Still from Live Photo

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Today’s Question: Is there a way to create a normal still image from a Live Photo on the iPhone? I accidentally had the Live Photo feature turned on and just want a normal picture.

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can convert a Live Photo to a “normal” photo on the iPhone using the editing features within the Photos app. You can also use the Photos application on your computer to create a “normal” copy of a photo that was downloaded as a Live Photo.

More Detail: The Live Photo feature on the iPhone is essentially a short video clip, enabling you to add a bit of motion to what would otherwise be a still photo. However, there are some limitations in terms of how you can use these Live Photo images, and what you can extract from them.

When you are using the Camera app on the iPhone, an icon for the Live Photo feature is available, represented by a “target” icon. If this icon appears yellow, the Live Photo feature is enabled. You can tap on the icon to toggle the Live Photo feature on or off.

When you capture a Live Photo with an iPhone, the software automatically identifies a “best” frame from the short video. The other frames are reduced in number and resolution compared to a normal capture or video, presumably to reduce overall file size. As a result, while it is possible in concept to select a different frame to use as the “real” photo from a Live Photo, those other frames will represent a lower quality than the frame that was selected automatically.

Within the Photos app on the iPhone you can navigate to a Live Photo you want to convert to a normal image. Click the edit button (it is an icon represented by three adjustment sliders) to enter editing mode. Tap the Live Photo icon at the top-left of the editing screen to turn off the Live Photo feature, and tape Done to apply the change.

If you have already downloaded the photos to your computer, you can use the Photos application. As with the iPhone, this option is found by clicking the same editing icon to bring up the editing controls, where you can turn off the Live Photo feature.

In addition, a handful of other software applications enable you to work with Live Photo images in a variety of ways. But as noted above, if you don’t want to use the Live Photo feature, you’ll want to be sure it is disabled in your Camera app on the iPhone.