Apple’s Live Photos are photos on steroids. When you shoot a Live Photo on your iPhone, it captures 1.5 seconds of video both before and after you tap the shutter. The result is not only your picture but also the scene enhanced by movement and sound as you tap and hold the image on your device. Live Photos debuted in 2015 alongside the iPhone 6S, and they are easy to create because the process is exactly the same as shooting any other kind of photo.
But there are downsides. Live Photos in their native form can be viewed only by other iOS users. To share your Live Photos with anyone else, you can convert them to a video or GIF. Otherwise, when Live Photos are shared outside the Apple ecosystem, they revert to static images. Another downside to Live Photos is that they take up more storage space than other photos, so you may want to make a video to store somewhere else so you can remove the large file from your iPhone.
To find all your Live Photos, just launch the Photos app and tap the Albums icon. That will lead you to an album called Live Photos, where you’ll see all the photos shot while the Live Photo option was enabled. If you want to preserve the movement and ambient audio of your Live Photos to view elsewhere, you need to convert them into videos. We show you how to do that.
In iOS 13, 14, and 15, an option in the Photos app — Save As Video — allows you to save a Live Photo as a video with a single tap, no third-party app needed.
- Open a Live Photo in the Photos app.
- Tap the Share button.
- Tap Save as Video.
- You can even tap on Edit Actions to move the Save As Video command to the top for easier access.
The Photos app creates a new video next to the Live Photo.
Apple introduced the Photos app’s Loop and Bounce feature in iOS 11, and it comes in handy for creating a special effects video or animation. Here’s how to use it in iOS 13 and 14.
- Open the Photos app and choose a Live Photo.
- Swipe Up to access the effects, and choose either Loop or Bounce. Loop turns your Live Photo into a short loop that plays continuously without pause. Bounce makes the subject of your photo go backward and forward.
- Once you’ve created a video file, you can share it on social media or via email or text.
In iOS 15, the interface is simplified. Just tap on the image you want, tap the Live button directly above it, and choose from the pulldown menu.
You can use the Shortcuts app — which has been integrated into iOS since iOS 13 — to convert a Live Photo to a video or GIF. Apple is not fond of third-party shortcuts, and by default, Apple blocks all shortcuts available for download in case of a security issue. If you try to run a third-party shortcut, the iPhone sends an alert warning that Shortcut’s security settings won’t allow it, but there’s a workaround: You can enable untrusted shortcuts. Here’s how to do it.
- Launch Settings.
- Go to the Shortcuts section.
- Switch on Allow Untrusted Shortcuts. You must have run at least one shortcut in the past to toggle on the setting.
- Type in your passcode if asked.
- To use the Convert Live Photos to Video shortcut from the Shortcuts Gallery website, you will need to search for it via your search engine.
- Open the shortcut link on your iPhone and tap Get Shortcut.
- On the Shortcuts page, tap Get Shortcut.
- Tap Open to open in the Shortcuts app.
- Tap Add Untrusted Shortcut, after which you will see the new shortcut with the rest of your saved shortcuts.
- Tap on the Shortcut and tap OK to allow it to access your photos.
- Navigate to your Live Photos folder and tap the image you want to use.
- Tap OK to allow the shortcut access to notifications.
Once the shortcut is finished, you will get an alert that the new video has been added to your Camera Roll.
In iOS 15, the Untrusted Shortcuts toggle has been removed. The best way of adding non-Apple shortcuts is to try them to see if they work. If you get an alert, then follow the directions onscreen. Most of the third-party shortcuts we tried worked immediately out the gate, but your mileage may vary. While Shortcuts can be used for converting Live Photos to video, fortunately, there’s always the old-fashioned way via the Photos app — always a sure thing.