Photogs will fall in love with iOS 8’s time-lapse feature


iOS 8 makes time lapse videography easier than XXXXX  photo: Buster Hein, Cult of Mac
iOS 8 is bringing  easy time-lapse video to the masses. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

Apple poured a ton of love into the iOS 8 Camera and Photos apps, but one feature that did not get enough stage time during last week’s Worldwide Developers Conference was the incredible time-lapse video feature.

The new feature lets you create videos of accelerated sequences of photos over time with stunning simplicity. I finally got around to trying it myself by sweating and wheezing my way to the top of Hayden’s Butte to capture the summer sun setting over Tempe, Arizona, last night.

I only took one run at it, but the results were unbelievably cool:

I’ve never shot a time-lapse video or even tried one of the third-party apps that have made it possible for years. But with iOS 8, Apple makes it so ridiculously easy, Instagram is guaranteed to get flooded with slow-simmering sunsets, crawling clouds and bustling street videos once iOS 8 hits photogs’ iPhones in the fall.

Controls in Time Lapse are pretty much nonexistent. You can set the focus and manually control the exposure, but that’s about it. Once you tap record you are at the mercy of your iPhone, which dynamical selects the intervals to snap photos. Just set it and forget it.

My tripod and iPhone firmly in place, I tapped record, hiked up and down the trail with my dog a few times and came back 25 minutes later to find a 22-second video of the evening’s sunset ready for me. You can record as long or as short as you want and the iPhone still spits out a digestibly short video – perfect for Vine, Instagram or Flickr.

Considering it was the first time I even tried it, I was surprised how great the video looked. Like slo-mo in iOS 7, Time Lapse gives iPhone users the ability to shoot videos that look like they came from a DSLR. My exposure was too low to start with, but the app automatically adjusted about eight seconds into the video when it got too dark.

A quick trim lets you adjust the beginning and ending points of the video, and like Slo-Mo you can save edited videos as new clips or trim the original. Seconds after recording you’ll be ready to throw it on YouTube.

Sunsets and clouds aren’t the only cool subjects worthy of time-lapsing. YouTuber iTwe4kz posted a video yesterday showcasing time-lapse iPhone footage of everything from construction sites to melting popsicles, but we can’t wait to see what kind of crazy uses iPhoneographers will put the feature through once Apple unleashes it in the fall.

  • Nem Wan

    Who can be without their phone long enough to shoot a time-lapse video? ;-)

  • James Alexander

    Nice shot of Tempe Town lake and the Mill.

    • BusterH


  • DarekSlaby

    What tripod are you using to hold your iPhone?

    • BusterH

      joby gorillapod

  • serge_guatemala

    Wow!… Really!?!? ehmm.. if you own a samsung note 3 o s5 you already has this feature :D

  • GR

    Cool, Although this feature has even on the iPhone by 3rd party apps for a long while now, my favorite camera app is the built-in one from Apple, So this is a welcome feature for me.

  • Duncan Hill

    Leaving your iPhone out in the open for hours to take a time lapse video. What could possibly go wrong?

  • mahadragon

    Samsung smart phone users are giddy over this announcement. They will be getting this feature on their phones next year because all Samsung does is copy Apple.

  • ryan

    what camera were you using for the photo of the iphone?

    • BusterH

      an iPhone 5s.


    can you edit this with imovie?

  • ConstablePlod

    Nice try iPhone and I definitely will take this baby for a whirl around the dance floor, but for time-lapse videos you can’t beat the simplicity of the Brinno series of dedicated HD time-lapse cameras. Brinno “Brilliant Innovation” (sounds better in Taiwanese!)