In iOS 16, Apple has enhanced its Visual Look Up capability for photos by making it possible to isolate the subject of a picture from its background so that you can copy it to the clipboard for use elsewhere or share it in another app.


Apple says the feature relies on advanced machine learning, and in our time experimenting with it in ‌iOS 16‌, its ability to recognize subjects in photos is pretty impressive.

Indeed, its ease of use is likely to make performing painstaking subject isolation actions in image editing apps a thing of the past. Here's how it works.

  1. Launch Photos and select an image from your library containing a well-defined subject.
  2. Press and hold on the subject until it ripples and a white glow flows around its outline.
  3. In the popup menu that appears, tap Copy to send the isolated subject to the clipboard for pasting elsewhere, or tap Share... to access the standard sharing options in the Action menu and send it on its way.
    photos

  4. Alternatively, press and hold the subject to lift it from the background. Now, without taking your finger off the screen, use another finger to exit the ‌Photos‌ app and launch Messages, Mail, Notes, or another app that accepts images.
  5. Now drag and let go of the subject to place it where you want in the input field.
    photos

That's all there is to it. You can even use it in paused frames in videos. The feature works not just in ‌Photos‌, but also in screenshots and the Quick Look feature in the Files app.

As mentioned, the feature uses advanced machine learning and image analysis, therefore it is only available on phones with the A12 Bionic or newer chip. The A12 Bionic processor debuted in 2018 in the iPhone XS, ‌iPhone‌ XS Max, and the ‌iPhone‌ XR, so you need to be using one of these iPhones or a later model for it to work. ‌iOS 16‌ is expected to be released in the fall.

Related Roundups: iOS 16, iPadOS 16
Related Forum: iOS 16

Top Rated Comments

MrGimper Avatar
25 weeks ago

That looks cool. I assumed it would only work on portrait photos as it has information on where the subject is. But this is an entirely different league.
Nope, I’ve used it already to extract people from pictures I just downloaded off the web. It’s very good.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bradman83 Avatar
25 weeks ago
This is going to seriously improve my ability to add additional cats to memes (because memes can never have enough cats in them).
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NightFox Avatar
25 weeks ago

Seems useless, don't get the hype around this
If you haven't wasted days of your life trying to cut out people or objects in PhotoShop, then you never will truly understand the hype.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hagar Avatar
25 weeks ago
That looks cool. I assumed it would only work on portrait photos as it has information on where the subject is. But this is an entirely different league. Nice!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PsykX Avatar
25 weeks ago
Now this is next level.

And to say I baffled someone last week by demonstrating this feature in Pixelmator Pro. This will seriously improve my workflow.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lllusion Avatar
10 weeks ago
I found a way, on an iPhone, to 'paste' a clipped subject into an existing photo! Pixelmator ('https://apps.apple.com/se/app/pixelmator/id924695435?l=en'). Just like with Photoshop or Pixelmator Pro on macOS, the user opens the bottom layer photo then adds another image as a layer, i.e. the previously clipped and saved subject. What's really cool is that, just like with full-fledged image editors, 'effects', i.e. focus blur, can be applied per layer.


Attachment Image
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

iOS 16 Safari Guide Feature

iOS 16: How to Lift Subjects From Images on the Web

Wednesday August 17, 2022 9:14 am PDT by
In iOS 16, Apple has made it possible to isolate the subject of a picture from its background so that you can copy it to the clipboard for use elsewhere. This feature also works for images on the web. Keep reading to learn how it works. With iOS 16, Apple has enhanced its Visual Look Up capability for photos to such an extent you can now drag subjects right out of images, and it works not...
iOS 16 Photos and Camera Guide Feature

iOS 16: How to Copy and Paste Edits to Photos

Friday September 9, 2022 4:38 pm PDT by
In iOS 16, Apple has brought some notable improvements to the Photos app, one of which is the ability to copy edits you make to an image and then paste them to other pictures. Keep reading to learn how it's done. If you have multiple photos that you want to edit in the same way, or if you've made changes to one photo that you want to replicate in another photo, you can use the new copy and...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

How to Copy and Delete Screenshots on iPhone and iPad

Tuesday October 4, 2022 1:11 pm PDT by
In iOS 16, Apple has added a new "Copy and Delete" option to the screenshot interface on iPhone. This article explains what it's for and how to use it. Whenever you take a screenshot on your iPhone and tap on the preview thumbnail that appears in the corner of the screen, iOS brings up an image editing interface that lets you easily highlight, draw on, and crop the image before saving it or...
iphone 12 pro cinematic mode

iPhone 14: How to Enable 4K Cinematic Mode

Monday September 19, 2022 3:23 pm PDT by
For iPhone 14 models, Apple expanded resolution options when shooting in Cinematic Mode. This article explains what Cinematic Mode is and how to enable the new higher 4K resolution settings. Cinematic Mode utilizes Dolby Vision HDR and a technique called "rack focus" to seamlessly shift the focus from one subject to another when you're shooting video. It does this by locking the focus on the ...
photos visual lookup

How to Identify Plants and Flowers Using Your iPhone Camera

Monday August 15, 2022 4:30 pm PDT by
If you are looking for an easy way to identify the species of plants and flowers that doesn't involve reaching for a taxonomy book, then try your iPhone. You don't even need to purchase an app, because in iOS 15 and later, Apple's software includes a feature called Visual Lookup that will do just what you need. Since iOS 15, Apple has made advances in its on-device machine learning and...
iOS 16 Photos and Camera Guide Feature

iOS 16: How to Find, Merge, and Delete Duplicates in Your Photo Library

Friday September 9, 2022 4:16 pm PDT by
In previous versions of iOS, relying on your iPhone to automatically track down duplicate photos in your Photo Library wasn't an option, and if you wanted to purge your device's storage of duplicates you had to download a third-party app to do it for you. In iOS 16, however, that's no longer the case, because the Photos app will now automatically detect any duplicates in your library and...
ios 16 live text

How to Copy and Translate Text That Appears in Videos on Your iPhone

Wednesday September 14, 2022 3:12 pm PDT by
In iOS 16, Apple has expanded the reach of its Live Text feature, which can recognize text in not just photos, but also videos now, too. Keep reading to learn how to use it. In iOS 15, Apple introduced a feature called Live Text that can recognize text when it appears in your camera's viewfinder or in a photo you've taken and let you perform several actions with it. In iOS 16, this ability...
record video button

How to Record Video With Background Music on iPhone

Thursday November 24, 2022 8:18 am PST by
This article explains how to record a video on iPhone while playing music from any app. Keep reading to learn how it works. Have you noticed that any music playing on your iPhone is automatically stopped as soon as you select Video mode inside the Camera app? In most situations this is a neat convenience, but what if you want to shoot video and include that music in the recording?...

Popular Stories

General Black Friday Deals 2022 Green

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Still Get

Friday November 25, 2022 4:40 am PST by
Although Black Friday is now technically over, many Apple products are still seeing major discounts through the weekend as we head into Cyber Monday. In this article, you'll find every Apple device with a notable Black Friday sale that's still available. We'll be updating as prices change and new deals arrive, so be sure to keep an eye out if you don't see the sale you're looking for yet. Note:...
iphone 14 pro hands snowflakes 1

Best Cyber Monday iPhone Deals Available Today

Wednesday November 23, 2022 1:55 pm PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Cyber Monday is no different. We're tracking notable offers on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like the iPhone 13. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
maxresdefault

Nothing Phone 1 Displays AirPods Battery Level After Latest OS Update

Friday November 25, 2022 3:33 am PST by
Nothing Phone 1 users today began receiving the Nothing OS 1.1.7 update, which adds support for displaying the battery percentage of connected AirPods, amongst other improvements and bug fixes. If you own a Nothing Phone 1, you can check for the OTA update by going to Settings -> System -> System updates. Bear in mind that as support for displaying AirPods battery level is still an...
ipad holiday bulbs

Best Cyber Monday iPad Deals Available Today

Thursday November 24, 2022 12:25 pm PST by
Cyber Monday deals have been in full swing since Black Friday deals ended, and we're seeing solid discounts on Apple devices. We're highlighting the best sales for all of Apple's product lines, and in this article you'll find the best Cyber Monday sales on iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make ...
airpods pro 2

Apple Engineer Addresses Lack of Lossless Support on New AirPods Pro

Friday November 25, 2022 2:58 am PST by
An Apple engineer has addressed the lack of lossless audio support in the second-generation AirPods Pro in a new interview. Current Bluetooth technology in the AirPods lineup means that Apple's audio products do not support Apple Music Lossless audio. Apple has previously hinted that it may develop its own codec and connectivity standard that builds on AirPlay and supports higher quality...
Cyber Monday Deals Feature 2022

Best Cyber Monday Apple Deals Still Available for AirPods, Apple TV, iPad, and More

Monday November 28, 2022 5:24 am PST by
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping rush is drawing to a close, but there are still some good deals to be had out there. For Apple products, many of the deals you've seen since last week are still available, though some have expired. So for anyone who missed out on Black Friday deals, there's still an opportunity to get some of the year's best prices on many Apple devices. Note: ...
Apple Watch Ultra Oceanic Plus App

Apple Announces Oceanic+ App Now Available for Apple Watch Ultra

Monday November 28, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today announced that the Oceanic+ app is available for the Apple Watch Ultra starting today. Designed by Huish Outdoors in collaboration with Apple, the app serves as a dive computer for recreational scuba diving at depths up to 40 meters/130 feet. Apple already offers a basic Depth app on the Apple Watch Ultra for viewing your current depth, maximum depth reached, water temperature,...
Three Biggest iPhone SE 4 Questions Feature

Three Biggest Questions About the iPhone SE 4

Saturday November 26, 2022 12:00 am PST by
While we already have some clear indications about what to expect from the fourth-generation iPhone SE, there are three major questions looming over the device at the current time. Chinese site MyDrivers and and leaker Jon Prosser believe that the iPhone SE is set to move to an iPhone XR-like design in its next incarnation, which would involve eliminating the Home button and adding a "notch" ...