How to turn off Live Photos on an iPhone

Save space on your iPhone by turning off Live Photos in the camera app

With Live Photos turned on, your iPhone records 1.5 seconds of footage before and after you tap to snap a photo. That’s why you may see your photos animate when you scroll through your camera roll, and you can also tap and hold on them to bring them to life. A three second video inevitably takes up more space than a static photo, so you may decide you want to stretch your iPhone storage further or reduce the size of your iCloud backup by switching Live Photos off.

Luckily, it’s easy to do. Here’s how to turn off Live Photos:

  • Open the camera app, make sure you’re in Photo mode, and look at the top of the screen. The Live Photos icon is three concentric rings and it will be highlighted in yellow if it’s turned on.
  • Simply tap on it to turn Live Photos off. You’ll see Live Off pop up on screen and the circles will turn white with a diagonal line through them.
  • If you ever want to turn them on again, simply tap the icon again.
  • Live Photos is on by default and it may turn itself on again automatically, unless you go to Settings > Camera > Preserve Settings.

Once you have turned it off, any photos you take going forward will be standard still shots, but any Live Photos you previously captured will still be Live Photos.

Apple introduced Live Photos with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, then added more camera effects to take advantage of them in iOS 11.

You can change the frame that’s displayed as the photo and add all sorts of effects by opening a Live Photo and tapping Edit. If you want to change the frame that’s used as the still photo, then move the slider at the bottom with your finger, release when you’re on the frame you want, then tap Make Key Photo and Done.

You can share Live Photos with other people, but they’ll only animate if the recipient is using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

Get more from your iPhone camera with our iPhone XS camera guide, or dig into some general iPhone tips and tricks.

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