| Cult of Mac

Make stickers from your own photos for fun group chats


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 stickers from your photos and send them in iMessage and Snapchat, right on your iPhone. Stickers that you make 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.

Last year brought the ability to copy and paste the subject from a picture. Now in iOS 17, it’s easy to collect them in a set of stickers. I’ll show you how it all works.

How to save your Live Photos as a video


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.