iOS 11 livens up Live Photos with some new tricks

With iOS 11, Apple is making Live Photos even better.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
2 min read

When Apple first launched its Live Photos feature, it was a fun addition to iOS . The feature turns ordinary photos into short videos, complete with sound and motion.

Starting with iOS 11 , Apple is adding some much-needed capabilities to the Live Photos feature. Let's take a look.

Change the default photo

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
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By default, iOS will present the photo captured when you press the shutter button while taking a Live Photo. Often, it's the photo you wanted. Other times, you missed the exact shot by a fraction of a second.

As of iOS 11, you can change the Key Photo with just a few taps.

When viewing the Live Photo in the Photos app select Edit and then drag the rectangular box along on the filmstrip preview at the bottom of the screen. Once you move the box, Make Key Photo will show up. Tap it, and you're done.

Trim it down

When taking a Live Photo, an iOS device captures a brief period of video, then a photo, then another brief period of video. Sometimes there are portions of the Live Photo you'd rather not have included, and with iOS 11 you can remove portions of a Live Photo.

When viewing the Live Photo, tap Edit and then use the familiar video trim tools along the bottom of the screen to get it just right. If you're unfamiliar with the process, place a finger on either arrow at the end of the clip, and drag it towards the middle. 


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Apple added new effects to Live Photos. Each effect adds a different creative flair to the picture.

Just as you'd expect from the name, Loop will repeatedly play the Live Photo, making it appear that it never stopped.

To apply Loop swipe up on the screen while viewing a Live Photo and select an effect. Follow the same process for Bounce and Long exposure, listed below.


Jason Cipriani/CNET

The Bounce effect will analyze the Live Photo and pick the best start and stop point, then create a Live Photo that plays forward, and then in reverse.

In the right situations, the effect gives a "bounce" appearance to the photo.

Long exposure

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Long exposure shots are fantastic for catching streaking car lights or running water. There are a few apps in the App Store that do a good job of making this process easy, but now Apple has added the option to do it directly from the Photos app with a Live Photo.

When taking a Live Photo intended for the Long Exposure effect, it's a good idea to use a tripod or place your phone on a stable surface. Any shaking, even the slightest, will ruin your shot.