you.
Other than the new frame feature, Motion Stills as a whole lets users turn Live Photos into easily shareable GIFs. The app also uses Google's video stabilization technology to smooth out jittery images and freeze backgrounds, giving an overall improvement on Apple's basic Live Photos. Motion Stills can be downloaded for free from the iOS App Store. [Direct Link]