How to post 360-degree photos to Facebook

Sharing regular photos with your Facebook friends is a thing of the past -- the future revolves around interactive pics.

Close
Drag
Autoplay: ON Autoplay: OFF
Jason Cipriani/CNET

By now, you've undoubtedly come across an interactive photo whilst browsing your Facebook feed. Such photos instruct you to hold your phone up and move it around to view different parts of the photo.

It's a fun way of viewing so-called 360-degree photos. And would make one believe you need fancy, or expensive equipment to make it happen. The truth is, however, you don't need a special camera or even a 360-degree photo app in order to upload your own interactive picture.

Dedicated camera need not apply

samsung-gear-360-6025.jpg
James Martin/CNET

But should you want to jump aboard the 360-degree camera movement, there is a list of cameras Facebook officially supports:

Each one of these cameras can capture your entire surroundings in a single shot, but come at a steep cost in most instances.

Your phone is the better choice

Chances are you own a phone or tablet that will work with the new Facebook feature. According to Facebook, anything newer than an iPhone 4S, iPad Mini 2 or either iPad Air and iPad Pro model will work. Facebook doesn't list a series of Android devices (let's be honest, that list would be far too long), but does specifically state using a Galaxy device newer than Samsung Galaxy S5 or Galaxy Note 3 will work.

Owners of a non-Samsung Android device can use the Google Camera app.

The not-so-new method

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Naturally, not just any ol' photo will work with Facebook's 360-degree viewer, so what's the secret?

You need to use the camera app on your device to take a panorama photo. That's it. You probably have a couple in your camera roll right now, just waiting to be uploaded and shared with the Facebook world.

Or you can go one step further and use the Google Street View (Android | iOS) app to take a true 360-degree photo sphere and upload it.

There is one thing to keep in mind when taking a panorama to upload: Facebook states this feature will only work with photos that are 100 degrees or bigger. Unfortunately there's no easy way to see just how big a photo is (in terms of degrees, at least), so if you don't want to capture the full landscape, you'll need to do some trial-and-error to get a better idea of the correct size.

Uploading

Uploading a panorama photo to Facebook is done using the same method to upload all your other photos: Open Facebook, tap Photo, select a picture, post. Also, you can't upload more than one panorama photo at a time.

If, after uploading the photo, you want to change the starting view, you can do so by editing the photo on a computer. Click on the wireframe circle icon, then the paintbrush. Drag the photo to where you want the starting view to be, then click save.

You can also revert a 360-degree photo back to a panorama photo if you'd prefer. Again, click on the wireframe followed by the paintbrush, then uncheck the box next to Display this as a 360 photo and click Save. If you run into any issues, Facebook has a support page for 360-degree photos.

Editors' note: This post was original published June 27, 2016. It has been updated with new features and additional settings.