How to turn a Live Photo into a video on your iPhone

Introduced by Apple many years ago with the iPhone 6s, Live Photos is an entertaining feature that transforms static images into three-second snippets. It accomplishes this by capturing the 1.5 seconds preceding and following the moment you tap the shutter button. This innovation has become a constant across all subsequent iPhone models, and even if you’re new to the iPhone realm, you’ve likely engaged with it unknowingly, as it is enabled by default. Disabling it requires specific actions if you wish to return to capturing standard still shots.

Leaving Live Photos activated doesn’t entail any major drawbacks. Sharing them as conventional, unmoving photos is as simple as sharing any other image. Additionally, while they do occupy a tad more space on your iPhone, this isn’t as significant as it used to be, thanks to Apple’s adoption of the more efficient HEIC format in 2017. In the past, Live Photos could inflate in size to almost double that of an equivalent static JPEG, but today, the contrast is typically around 25%.

Nonetheless, while you can effortlessly share a static rendition of the photo across various platforms where standard images can be posted or sent, the animated segment presents a slightly more intricate challenge. Naturally, Live Photos function seamlessly within the Apple ecosystem; thus, sharing them via iMessage or a Shared Photo Album to friends with iPhones, iPads, or Macs poses no difficulty whatsoever. Moreover, Apple has extended its Live Photos technology to third-party websites, and popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have embraced its integration. Even Google Photos has supported Live Photos for an extended period and offers enhancements for them.

However, if your intention is to ensure that the Live Photo plays flawlessly for all viewers, the optimal approach involves converting it into a video or an animated GIF. This approach also proves advantageous if you aim to preserve your Live Photos in a more conventional and future-proof format. While Live Photos are anticipated to remain functional on Apple devices for the foreseeable future, the outlook becomes less certain when considering their compatibility with Windows PCs or Android phones and tablets.

The positive aspect is that Apple simplifies the process of saving a Live Photo as a standard video. Remarkably, this feature is seamlessly integrated into the Photos app.

How to save a Live Photo as video

The procedure for creating a video from a Live Photo varies slightly depending on which version of iOS you’re operating. The most recent iteration, iOS 16, is compatible with any iPhone released within the past six years, encompassing devices like the latest iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, as well as the 2017 iPhone 8. However, if you’re still using an iPhone 6s or iPhone 7, both of which support Live Photos, you’ll remain on iOS 15.

Fortunately, the steps are almost identical for both versions, with just one option positioned slightly differently on those older models.

Here’s how to go about it:

Step 1: Launch the Photos app on your iPhone.

Step 2: Tap the Album icon located at the bottom.

Step 3: Scroll downwards and opt for Live Photos from the collection listed under “Media Types.” This action will present you with a gallery display exclusively showcasing the Live Photos housed within your photo library. Navigation within this section mirrors the approach employed in the primary Library view, allowing for actions like using pinch gestures to zoom in and out on the grid.

Step 4: Select a Live Photo from the gallery to access it.

Step 5: Once your selected Live Photo is open, tap the three-dot More button situated at the upper right corner of the screen. This action will unveil a dropdown menu featuring additional choices.

For those utilizing iOS 15, you’ll need to opt for the Share button instead, triggering the standard iOS share sheet to appear.

Step 6: Choose the Save as Video option from the pop-up menu (iOS 16) or the share sheet (iOS 15). Your iPhone will create a copy of the Live Photo as a standard video clip.

Step 7: In the event that the “Save as Video” option does not appear within the menu or share sheet while you have a Live Photo selected, it’s likely due to either having deactivated the Live Photo feature or activated an effect mode such as Loop or Bounce (which will be discussed in the final section). Live Photos equipped with effects cannot be transformed into videos. To address this, you’ll need to revert the photo to its original Live Photo state.

To achieve this, simply choose the Live button situated in the top left corner of the photo (which might also display Loop, Bounce, or Long Exposure) and adjust it back to Live from the ensuing dropdown menu.

Step 8: The resulting video clip will retain the identical metadata as the original Live Photo, encompassing the precise date, time, and location details. Consequently, it will be categorized alongside the initial Live Photo in your library. However, this doesn’t imply that it will invariably find its place at the bottom of your Library timeline, unless you’re transforming a Live Photo captured in close succession.

Step 9: The swiftest method to locate your newly saved video involves returning to the Albums view and directing your attention to the Recents album. This particular album arranges your photos based on their actual addition date to your library, as opposed to their internal timestamps.

How to combine multiple Live Photos into a single video clip

Utilizing iOS 16, you have the added capability to merge multiple Live Photos into a singular video clip, crafting a montage of your Live Photo moments. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Launch the Photos app on your iPhone.

Step 2: Tap the Album icon located at the bottom.

Step 3: Scroll down and choose Live Photos from the list situated beneath “Media Types.” This will display exclusively the Live Photos contained within your photo library.

Step 4: Select the “Select” option found at the upper right corner.

Step 5: Choose the Live Photos that you intend to merge into a single video.

Step 6: Once your selected Live Photo is open, tap the three-dot More button positioned at the bottom right of the screen, which will prompt the options menu to appear.

Step 7: Opt for the “Save as Video” choice.

The duration of this process varies based on the number of photos you’ve chosen, ranging from a few seconds to several minutes. During this time, a “Saving…” dialogue will appear as your Live Photos are being transformed into a video. After the video is successfully generated, you’ll find yourself back in the Live Photos view. It’s possible that you’ll need to access the Recents album, as mentioned in the previous section, to locate your video. It will carry the timestamp of the oldest Live Photo you included in your montage.

It’s worth noting that there doesn’t seem to be a practical upper limit to the quantity of Live Photos you can compile into a single video. However, just like when converting an individual Live Photo to a video, you won’t be able to include Live Photos where the Live Photo feature is disabled or ones with added Loop, Bounce, or Long Exposure effects. The “Save as Video” option won’t appear in the menu if any of these are part of your selection.

How to use Loop, Bounce, or Long Exposure with Live Photos

You also have the option to incorporate special effects into your Live Photos to infuse a touch of fun. Apple presently offers three distinct effects: Loop, Bounce, and Long Exposure.

Loop transforms your Live Photo into a brief, continuous loop devoid of pauses, while Bounce imparts a continuous back-and-forth motion to the Live Photo. As the name implies, Long Exposure transforms your Live Photo into a still image that amalgamates the three seconds of video, simulating the effect of a photograph captured with an exceptionally slow shutter speed.

Live Photos featuring these activated effects cannot be converted into videos using the built-in tools within the Photos app. Nonetheless, you can still view them on your iPhone and other Apple devices, and share them with friends and social media platforms capable of accommodating Live Photos.

Here’s how to proceed:

Step 1: Launch the Photos app and select a Live Photo.

Step 2: With the chosen image open, tap the Live button located at the top left corner. From the ensuing dropdown menu, choose either Loop, Bounce, or Long Exposure. Alternatively, you can opt for “Off” if you prefer the Live Photo to appear as a conventional, static image.

How to convert Live Photos to animated GIFs

On certain occasions, you might find it more preferable to share your Live Photo in the form of a GIF rather than a video. This approach could be particularly advantageous on specific social media platforms, especially those that autoplay GIFs or lack support for uploading video clips.

Regrettably, iOS 16 does not include a built-in method to convert a Live Photo into an animated GIF. However, as is often the case, the App Store presents an array of solutions to fill this gap. Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular options is Giphy, which has the capability to convert any Live Photo into an animated GIF — even if it includes Loop or Bounce effects. Furthermore, Giphy enables you to trim the GIF, customize it with your own effects, and directly share it on social media. Additionally, Giphy allows you to save Live Photos as video clips with the same editing capabilities, accommodating Live Photos containing Bounce and Loop effects.

It’s worth noting that the only drawback with Giphy is the necessity to create an account for its usage. However, it does support “Sign in with Apple” for a convenient sign-up process. If you prefer to bypass this step, there are alternative apps available on the App Store that can achieve the same task, although they might not be as feature-rich as Giphy.

Here’s what to do:

Step 1: Download Giphy from the App Store, open the app, and either sign in or register for an account.

Step 2: Click on the “Create” option situated at the upper right corner.

Step 3: Upon receiving a prompt, provide permission for Camera access, and subsequently, tap on the photo thumbnail located at the lower left corner to open your photo library. Once again, grant access if prompted.

Step 4: Opt for “Live Photos” located at the bottom to exclusively view your collection of Live Photos.

Step 5: Select a Live Photo that you intend to transform into a GIF, and tap on it to open.

Step 6: You’ll be presented with an array of editing tools designed to allow customization of your Live Photo before converting it into a GIF. These tools encompass options like cropping, trimming, and the inclusion of stickers and text effects. Utilize these tools to make the desired edits, and once you’re satisfied, click on the Right Arrow located at the lower right corner to move on to the subsequent step.

Step 7: On the following screen, a preview of the finalized GIF will be displayed. Opt for “Share GIF” to progress to the subsequent screen. Alternatively, you can select the smaller “Tap to Copy GIF” option if you wish to swiftly copy it to your clipboard for pasting into another application.

Step 8: Within the “Share Video” interface, decide between “Save GIF” to preserve a copy of the GIF in your photo library or “Save Video” to store it as a standard video clip. Additionally, you have the option to employ the alternative choices available here for direct sharing to platforms like Messages, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, or Instagram.


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