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Apple explores how to create a group selfie when no one’s nearby

Apple has just been granted a patent outlining an idea for creating group selfies without everyone having to crowd around a single camera to get the shot.

The tech giant calls the feature a “synthetic group selfie” that would be created automatically on an iPhone or iPad using single-person selfies submitted by those who want to appear in the group picture.

In the patent, Apple describes a synthetic group selfie as “an arrangement or composition of individual selfies obtained from a plurality of computing devices into a single group image.”

It says the individual selfie images could include still images, as well as stored video images, or even livestreaming images.


Once collected together, the Apple device would automatically arrange the individual selfies into a group picture.

The patent, granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and spotted by Patently Apple, says that the synthetic group selfie can be “stored as a multi-resource object that preserves the individual selfie images so that the user who created the synthetic group selfie or a recipient of the synthetic group selfie can modify the arrangement of the individual selfies within the synthetic group selfie.” In other words, the feature would allow anyone with the synthetic group selfie on their device to arrange the positioning of the people in the shot.

Now, you might be thinking that the patent has come in response to the coronavirus pandemic where getting up close and personal with others outside of your home is behavior that’s still discouraged, with social distancing recommended where possible. But Apple actually filed the patent in 2018, with the USPTO granting it in recent days.

As always, we should point out that at this stage the feature probably still exists solely as an idea on the pages of a document, so there’s no guarantee it will ever make it onto an iPhone or iPad. But with the current pandemic serving to generate extra interest around the idea, it’s certainly something that Apple’s top team may wish to explore as a way of helping friends and family to connect when circumstances keep them apart.

Digital Trends has reached out to Apple to ask for more information about its synthetic group selfie and whether it’s considering developing the idea, and we will update this article when we hear back.

Need tips for taking the perfect selfie? Digital Trends has you covered.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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