How to turn off "Live" photos on the iPhone

Originally published at: How to turn off "Live" photos on the iPhone | Boing Boing


What frustrated me about it was when my kids would take a photo of, say homework, and emailed it to me to view, what I’d get was a short video file at some extremely low resolution. It took a long time to figure out why that was happening and to turn it off. And, like @frauenfelder implies, it has a tendency to turn itself back on for no decernable reason. It’s very frustrating.

When it first happened, I remarked that “I know the camera on the iPad is a potato, but this is extra horrible!”


Or … stick with an older iPhone and you won’t have the feature, so no need to turn it off. (iPhone 6 - yaaaaay!) :wink:

This is the second time this week I’ve seen an article on the internet about Live Photos. It seems to be becoming a thing.

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Oh good, everyone knows that cameras steal your soul

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This skirts the line of a “dark pattern.” If the switch is OFF that means “automatically reset to ON” (were one to say, not read carefully the dark grey on black text… which apparently I didn’t… because I thought I had turned OFF the stupid Live Photo option but had actually opted into it and have been frustrated with it defaulting to this mode. I chalked it up to “iOS bug”)
Screen Shot 2021-10-28 at 8.06.14 AM


Done and done.
Thanks Mark!

Now please do something about the dang Notch Problem:

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until you need a new one… :slight_smile:

hate live photo - had it turned off for so long I did not even remember it was a thing till I read this.

On my iPhone, I’ve never touched my Camera settings ever, and the Settings|Camera|Preserve Settings|Live Photo toggle was already set to ON…

I think it’s only a dark pattern if the default was OFF (that is, keeping it on all the time). Anyone who gets as deep in the weeds as getting to the “Preserve Settings” area knows what they are doing.

Also, the “dark pattern” designation is only applicable when the pattern will tend to make the user choose a path that: harms them, costs them money, or aids the corporate entity in a non-transparent way. And none of these conditions are applicable even if “Live” were the default. Which it isn’t, in any case.

The standard Fotos app exports and sends the keyframe as jpeg. You can resize it, of course.

You can get the “Live Photo” as a MOV with audio, yes, but then it will be in full resolution, too. Resizing takes time.,

To get you what you get you need to take extra steps.

It’s not a dark pattern at all. Also, like with white magic and dark magic, it’s a matter of intent.

The intent here is that people get back to the standard settings, which is what the majority absolutely want.

Yes, I know. We track our customers settings with their intent. The vast majority changes nothing, but “I totally didn’t change anything [spoiler: They did] but now the interface sucks” is a sizeable chunk of user requests.

There IS a subset of power users who know what they want AND whose wants are sensible and well thought off, but they are familiar with the settings.

I generally don’t like live photos except when taking pictures at a live show since I can pick a perfect frame out of the couple of seconds of buffer it gives you and the snippet of audio will let me know what was being performed at the time.

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I honestly can’t remember what the default was. I know that after installing iOS 15, suddenly every picture was in Live Picture mode, where it wasn’t before. That switch was super confusing as I tried to “put things back the way they were before the update.” I admit I didn’t recognize the process of “turn ON save settings then go into the Camera app and turn OFF live picture to have that setting now stick as the default”. It’s not a particularly intuitive set of steps.


That may be what you get now, but historically you got a 320x240 jpeg file. I just pulled up the emails.

And then I buy another second-hand iPhone 6 on eBay. :wink:

yes until apple stop supporting… the iOS upgrades
apps stop the walking

They already have. iPhone 6 is stuck on iOS 12.5

From time to time there’s a 12.5.x (for security things) but to be honest I would not be bothered if they stop those too.

ETA and if an app works now, it works. Some say they need updates but then refuse to install the update when they see the iOS version. Fine by me. True, some new apps need a higher version of iOS but I have not found a new app I wanted to install for a very long time (the NHS Covid pinger app was one) and yes, some apps may stop working - so far I can only recall one, where the fuckwit developer decided to stop it working if I could not update to their latest whizzy version, rather than just leave it alone. Eventually, I guess I’ll have to move on or forego some apps. So far my jury is in favour of foregoing the apps. But then there’s the no headphone socket issue, and that is also a deal-breaker and I think the last iPhone to sport those was not much further on than iPhone 6.

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Mark, I have to disagree here. At first I thought it was annoying and useless too, but then I started making these Live Photo Retrospectives, where each time I do a photo transfer to hard drive I take all the Live Photo videos and make these odd montages of the previous few months: All of them are here: walkswithdave (Posts tagged livephotoretrospective)

(Besides, what’s the harm in capturing some extra info when you take a photo? Never know when it can come in handy - this would be a great gotcha technology feature for a modern Colombo-type show.)

Extra points if you can spot the famous author.
RIP Srikercat.

When I see those great little characters of Mark’s I always think of this doodle I did while on the phone in 2001, living in the carriage house behind the Voodoo Museum in New Orleans.

This was doodled on the eviction notice I found on my door that day.

I seriously doubt this was normal behaviour. When Live Photos were introduced I already worked for years as a developer for a Photo finishing company – getting sufficiently large resolutions (curse you, WhatsApp!) was a prime concern. Also knowing in how to deal with these photos. Such a small resolution as a default in one of the main general purpose devices we get photos from would’ve resulted in a project to deal with it and we didn’t had that.