Photos

Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on Photos:

How to make stickers from personal photos for fun group chats

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Cut Your Own Stickers
Make your own stickers from your own photos.
Image: Watty62/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You can make custom stickers from photos on your iPhone and send them in iMessage, Snapchat and WhatsApp. Stickers made from your own pictures are a lot of fun to send in group chats. They’re great for sending highly personal reactions using photos of people or pets that everyone knows. You can even add fun sticker effects.

Making these custom stickers from photos stems from an iOS 16 featured that brought the ability to copy and paste the subject from a picture. Now, in iOS 17, it’s easy to collect your personalized cutouts int a set of digital stickers you can use anywhere. I’ll show you how it all works.

How to tag photos on iPhone with people and pets

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Tag Your Friends And Family
Despite what my hairline would imply, Craig Federighi is not family. Just friend.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You can quickly tag photos on your iPhone with the names of your friends, family members and pets so you can easily find pictures of them later on. The Photos app will detect pictures of people automatically — you just need to give them a name.

If you want to fine-tune the results, I’ll show you how to do that. And now in iOS 17, you can even tag pets (cats and dogs) in your photos.

How to save your Live Photos as a video

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Make A Video Out Of Your Pictures
Turn your many, many cat photos into a few great videos.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac


You can turn multiple Live Photos shot on your iPhone into a video. Simply select a group of Live Photos taken in a burst, and you can create a single, stitched-together video that you can save to your library and share on social media.

Here’s how it’s done.

Rotate, skew and crop photos on iPhone

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Fix Your Perspective
Straighten out images that were taken slightly askew.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac


If you’re traveling this summer, there’s a neat editing trick to get spectacular shots of landmarks or murals.

With advanced editing tools in the Photos app, you can make adjustments you might not have thought were possible. Fix the perspective or angle a picture was taken, correct the fisheye distortion on an ultra-wide photo and more.

You can also precisely rotate and skew perspective on photos from your iPhone, for those times when you don’t realize until it’s too late that your shot is slightly to the side or slightly askew. You can fix it all directly in the Photos app.

Pro Tip: Adjust portrait blur after you take the shot

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Adjust the blur effect
Add more blur to the background or bring it into focus.
Image: King of Hearts/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac


Pro tip bug You can adjust the Portrait mode blur on iPhone and Mac — even after you’ve taken the picture. Your iPhone stores the depth data that it uses to make the blur effect along with the photo, so if the picture was taken on a recent iPhone, you can adjust how blurry or clear the background is. It’s super easy to get just the right amount of bokeh.

A blurrier background, under the right conditions, can make for a really dramatic picture with emphasis on the subject. You might want to turn up the blur to intentionally hide details behind you. On the other hand, if you’re in a photogenic spot of scenery, you might want to see more of the landscape.

Either way, I’ll show you how to edit Portrait mode on iPhone and Mac.

5 features in Apple’s Photos app you need to try today

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Rule the Photos App Like A Boss
Face it: You could probably use some pointers if you have a lot of photos.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac


It might not be apparent at first, but Apple’s Photos app gives you plenty of ways to manage your photo library and tweak the images in it.

If you have tens of thousands of photos like I do, your photo library is probably a big mess. You could spend hundreds of hours meticulously sorting images into albums, and tweaking settings to get everything just right. Or you can use some of the features Apple offers to make things easy.

I’ve already covered my top tips for taking photos. Here are my top five tips for managing and manipulating the great photos you took, using tools in Apple’s Photos app.

How to remove duplicate photos on iPhone, iPad and Mac

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Get rid of all those copies
Find and delete copies of your photos on your iPhone.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac


You could have dozens of copies of the same images in your Photos library, taking up space on your phone and in your iCloud account. Luckily, Apple offers an easy-to-use little tool that lets you find duplicate photos and delete the copies, all right from the Photos app.

Update: In iOS 16.4, released today, duplicates will now be detected between Shared iCloud Photo Libraries. If you have this set up, check for duplicates again — there’s likely to be hundreds more after updating.

These types of duplicate images can accumulate more quickly than you might expect. They arise if you make a copy of a photo to edit, if you screenshot a photo to bump it to the top of your Camera Roll, or if you and your partner both upload the same picture to your Shared iCloud Photo Library. In fact, I found hundreds of duplicates in my own carefully curated library.

It’s a surprisingly sophisticated feature that took Apple engineers a fair amount of smarts to cook up (more on that later). Here’s how to use Apple’s duplicate image remover and get rid of all those unnecessary files.

How to share an iCloud Photo Library

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Apple learned how to share!
Sharing a photo library with your family is finally possible in iOS 16.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac


After a weekend getaway or vacation, my wife and I inevitably take half an hour when we get home to share our pictures back and forth. With iOS 16, that is no more. You can finally enable a shared iCloud Photo Library — and it’s really straightforward.

Have fun with photos: How to copy and paste subjects in iOS 16

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Using iOS 16's Visual Look Up feature, you can instantly copy the subject out of your pictures.
In iOS 16, you can instantly copy the subject out of your pictures.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac


One of the more surprising features in iOS 16 is the ability to cut out people from a picture (or a dog, a car, whatever’s in focus) and copy it into another app. You can send it in iMessage, paste it in a photo editing app, or use Universal Clipboard to paste it on a nearby iPad or Mac.

What’s it for? Well, it’s great for making stickers for WhatsApp and Snapchat, plus it’s a hell of a lot of fun. If you’re putting together a YouTube thumbnail or making memes, it can significantly cut down the time you spend precisely cutting out edges, but it’s by no means precise enough to use professionally.

Forget blur: How to cover faces and add emoji to photos

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The emoji in this picture are accurate representations of every picture of me until I was about 8. I didn't know how to smile for pictures and I did not care to learn.
The emoji in this picture are accurate representations of every picture of me until I was about 8. I didn't know how to smile for pictures and I did not care to learn.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac


There are lots of times when you might want to cover up faces before posting pictures: Teachers often want to censor the faces of their students. Boudoir photographers (Google it) can censor explicit portions of their photography for social media. Foster parents who are legally prohibited from posting identifying pictures of children in their home can quickly cover them up. Forget trying to blur faces — there’s an app that makes covering up faces dead easy: MaskerAid.

If you’ve ever wanted to hide a face before posting a picture, MaskerAid (a pun on “masquerade”) will quickly censor faces with emoji. Unlike apps like Snapchat, MaskerAid will preserve the full quality and resolution of your pictures.

MaskerAid is the latest app by independent podcaster and developer Casey Liss. You can download MaskerAid here on the App Store for iPhone (there is no Android version). The app is free to try out with your own pictures, but to use the full set of emoji, you must pay a one-time purchase of $2.99.

Apple and its latest acquisition will make AI music together

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StaffPad being used on iPad
Soon your iPhone can write music just for you.
Photo: David William Hearn


Apple reportedly bought AI Music, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to create songs in real time.

The technology will most likely be integrated into the Apple Photos application for creating background music for slideshows and video montages.

How to copy text from your photos using Live Text in iOS 15

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How to copy and paste from photos in iOS 15
Live Text works surprisingly awesomely in iOS 15.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac


iOS and iPadOS 15 introduce a brilliant new feature called Live Text, which not only identifies text in your photos, but also allows you to interact with it. You can use it for all kinds of things, like making a call, sending an email, or looking up directions to an address.

Here’s how to use the feature to copy and paste text from your images on iPhone and iPad.

Amazing Darkroom photo app now does video

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Darkroom, the amazing iOS photo-editing app, now edits video
Darkroom, the amazing iOS photo-editing app, now edits video
Photo: Darkroom


Darkroom, one of the best photo library and editing apps on iOS, is now also one of the best video library and editing apps on iOS. In today’s update, Darkroom adds support for editing your videos. Not cutting and chopping them up, like iMove, but changing how they look, as if you were applying filters and edits to a still photograph. And the along thing is, it’s instant, just as fast as editing a still image.

iOS 13.4 beta 2 brings more tweaks to Mail toolbar

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iCloud folder sharing is in iPadOS 13.4 and iOS 13.4
iCloud folder sharing finally arrives in iPadOS 13.4, and iOS 13.4 too.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac


Apple seeded the second beta build of iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4 to developers this morning bringing a bunch of bug fixes and some small new features to the iPhone and iPad.

Included among the changes are some more changes to the controversial toolbar in the Mail app. Apple also added some under-the-hood improvements and some changes to how location authorization works in apps.

Add rad text captions to your Instagram photos without an app

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Captions
I couldn’t find any good cat pictures in my photo library.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac


Do you want to overlay captions onto your Instagram photos? Of course you do. How else can express your inner poet, while simultaneously re-creating the worst of history’s inspirational posters? Where would humanity be without the “Hang in there, baby” cat poster? Doomed, that’s where.

Today we’re going to see how to add captions to any photo, without using an app. I won’t even force you to use a Siri Shortcut (although that’s a good option). And, of course, you don’t ever have to post the result to Instagram.

Take control of your family photos this Christmas

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headless Santa holiday photos
Ho ho ho!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac


This weekend, you’re “enjoying” some extended time with your family. After you’ve fixed their devices, and taught them that the battery of their iPhone lasts way longer if they don’t leave the damn screen on the whole time, you might decide to swap some photos. You may grab the your old childhood snaps off your mother’s iPad, or photos of the family recipe book off your father’s iPhone. There are a few ways to do this — slow, fast and faster, wired or wireless. Let’s see how to transfer photos between iPhones and iPads, and how to share the best holiday photos with everyone.

Instagram’s AI will now warn you before posting offensive captions

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Instagram lawsuit
Instagram is trying to make caption less toxic.
Photo: Pixabay


In an effort to combat online bullying, Instagram is rolling out a new feature today that warns users when their captions might be considered offensive.

The new feature gives users the chance to pause and reconsider their words before posting, but it doesn’t completely prevent people from posting inappropriate captions.

This is what you can expect to see:

Google will fix iPhone ‘bug’ that allows unlimited photo storage

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iPhone-11-Pro-camera
Google won't let original photos go free.
Photo: Apple


Google has confirmed it plans to fix a “bug” that gives iPhone owners unlimited high-resolution photo storage.

Some users believed the issue was actually a feature that could save Google “millions of dollars” in cloud storage. But Google has says it is unintended and it is working on a fix.

How to combine Live Photos into a shareable video

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live photo videos
Turn your Live Photos into videos.
Photo: Muhammad Haikal Sjukri/Unsplash


In iOS 13 and iPadOS, you can easily collect a bunch of Live Photos, and combine them into a single video. It’s great for sharing, or just making a cool remix of your clips. And this isn’t another one of those (awesome) posts where we use Shortcuts to do the dirty work. Making Live Photos videos is a new feature built into the Photos app.

Here’s how to use it.