How to Take Photos and Record Video at the Same Time on an iPhone

taking a photo while recording video on iphone
image credit: Jody King/EyeEm/Getty Images

Have you ever been recording a video on your iPhone when a perfect moment happens and you want to catch it as a still photo, not just a video? Well, if you have the right iPhone model, you can take a photo and record a video at the same time.

What You Need

All you need to use this feature is an iPhone 5 or newer—the 5C, 5S, SE, 6 series, 6S series, and 7 series all support it. The 6th generation iPod touch also supports this feature.

On the iPad, the 4th generation iPad or newer offers it as well.

How to Take Photos and Record Video at the Same Time

If you've got one of those phones, here's what you need to do:

  1. Tap the Camera app to open it
  2. Slide the menu at the bottom of the screen to Video
  3. Tap the red button to begin recording to video
  4. When the video starts recording, a white button appears in the corner of the screen (whether it's at the top or bottom depends on how you're holding the phone). That's for taking still photos. Whenever you want to snap a photo of what's onscreen, tap the white button.

All still photos you take while recording video are saved to the Camera Roll in your Photos app, just like any other photo.

The One Drawback

There's one important thing to know about the photos you take this way: They're not the same resolution as photos you take when you're not also recording video.

The standard photo taken with the back camera on an iPhone 7's 12 megapixel camera is 4032 x 3024 pixels.

The resolution of the photos taken while the phone is also recording video is lower, and it depends on the resolution of the video. Photos taken during 4K video recording are higher than those from 1080p videos, but both are lower than the standard photo resolution.

Here's how the resolution breaks down for recent models:

iPhone ModelStandard Photo
Resolution
Photo Resolution
While Recording
Video - 1080p
Photo Resolution
While Recording
Video - 4K
Photo Resolution
While Recording
Video - Slo Mo
iPhone 5 & 5S3264 x 24481280 x 720n/an/a
iPhone 6 series3264 x 24482720 x 1532n/an/a
iPhone SE4032 x 30243412 x 19203840 x 21601280 x 720
iPhone 6S series4032 x 30243412 x 19203840 x 21601280 x 720
iPhone 7 series4032 x 30243412 x 19203840 x 21601280 x 720

 

So, taking a photo while recording a video isn't top resolution, but on an iPhone 6S or 7 series phone, those photos are nearly as good as the standard photos on an iPhone 6. The loss of resolution is greater if you're recording in slow motion. 

Still, the standard resolutions are more than enough for many people's uses. Plus, losing some resolution is a decent trade off for being able to capture both the photo and video at the same time.