iPhone 6s: How to Enable Live Photos

| TMO Quick Tip

The Harry Potter-style Live Photos you can take with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are really cool, fun to share, and easy to take. That doesn't, however, mean it's obvious how to enable Live Photos—something I realized after being asked just that several times in the past few days. Read on to learn how to enable and disable Live Photos with a tap.

Here's what a Live Photo looks likeHere's what a Live Photo looks like

To take a live photo, launch the Camera app, then tap the target-looking button in the camera viewer. When it's yellow it's active, and when it's white it's off. That's it.

Just tap the target icon to enable or disable Live PhotosJust tap the target icon to enable or disable Live Photos

Want to learn more about Live Photos? The Mac Observer has you covered. You can view your Live Photos, share them, turn off previews, and even turn them into GIFs for everyone who can't otherwise view them.

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Ted Landau

As I tweeted about yesterday, the problem I have with Live Photos is getting them to my Mac.

While iCloud Photos Library apparently supports Live Photos, I don’t use it. (I don’t want to pay for it nor have all my photos stored there). I still maintain Camera Roll and PhotoStream. I typically import photos from my iPhone’s Camera Roll to my Mac and then delete the photos from the iPhone. So, unless Live Photos is maintained in the import, the feature is lost.

Here’s where problems occur:

• PhotoStream does not support Live Photos. So if I depend on PhotoStream to get the photos to my Mac, I lose the feature.

• Image Capture does not support Live Photos. It’s true that Image Capture imports both the .jpg and the .mov files to the Finder. But they are two separate files and (unless I overlooked something) they remain as separate files when I next import them into Photos. Again, no Live Photos.

As an aside, the Live Photo .mov files are a much lower quality than if I had recorded video directly. As such, I usually just delete them from my Mac.

• Connecting the iPhone to the Mac via USB and directly importing photos DOES support Live Photos. However, even here I had problems. Unlike iPhoto, Photos gives you no option to maintain PhotoStream access without also auto-importing the photos to your Library. This in itself is annoying as there are lots of photos that I take that I have no interest in saving in my Library. So now I have to delete them from Photos even if I have already deleted them from my iPhone.

More to the point, when importing photos via USB, I typically get a message saying that I am attempting to import “duplicates” because the photos are already there via PhotoStream. If I select to skip the duplicates, nothing gets imported…not even the .mov files that are not yet present in Photos. Again, no Live Photos.

I’ve found a couple of work-arounds for this…but they are all at least a minor hassle.

Basically, Live Photos is a mess. It can be fun for some instant playback when taking photos. Beyond that, I expect I will be ignoring this feature.


Live Photos is a great concept but what makes me crazy is the “worse than GIF” results.  The low quality excuse of Live Photos is “well it’s supposed to be a natural photo without any complications of planning the moment”. But again, that’s nonsense because the only way to take a successful Live Photo is to plan it.

- Make sure the subject moves properly BEFORE the shot.
- Make sure you hit the shutter exactly DURING the right moment to avoid blur or blinks.
- Make sure you hold the camera perfectly steady AFTER the photo until the Live icon ends.

There is absolutely no way that anyone can consider this a “natural” way to take a photo. And since it can be argued that taking a successful Live Photo requires a significant amoun of pre-planning then it really should be questioned why Apple chose to go with low quality photos tied to a 12fps mov rather than implementing the 6S High Speed Burst Photos or 4K Video as options. Sequential photos are simple to turn into an animated GIF and a 4K 3sec Video Burst is such high quality that any frame can be assigned as an HD Keyframe.

im not trying to be a hater here because I do use the feature but it just doesn’t seem like Apple to make so many compromises to get such poor results.


Forgot to add put the more important reply for this story…

Lego is finally addressing the Wall-e neck issue.


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