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How do you turn an iPhone Live Photo into a GIF?

live photo into GIF
Going live: turn your live photos into animated GIFs

One of the clever, but often forgotten, features introduced in iOS 11 was the concept of “live photos” – each photo you take being saved as a short animation. Holding your finger on the photo then runs the animation. But, how can you turn an iPhone live photo into a GIF? Well, it’s possible but not as obvious as you’d think…

Creating an animation from a Live Photo

  • Head into your Photos app and select “Albums” in the bottom tab.
  • Scroll down to the “Media Types” section and select “Live Photos”.
  • This will show your Live Photos. Find the one you’re interested in converting and tap on it.
  • Now swipe up from the photo with your finger. A section should appear underneath named “Effects”. From here you can choose your animation type – “Live” (as is), “Loop”, “Bounce” or “Long Exposure” (a still frame showing all of the animation frames overlaid onto each other). You need to select Loop or Bounce.
  • The resulting animation will now be shown.
  • You can either share the animation from this screen OR when on the album “Media Types”, selection “Animated” to find it again.

Sharing an animation

Now, here’s the odd part. When sharing the animation, depending on where you share it determines the file type. Send it to Twitter or Dropbox, for example, and it will be a .GIF file. Save it or AirDrop it and it will appear as .MOV. So, if you’ve AirDropped the animation onto your MacOS device, then it will be a in .MOV format, which is hardly useful.

Alternatively, if you have a device running MacOS, you can quickly and easily convert an animation into a GIF.

Converting to a GIF file in MacOS

  • Just as you did in iOS, open up the Photos app and, in the menu, look for the “Media Types” and select “Animated”.
  • Select the animation you require.
  • Click on File -> Export -> Export GIF in the toolbar

You’re now able to export the animation as a GIF.

NOW READ THIS: How do I take a screenshot on an iPhone or iPad?

About the author

David Artiss

Works for Automattic Inc., the company behind WordPress.com and Tumblr. Tech geek, international speaker and occasional PC Pro podcaster. Lover of Lego and video games.

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