How to Use the Live Photo Editor on iPhone

Get the most from your exciting animated pictures

The Apple Live Photo format is excellent for creating photos accompanied by a short video clip. These are fun to share with friends and family. You can also use those same video clips to create interesting images, animations, and standalone videos. Here's how to edit Live Photos on iPhone.

This tutorial focuses on iPhone Live Photos and how to edit photos on iOS and macOS. These instructions apply to iOS 11 and above, and macOS 10.14 and above.

Understanding Apple's Live Photos Effects

Starting with iOS 11, Apple introduced Effects, a feature that turns Live Photo videos into interesting new images and clips. These include Loop, Bounce, and Long Exposure.

  • Loop: Removes the video sound and plays it in a constant loop.
  • Bounce: Removes the sound and plays the video forward and backward, over and over.
  • Long Exposure: Takes multiple frames from the video, placing frames on top of each other to create a new photo. Any movement in the video is represented as a ghosting effect in the new image.

How to Turn a Live Photo into a Loop, Bounce, or Long Exposure Image on iPhone

Follow these steps to use the Effects feature on a Live Photo in iOS.

  1. Open the iOS Photos app.

  2. Choose the Live Photo to which you want to apply an Effect.

    Effects only work on Live Photos. To be sure you're working with a Live Photo, check the upper-left corner of the screen after opening the image. You should see the word live.

  3. Swipe up on the image to reveal the Effects panel. You will see a row of Effects, starting with the default Live.

  4. To reveal the other Effects, swipe right. You will see Loop, Bounce, and Long Exposure. Each of the Effects features a thumbnail providing you with a preview of how your image will look once the corresponding Effect is applied.

  5. Choose the Effect you want to apply.

    Swipe up, Swipe right, Bounce effect on iOS
  6. The image slides down with the Effect applied.

    Applying an Effect replaces the Live Photo in the Photos app. If you want to return to the default image or try a different Effect, repeat steps 3 to 6 and select Live.

How to Turn a Live Photo into a Loop, Bounce, or Long Exposure Image on macOS

Using the Photos app, you can also edit Live Photos from your Mac. Here's how to do it.

  1. Open the macOS Photos app. You'll see an array of thumbnail images.

  2. Double-click the Live Photo you want to edit.

    Photo to edit in macOS Photos
  3. The image opens in the Photos app. Select Edit in the upper-right corner.

    Edit button in macOS Photos
  4. An editing panel appears on the right side of the image. Beneath the photo, select the Live drop-down menu to reveal the Effects options.

    Live option in macOS Photos
  5. Choose Live, Loop, Bounce, or Long Exposure as your desired Effect, then select Done in the upper-right corner to apply it.

    Live photo effect options in macOS Photos
  6. The Effect is now applied. It is also shown in the main gallery.

    As with iOS, applying an Effect replaces the Live Photo in the Photos app. If you want, you can return to the default image or apply a different Effect. To do this, repeat steps 3 to 6 and select Live.

How to Turn a Live Photo Into a Video Using Google Photos on iPhone

The Apple Photos app doesn't give you the option to separate the photo and video portions of a Live Photo. However, you can do this easily using Google Photos.

  1. If you haven't already, download and install Google Photos for your iPhone. If necessary, log in to the app and provide access to your Camera Roll.

  2. Choose the Live Photo you want to work with in Google Photos.

  3. Select the three-dot menu icon in the upper-right corner.

  4. This opens a menu with several options. Select Save as video.

    Photo to edit, More menu, Save as video option in Google Photos for iOS
  5. Google Photos exports the video portion of your Live Photo and saves it to the device.

  6. Once complete, a notification states that the video is saved to the Camera Roll. Select the back arrow in the upper-left corner of the display to go back to the gallery.

  7. In the gallery, your video is placed after the Live Photo.

    Saving, Video saved message, and video icon in Google Photos for iOS