How to Select a Frame From a Live Photo

Choose and save the perfect shot

Man using a smartphone at night in well-lit city square

Nazar Abbas Photography/Getty Images

Smartphone cameras are great for capturing those in-the-moment shots, but inevitably there will be times when the final image isn’t quite what you’d hoped for. However, thanks to the iPhone’s Live Photos feature, there’s a way to scrub through your photos to find an alternative frame. Here’s how choosing a Live Photo frame works.

How to Select a Frame From a Live Photo on iPhone

Picking out a better still frame from your Live Photo is easy to do on the iPhone. Just follow these simple steps.

  1. Open Photos on your iOS device.

  2. Tap the Live Photo you want to edit.

    This process only works on Live Photos. To be sure you're working with a Live Photo, check the upper left of the screen once you've opened your image and you should see the word "live."

  3. Tap Edit in the upper right corner to open Photos' editing functions.

  4. At the bottom of the screen you'll see a timeline of the Live Photo and a white box. Tap the white box and you'll see a small white dot. This references where on the timeline your current Key Frame is located.

    Photo to use, Live and Edit buttons, timeline and selected frame in Photos for iOS
  5. Touch and hold the white box to slide it left and right along the timeline.

  6. As you move, you will see the main image change. This is a preview of your frames. The faster you move, the quicker the image scrubs. Move the white box slowly to find the perfect moment.

  7. Once you've found the right frame, lift your finger. Tap Make Key Photo to set the frame as your new main image.

  8. You will now see two white dots on the timeline. The first dot (slightly dulled out) references your starting frame. The second dot (just above the white box) is the new Key Frame.

    If you want to pick a new frame, repeat steps 5 to 7.

    Swipe left/right, Make Key Photo, two frame dots in Photos for iOS
  9. To compare your new frame with the original one, move the slider to the first white dot.

    If you have System Haptics turned on (Settings > Sound & Haptics > System Haptics) you'll feel a small vibration when you're at the right frame.

  10. When you're happy with the image, tap Done in the lower right corner of the screen to save your improved shot.

    Done button in Photos for iOS

How to Select a New Frame From a Live Photo on macOS

Using Photos on macOS you can search through your Live Photo to find a better frame.

  1. Open Photos on your Mac.

  2. Double-click the Live Photo you want to work with to open it.

    Photo to edit in macOS Photos app
  3. Tap Edit in the upper right corner to open the editing functions.

    Edit button in Photos for macOS
  4. At the bottom of the image you'll see the timeline with a white box and a white dot indicating the current Key Frame. Click the white box and slide it left or right to choose a new Key Frame. As you move, you will see the main image change.

    Timeline and left/right movement in Photos for macOS

    Move the box slowly to find the perfect moment for your shot.

  5. Once you've chosen your frame, click Make Key Photo to set the frame as your new main image.

    Make Key Photo option in macOS Photos
  6. You will now see two dots above your timeline. The slightly dulled out dot refers to the original frame and the second references the new Key Frame. You can move the slider between the dots to compare your starting frame and the new image.

    Two Frames dots in macOS Photos
  7. Once you're happy with your selection, click Done in the upper right corner.

    Done button in Photos for macOS
  8. That's it! You've selected a new frame for your Live Photo.