The idea of moving pictures isn't new (any Harry Potter fan will tell you that!) but thanks to Live Photos, everyone can take and share them!

Live Photos aren't quiiiite video, but rather a full-on 12-megapixel photo that animates 1.5 seconds of motion before and after the still. Super cool, right?!

You can take them with an iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, SE, or 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and play them back with 3D Touch or a long-press on any iOS device: all you have to do is learn how!

How to take a Live Photo with your iPhone or iPad

Live Photo can easily be turned on and left on, or turned off and only turned on when you expressly want to use it – which is a great option if you're looking to save the battery and some space on your iPhone.

Since Live Photos (which combine a 12-megapixel JPG image with a ~15fps MOV file) take about about twice the amount of storage, and require you to keep the camera relatively still for three seconds, both your storage and patience might lean you towards the latter approach.

The important thing to remember is that a Live Photo is not a movie. It doesn't start when you hit the shutter. Instead, it grabs the photo.

Think of it this way: the moment you hit the shutter is the mid-point of your live photo, the still that's wrapped in animation before and after. Grasp that, and your Live Photos will turn out just the way you want them!

  1. From the Camera app...
  2. Tap the Live Photo button, top center (looks like a set of diffusing rings) to toggle it on (yellow).
  3. Tap the Shutter button to take your Live Photo.

    Tap the live photo and then tap the shutter button to take your live photo.

The Live Photo icon will animate with a brief ripple and a yellow LIVE label will pop up to briefly alert you that it's on. A white LIVE OFF label will briefly alert you when it's not on.

And yes, you can take LIVE SELFIES. Use the power wisely!

How to view Live Photos on a newer iPhone model

Viewing a Live Photo on one of Apple's current-generation iPhone models (iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus) is easy-peasy!

  1. Go to the Live Photo you want to view.
  2. Press firmly to invoke 3D Touch and animate the photo.

It'll blur for just a second and then start to play.

How to view Live Photos on an older iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

If someone who can take a Live Photo sends or shares one with you, as long as you have an iPhone or iPad — even an older one that can run iOS 9 or later — you can still watch it come to life.

  1. Go to the Live Photo you want to view.
  2. Touch and hold to animate the photo.

    Go to the live photo you want to view and touch and hold to animate the photo.

How to share Live Photos on your iPhone or iPad

You can share your Live Photos right from the standard iOS Share sheet. Here's how!

If your social service of choice currently doesn't support Live Photos, here's how you can share them elsewhere.

  1. Go to the Live Photo you want to share. Depending on how recently you shot it, you can either tap the thumbnail right in Camera, got to the Photos app and browse for it, or go into the Selfies album and look for it there.
  2. Tap the Share button.
  3. Tap the LIVE overlay on the photo to toggle between sharing the Live Photo and the regular photos. (If you don't want to share the moving version.)
  4. Tap the icon of the service you want to share to. (Live Photos are labeled LIVE so you can clearly identify them.)

    Go to live photos, tap the share button adn then tap the LIVE overlay before tapping the icon on the service you want to share to.

How to set a Live Photo as the wallpaper

You can set Live Photos as your wallpaper on iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus or as a clock face on Apple Watch, which works especially well for loved ones, children, pets, and landscapes.

Just put your favorite Live Photo right on your Lock screen so, with a 3D Touch, it'll animate into life any time you like. Super cool, right?

Note: iPhone SE and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which can take Live Photos, don't have 3D Touch or Force Press, and so can't activate them on the Lock screen.

  1. Go to the Live Photo you want to use as your wallpaper. Depending on how recently you shot it, you can either tap the thumbnail right in Camera, got to the Photos app and browse for it, or go into the Selfies album and look for it there.
  2. Tap the Share button.
  3. Tap the Wallpaper button to the Share sheet (all the way to the right).

    Go to live photo and tap the share button. Then tap the wallpaper button.

  4. Swipe and pinch to zoom to frame the Live Photo just the way you want it.
  5. Press down to play the Live Photo so you can make sure the action fits perfectly.
  6. Make sure the Live Photo button is selected.
  7. Tap Set
  8. Choose Set Lock Screen (or optionally, Set both).

    Swipe and pinch to zoom to frame the live photo and then press down to play the live photo. Makre sure the live photo button is selected and tap set. Choose set lock screen.

How to extract a still shot from a Live Photo

If you want the photo without the live, you can make a copy that gives you just that. (You can also export Live Photos as GIFs, if you want the live without the photo!)

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Select the Live Photo you want to extract a still shot from.
  3. Tap the Share icon in the bottom left corner of the screen.

    Open the photos app and select the live photo you want to extract. Tap the share icon in the bottom left corner.

  4. Tap Duplicate in the option tray at the bottom of the screen.
  5. Tap Duplicate as Still Photo.

    Tap duplicate and then duplicate as a still photo.

A copy of the still photo will appear in your library right next to the original Live Photo. You can delete the Live Photo if you no longer want it to take up storage on your iPhone.

What do you think?

Do you love shooting Live photos? Or do you think it's a waste of time, space, and battery?

Let us know your thoughts on Live photos in the comments below!