How to Convert a Live Photo to a Still Photo in iOS 9.3

With Apple’s recent update of iOS to version 9.3, they fixed one of my earlier complaints of the Photos app, which had to do with the complication of getting a still photo out of a Live Photo. Up to and including iOS 9.2, the task of converting a Live Photo into a still photo was doable but with a few points worth considering. However, now it’s as simple as can be. Here’s how you do it!

How to Convert a Live Photo to a Still Photo in iOS 9.3

With iOS 9.3, it’s easy to turn Live Photos into still photos. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Take your photo with the Live Photo function enabled. You can tell this is turned on when the icon for Live Photos (the circular one with concentric rings in the camera app) is yellow. If it’s white, it’s disabled.
  2. Check out your Live Photo in the Photos app. If you like the still frame of it that is displayed without activating the motion, then keep going because this is the still pic you’ll end up with.
  3. Tap on the Share button.
  4. Swipe over through the gray icons until you find the new Duplicate action. Tap it.
  5. You will be prompted to Duplicate, which gets you another Live Photo, or Duplicate as a Still Photo. Tap the second one.
  6. That’s all there is to it. Check out your duplicated photo to make sure it’s everything you’d hoped it would be!

From what I can tell, the process of converting a Live Photo to a still photo copies the time and date metadata, though it seems that location data is not available on the still copy.

Potentially of significant interest, if you are happy with the still photo that you obtained and you no longer wish to keep the Live Photo original, now you are free to delete it. Since the animated versions are larger files than the standard pics, this is a great way to reclaim some of your limited iCloud storage space.

Hopefully you can see that extracting the still frame from your Live Photos is now a super simple process. Comparatively, here’s how you’d do it before iOS 9.3, in iOS 9.2 or earlier.

How to Convert a Live Photo to a Still Photo in iOS 9.2 or Earlier

  1. Take your Live Photo.
  2. Check it out in the Photos app.
  3. You have a few options from here:
    • Tap to make the photo full screen, then press the Home button and power button at the same time to capture a screenshot. (Note that this will time stamp the still as the time of the screenshot, not as the original time of the Live Photo. Same story for location data.)
    • Tap the Edit button for the Live Photo to enter editing mode. From here, you can tap on the Live Photo indicator in the top left corner to disable the animation. Then tap to save the photo. Importantly, while this will give you the still image that you desire, the animation part of the original is still attached and stored in iCloud. If you later decide that you actually want your picture to move, you can undo these steps and reenable the animation. Point being, you are not reclaiming iCloud storage space simply by disabling the live component.
    • I’m sure there are third party apps that could extract the still frame from your original photo, but since I’ve never attempted this, I can’t really comment about it.

As you can see, the update to Photos in iOS 9.3 makes it easy to convert a Live Photo to a still photo!