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How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

Harry Guinness
How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipadHarry Guinness
Writer

Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like The New York Times and on a variety of other websites, from Lifehacker to Popular Science and Medium’s OneZero. Read more.

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

Live Photos are one of Apple’s more interesting innovations. They’re like a GIF with sound. While they’re quite good at capturing the feel of a photo by turning it into a quick video, they also take up a lot more space than a regular photo. Unless you’re a big fan of the feature, it might be better to leave them off by default.

If you already have a few Live Photos you want to convert to still photos, here’s a guide on how to do that. Read on, however, if you want to prevent future photos from becoming Live Photos.

First, open the camera app. At the top of the screen, you’ll see a bullseye icon. This is the Live Photo icon. If it’s yellow, Live Photos are on. If it’s white, they’re off.

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipadHow to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

To switch Live Photos on or off, just tap the icon.

By default, iOS should remember that you’ve switched Live Photos off between sessions. If it’s not, then you need to head to Settings > Photos & Camera > Preserve Settings and make sure Live Photo is turned “On”. If it isn’t, Live Photos will re-enable itself after you quit the camera app.

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipadHow to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

And that’s it: Live Photos will no longer hog your precious storage space.

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How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad Harry Guinness
Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like The New York Times and on a variety of other websites, from Lifehacker to Popular Science and Medium’s OneZero.
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How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

Live Photos are a cool but inessential feature of the iOS photography experience that preserve the moments before and after you take a photo, including the sound. They’re great for bringing a particular photo “to life,” and they’re especially excellent for making your own GIFs from photos—but they also take up a lot of storage space. The files are usually twice as big as those for a regular photo. That can be a big problem for your photo storage, considering that Apple keeps Live Photos on by default.

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to turn the feature off, and you can easily (and temporarily) switch it back on if you want to take a specific shot as a Live Photo. First, I’ll show you how to keep your Camera app from automatically taking Live Photos, then I’ll show you how make Live Photos act like regular photos when you share them with other iOS users.

How to disable Live Photos in the Camera app

  1. Launch the Camera app.
  2. In the photo interface, press the yellow Live Photo icon to turn it off. (This is also how you switch it off temporarily, but normally it will turn on again once you relaunch the app.)
  3. Leave the Camera app and head back to your home screen. (For now, do not open the Camera app again.)
  4. Open the Settings app.
  5. Scroll down to Camera. Press it.
  6. In the menu that pops up, press Preserve Settings.
  7. You’ll see three options. Toggle Live Photo so it switches to green.

That’s all! The next time you open your Camera app, the Live Photo icon should already be turned off. You can reactivate Live Photos by pressing the icon so it changes back to yellow, but with this setting active, it should stay off if you decide to turn it off again.

How to disable Live Photo features in a photo you’ve already taken

This is helpful for sharing older Live Photos you took before you were enlightened by the information above. You can disable the potentially embarrassing sound, or you can simply disable every Live Photo bell and whistle before you send it. Once you’ve done that, it’ll look like a regular photo when you send it. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Open the photo you want to edit, either through the Photos app or the Camera app.
  2. Press Edit in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. To turn off the sound but preserve the Live Photo animation, press the yellow speaker icon in the upper left. The icon should turn white and show a white slash cutting through it.
  4. To turn off Live Photo features altogether, press the yellow LIVE icon at the top. Now the photo will act like a regular photo whenever you send it.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t delete the Live Photo information, so these photos will continue to take up a ton of room on your phone. On the other hand, it means it’s relatively easy to reactivate animations on a Live Photo at a later date: Just go through the same steps above and press LIVE again.

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad“Live Photos” are actually three second video clips that have been compressed in a very smart way, effectively only taking up the space of two regular photos on your iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. One and a half seconds show what happened before the photo, another one and a half seconds complete the story by showing you what happened after taking the picture. This is accomplished through continuous video recording and placing a marker at the time of shooting. While all of this stuff is happening under the hood, your iPhone 6s appears to just be taking regular pictures.

Here’s a little background and info on how to enable, shoot and view “Live Photos” on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Check out our guide and you’ll become an expert on “Live Photos” on iOS 9 and above in no time.

How to enable the “Live Photos” feature

Open up your “Camera” app and tap the icon made of several concentric circles, which will enable “Live Photos” for the next picture you take and stay enabled as long as the icon is blue. While the icon is white, “Live Photos” are temporarily disabled. You can toggle the feature on a picture-by-picture basis.

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

How to take a “Live Photo” on iPhone 6s (Plus)

Here’s a couple of hints on how to take the best “Live Photos” with your new iPhone. As mentioned above, the feature records part of the video before you actually press the trigger button. Due to this slightly confusing circumstance, we need to make sure to keep these things in mind:

  • Press the shutter button only when your subject is properly focused. Pressing it too early will cause your “Live Photo” to contain some of the actual focusing action.
  • Make sure to stay centered on your subject even after shooting, at least for a couple of seconds. If you pull away from the subject immediately or point the camera at the ground, this too will show in the final creation.
  • Sound is also being recorded, keep that in mind. Especially loud bystanders or excessive talk during the shot will distract from the subject.

How to view “Live Photos”

Tap the thumbnail of the corresponding “Live Photo” you would like to view in the bottom right corner of your “Camera” app or by opening your “Photos” app and selecting the image. Press hard to trigger a “deep press” and view the full animation of your photo.

How to see if a photo has motion enabled: While swiping through your photos, pay attention to subtle motion, which will let you know of any “Live Photos” as opposed to regular shots. There is no other means of distinguishing between these types of images, at least for now.

Bonus hints

If you want to convert a “Live Photo” to a regular photo, for example to save on storage space or send it to someone with a limited size email inbox, you can do so using our guide. The image will be then stored as a regular JPEG photograph.

Another great guide of ours you should definitely check out is related to setting a “Live Photo” as your animated Lock Screen wallpaper.

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

Do you have some, or maybe even a lot of pictures you’ve shot with iPhone that you’d like to turn off the Live Photos effect? Follow along for how to turn off Live Photos for existing pictures.

Live Photos is a neat feature that captures 1.5 seconds before and after you snap an image that can really bring a moment to life. But sometimes you might have had the feature turned on by accident when you really just wanted a standard still photo.

Fortunately, Apple lets iPhone users turn off the Live Photos feature for pictures you’ve already taken.

iPhone: How to turn off Live Photos for existing pictures

Note: these steps work on iPad as well.

  1. Open the Photos app and select the image you’d like to remove Live from (you can see all your Live Photos by going to Albums > swipe down to Media Types > Live Photos)
  2. Tap Edit in the top right corner
  3. Tap the Live Photos icon (circle with 3 rings) in the bottom left-ish corner (middle left on iPad)
  4. Tap the yellow Livebutton in the top middle of your screen, then hit Done

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

Now you can make it a standard still photo by tapping the yellow Live button in the top center of your screen as shown below then hit Done.

Now your photo will show a diagonal line through “Live” confirming it’s just a still image now.

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

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How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

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How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad“Live Photos” are actually three second video clips that have been compressed in a very smart way, effectively only taking up the space of two regular photos on your iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. One and a half seconds show what happened before the photo, another one and a half seconds complete the story by showing you what happened after taking the picture. This is accomplished through continuous video recording and placing a marker at the time of shooting. While all of this stuff is happening under the hood, your iPhone 6s appears to just be taking regular pictures.

Here’s a little background and info on how to enable, shoot and view “Live Photos” on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Check out our guide and you’ll become an expert on “Live Photos” on iOS 9 and above in no time.

How to enable the “Live Photos” feature

Open up your “Camera” app and tap the icon made of several concentric circles, which will enable “Live Photos” for the next picture you take and stay enabled as long as the icon is blue. While the icon is white, “Live Photos” are temporarily disabled. You can toggle the feature on a picture-by-picture basis.

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

How to take a “Live Photo” on iPhone 6s (Plus)

Here’s a couple of hints on how to take the best “Live Photos” with your new iPhone. As mentioned above, the feature records part of the video before you actually press the trigger button. Due to this slightly confusing circumstance, we need to make sure to keep these things in mind:

  • Press the shutter button only when your subject is properly focused. Pressing it too early will cause your “Live Photo” to contain some of the actual focusing action.
  • Make sure to stay centered on your subject even after shooting, at least for a couple of seconds. If you pull away from the subject immediately or point the camera at the ground, this too will show in the final creation.
  • Sound is also being recorded, keep that in mind. Especially loud bystanders or excessive talk during the shot will distract from the subject.

How to view “Live Photos”

Tap the thumbnail of the corresponding “Live Photo” you would like to view in the bottom right corner of your “Camera” app or by opening your “Photos” app and selecting the image. Press hard to trigger a “deep press” and view the full animation of your photo.

How to see if a photo has motion enabled: While swiping through your photos, pay attention to subtle motion, which will let you know of any “Live Photos” as opposed to regular shots. There is no other means of distinguishing between these types of images, at least for now.

Bonus hints

If you want to convert a “Live Photo” to a regular photo, for example to save on storage space or send it to someone with a limited size email inbox, you can do so using our guide. The image will be then stored as a regular JPEG photograph.

Another great guide of ours you should definitely check out is related to setting a “Live Photo” as your animated Lock Screen wallpaper.

With Live Photos, your iPhone records what happens 1.5 seconds before and after you take a picture. You take a Live Photo just like you do a traditional photo. Then you can pick a different key photo, add a fun effect, edit your Live Photo, and share with your family and friends.

How to take a Live Photo

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

  1. Open the Camera app.
  2. Make sure that your Camera is set to photo mode and that Live Photos is turned on. When it’s on, you see the Live Photos button at the top of your Camera.
  3. Hold your device* still.
  4. Tap the shutter button .

Live Photos is on by default. You can turn Live Photos off temporarily or permanently.

How to find and play your Live Photos

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Tap the Albums tab.
  3. Scroll down to Media Types and tap Live Photos.
  4. Tap one of the photos to open it.
  5. Press and hold the screen to play the Live Photo.

You can enjoy your Live Photo every time you unlock your device too. Just set it as your Lock Screen wallpaper.

How to change the key photo

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

  1. Open the Live Photo and tap Edit.
  2. Tap the Live Photos button .
  3. Move the slider to change the frame.
  4. Release your finger, then tap Make Key Photo.
  5. Tap Done.

You can also toggle the Live Photo effect between off and on. When you’re editing a Live Photo, tap the LIVE button at the top of the screen to turn Live Photo off or back on.

How to add Live Photo effects

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

  1. Open the Live Photo.
  2. Tap the Live Photos button near the top of the screen.
  3. Choose Loop, Bounce, or Long Exposure.

Loop: Turn a Live Photo you love into a video loop. Choose an image yourself, or look in the For You tab to see photos that would make great loops.

Bounce: Make your Live Photo rock back and forth. Watch your Live Photo as it happened, then it instantly plays in reverse.

Long Exposure: Capture the elements of time and movement. Create a beautiful effect that used to be possible only with a DSLR camera. Fireworks become bright streaks across the night sky. A waterfall becomes a magical blur.

How to edit Live Photos

  1. Open the Photos app and tap the Albums tab.
  2. Go to Live Photos under Media Types.
  3. Tap the Live Photo that you want to edit.
  4. Tap Edit, then make your adjustments.
  5. Tap Done.

If you edit your Live Photo in a third-party app, you might lose any Live Photo effects that you’ve applied.

How to share your Live Photos

  1. Open the photo that you want to share, then tap the Share button .
  2. If you want to share the still photo and not the Live Photo, tap Live in the upper-left corner of the photo.
  3. Choose how you want to share your photo. Note that if you share via Mail, the Live Photo is sent as a still image.

When you receive a Live Photo on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch via Messages, tap the photo to open it, then firmly press and hold to see it come to life.

If you’re using Messages on your Mac, double-click the Live Photo to open it. The Live Photo plays through once. To play it again, click the LIVE button in the bottom-left corner of the photo.

How to turn off Live Photos

From the Camera app, tap the Live Photos button to turn off Live Photos. A slash through the Live Photos button means that the feature is off.

The Camera app turns Live Photos on again automatically. To keep Live Photos off permanently, follow these steps:

With Live Photos, your iPhone records what happens 1.5 seconds before and after you take a picture. You take a Live Photo just like you do a traditional photo. Then you can pick a different key photo, add a fun effect, edit your Live Photo, and share with your family and friends.

How to take a Live Photo

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

  1. Open the Camera app.
  2. Make sure that your Camera is set to photo mode and that Live Photos is turned on. When it’s on, you see the Live Photos button at the top of your Camera.
  3. Hold your device* still.
  4. Tap the shutter button .

Live Photos is on by default. You can turn Live Photos off temporarily or permanently.

How to find and play your Live Photos

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Tap the Albums tab.
  3. Scroll down to Media Types and tap Live Photos.
  4. Tap one of the photos to open it.
  5. Press and hold the screen to play the Live Photo.

You can enjoy your Live Photo every time you unlock your device too. Just set it as your Lock Screen wallpaper.

How to change the key photo

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

  1. Open the Live Photo and tap Edit.
  2. Tap the Live Photos button .
  3. Move the slider to change the frame.
  4. Release your finger, then tap Make Key Photo.
  5. Tap Done.

You can also toggle the Live Photo effect between off and on. When you’re editing a Live Photo, tap the LIVE button at the top of the screen to turn Live Photo off or back on.

How to add Live Photo effects

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

  1. Open the Live Photo.
  2. Tap the Live Photos button near the top of the screen.
  3. Choose Loop, Bounce, or Long Exposure.

Loop: Turn a Live Photo you love into a video loop. Choose an image yourself, or look in the For You tab to see photos that would make great loops.

Bounce: Make your Live Photo rock back and forth. Watch your Live Photo as it happened, then it instantly plays in reverse.

Long Exposure: Capture the elements of time and movement. Create a beautiful effect that used to be possible only with a DSLR camera. Fireworks become bright streaks across the night sky. A waterfall becomes a magical blur.

How to edit Live Photos

  1. Open the Photos app and tap the Albums tab.
  2. Go to Live Photos under Media Types.
  3. Tap the Live Photo that you want to edit.
  4. Tap Edit, then make your adjustments.
  5. Tap Done.

If you edit your Live Photo in a third-party app, you might lose any Live Photo effects that you’ve applied.

How to share your Live Photos

  1. Open the photo that you want to share, then tap the Share button .
  2. If you want to share the still photo and not the Live Photo, tap Live in the upper-left corner of the photo.
  3. Choose how you want to share your photo. Note that if you share via Mail, the Live Photo is sent as a still image.

When you receive a Live Photo on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch via Messages, tap the photo to open it, then firmly press and hold to see it come to life.

If you’re using Messages on your Mac, double-click the Live Photo to open it. The Live Photo plays through once. To play it again, click the LIVE button in the bottom-left corner of the photo.

How to turn off Live Photos

From the Camera app, tap the Live Photos button to turn off Live Photos. A slash through the Live Photos button means that the feature is off.

The Camera app turns Live Photos on again automatically. To keep Live Photos off permanently, follow these steps:

Want to know how to make GIFs from live pictures? We’ll show you how to create a GIF two different ways.

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

You can make a GIF or video from a Live Photo directly from the Apple Photos app on your iPhone or iPad. Before iOS 11, you couldn’t make Live Photos into GIFs or videos straight from the Photos app. Now, there are three video and GIF options on the iPhone: Loop, Bounce, and Long Exposure. You can also use a third-party app to turn your Live Photo into a video or GIF. Let’s learn how to make a GIF with the Apple Photos app or the Lively app.

How to Make a GIF or Video from a Live Photo on Your iPhone

We’ve already told you how to make Live Photo wallpaper or GIF wallpaper for your iPhone; now, we’re going to cover how to turn Live Photos into a video or GIF with Lively or the Photos app. For more tips about how to use your iPhone and other Apple devices, check out our free Tip of the Day.

How to Turn a Live Photo into a Video or GIF on an iPhone (with the Lively App)

If you’ve been wondering how to make a GIF or video from a Live Photo, there’s an app for that! Let’s get started using the Lively app to convert a Live Photo to video or GIF format. Using an app is also particularly helpful if you want to share your Live Photo on Instagram; because, in order to do so, it must be turned into a video.

  1. Open the App Store on your iPhone and download the free app, Lively .
  2. Open the app and tap (I’ve tried selecting photos, but it makes the app glitch).

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

This is also a tip on how to share Live Photos on Instagram. Instagram doesn’t currently support sharing Live Photos, which means the easiest way to share a Live Photo on Instagram is to turn it into a video. It’s also good to note that a Live Photo Lively converts to video or GIF will include a watermark, which can be removed for a one-time purchase of $2.99.

How to Create a GIF Using a Live Photo on an iPhone or iPad (iOS 11 or Later in the Photos App)

If you don’t want to download an app or pay a fee to make a Live Photo into a video or GIF, Apple has you covered.

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Find the Live Photo you want to turn into a video or GIF and tap it, then swipe up from the middle of the photo to reveal Effects.

How to turn off live photos on your iphone or ipad

Technology has come a long way over the past couple of decades. All but gone are the days of disposable cameras, Polaroids, or even point-and-shoot models — these days, most of us just whip out our phones and tap a button.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, you’ve also got access to Live Photos.

Live Photos are like still photos, but when you hold your finger down on them, they “activate” and play a few seconds of video and sound. They’re like GIFs with sound, and are a fun treat when you’re looking back at your photos later. But they’ll only work on Apple devices, and if you try to play them elsewhere, they’ll just be still photos.

Here’s how to take, view, and edit Live Photos on an iPhone or iPad.

Quick tip: To take a Live Photo, you’ll need an iPhone 6s or later, an iPad (5th generation) or later, an iPad Air (3rd generation), an iPad mini (5th generation), or any iPad Pro from 2016 or later.

If you’re not sure what iPhone or iPad you have, check out our articles on how to tell what iPhone model you’re using or what iPad model you’re using.

How to take a live photo on an iPhone or iPad

1. From your iPhone or iPad’s home screen, open the Camera app.

2. Make sure that Live Photos are turned on by tapping the icon that looks like a bullseye. On a new iPhone, it’ll be at the top of the screen.

If the Live Photo icon is colored yellow, that means it’s enabled. If it’s white with a line slashed across it, it’s off. You can enable or disable Live Photo at any time by tapping the icon.

On iPhone 11 and newer models, when you tap the Live Photos icon you’ll also be given an “Auto” option. This will let your iPhone decide whether or not to take a Live Photo based on how much movement it sees.

3. Aim your phone at whatever you want to take a photo of and tap your shutter button as normal. You can also use filters like a normal photo.

You’ll be able to find your Live Photo in your camera roll.

How to edit a live photo on an iPhone or iPad

You can give your Live Photo various effects.

1. Open your device’s Photos app and select the Live Photo you want to edit.

2. With the Live Photo open, swipe up to reveal a list of Effects options.

3. Under Effects, you can choose to keep the Live Photo as is or use a few different options:

  • Loop, which will play the Live Photo in an endless video loop.
  • Bounce, which will cause your Live Photo to bounce back and forth.
  • Long Exposure, which will blend every frame of the Live Photo together into one shot.

4. Save your effect simply by exiting out of the photo — no need to do anything else. You can, however, change the effect at any time by following the same steps outlined above.

You can also change the Live Photo’s “Key Photo” — the image that appears when your Live Photo is still — and trim the Live Photo’s video.

1. Open the Live Photo and tap Edit in the top-right corner.

2. At the bottom of the page, tap the Live Photo icon.

3. A slider will appear with every frame from the Live Photo. Slide the white window to pick a new Key Photo, or use the arrows on the edges to trim the Live Photo.

How to turn off live photos on iPhone or iPad

If you want to turn off Live Photos — maybe you just want to take a good still photo without worrying about the video portion — doing so is easy.

When you open the Camera app, you can turn off Live Photos by tapping the icon so it has a slash through it.

If you want to turn off Live Photos permanently, so they don’t default to being turned on every time you take a photo:

1. Open the Settings app and select the Camera option.

2. Tap Preserve Settings, and make sure the Live Photo switch is turned on.