What are iPhone Live Photos and Should You Use Them?

Updated: January 11, 2022 | Contains affiliate links

Since 2015, along with the release of the iPhone 6S, Apple introduced Live Photos as a major feature. Ever since its introduction, Live Photos has had a mixed audience, with many people liking iPhone Live Photos while others have figured out how to turn off Live Photos and never used them. In this article we will explore iPhone Live Photos and the pros and cons of using Live Photos on your iPhone.

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What is iPhone Live Photos?

Basically, Live Photos on iPhone is a regular digital photo and a short 2 seconds video recording the few moments before the photo. Essentially, the iPhone camera captures 2 media files, one photo and one video. When viewing a Live Photo, the operating system, iOS plays the video file first and then it shows the picture.

How to Turn Off Live Photos?

Turn off iPhone Live Photos
How to turn off iPhone Live Photos

  1. Open the camera application on your iPhone.
  2. On the top right you will see the Live Photo symbol. If it’s yellow, it’s on. Tap it to turn it off.
  3. If Live Photo settings was on, when you turn it off, you will see the Live Off symbol appear for a couple of seconds. Then the Live Photo symbol on the top right will turn white and have a line through it showing it’s Live Photo was turned off.

How to Turn On Live Photos?

Turn on iPhone Live Photos
How to turn on iPhone Live Photos

  1. Open the camera application on your iPhone.
  2. On the top right you will see the Live Photo symbol. If it’s white with a line through it, it means it’s off. Tap it to turn it on.
  3. If Live Photo settings was off, when you turn it on, you will see the Live symbol appear for a couple of seconds. Then the Live Photo symbol will show yellow to indicate it’s on.

How To Make Sure Your iPhone Live Photos Settings Stick

This one is a bit strange for me, but maybe because Apple is really trying to push Live Photos on users.  I’m not sure about the reasoning, but unless your Camera application doesn’t have Preserve Settings turned on, you will have to turn on/off your Live Photos settings for every photo.  Personally, I turn off Live Photos and I want it to stay off.

Open iPhone Camera Settings
Open iPhone Camera Settings

Enable Preserve Settings for iPhone Live Photos
Enable Preserve Settings for iPhone Live Photos

So here is how to preserve live photos settings on your iPhone camera:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Open Camera Settings
  3. Open Preserve Settings…settings and make sure you enable Live Photo.  This means that whenever you change the Live Photos setting in your camera, the setting will be preserved for the next photo.  Additionally, I turn on Preserve Settings on all the available settings as well: Camera Mode and Creative Controls.  Essentially I want the settings in my camera app to stick once I make them.

Pros and Cons of using iPhone Live Photos

The pros of using iPhone Live Photos is the end product itself. If you like seeing the couple of seconds of video before taking a photo on your iPhone, then use it and enjoy it. It’s as simple as that.

The cons of using iPhone Live Photos has more to do with transferring your photos from your phone to your computer and organizing your digital photos. For each photo you essentially download two files, a photo file and a video file. The additional video file is not only an extra file, but it also essentially doubles the size of your photo. To me, this is the greatest con of using iPhone Live Photos. Once transferred to my computer, I cannot see the photo and video together as that is a feature available only on my iPhone. So, once on my computer, the small video file is useless…in my opinion. Thus for me, I turn iPhone Live Photos off.

Should You Use iPhone Live Photos?

Well, you’ve probably realized that the answer to this question depends on you.  Now that you know the pros and cons of using Live Photos you can decide for yourself.

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