How to Make a New Key Photo in Live Photos

Apple's Live Photos, introduced in 2015, are photos that capture 1.5 seconds of video before and after you take a picture, with the aim of adding a little bit of life and movement to still images.


When you take a photo with an iPhone, not every shot comes out crisp and clear, but with Live Photos, if you get a blurry image, you can open it up and see if other frames you captured are clearer. If so, you can choose a new "key photo," aka the main photo that you see in your camera roll. Here's how:

  1. Open up the Photos app.

  2. Choose a Live Photo.

  3. Tap on "Edit" in the upper right hand corner of the display.

  4. Using the photo navigation bar at the bottom of the image, tap the thumbnails to browse through the frames captured for the Live Photo.

  5. If you find a better still, tap on "Make Key Photo" to select it.

  6. If you like your original still image best, tap "Cancel" to exit out of the editing interface.
Once you've selected a new frame and tapped on "Make Key Photo," the new still image selected from the photo will be the main image that you see in your camera roll and the image that's sent if you share the photo with someone else.

Selecting a key photo from a Live Photo is a feature that was introduced in iOS 11, so to edit your photos and choose a new main photo, you'll need an iOS device that's running iOS 11. You can also make these edits on a Mac running macOS High Sierra.

It's worth noting that choosing a new key photo from a Live Photo does change the resolution a bit and lowers the overall quality of the photo. On a standard iPhone X, for example, a regular shot is 4032 x 3024, but when changing the key photo, that drops to 3662 x 2744.



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22 months ago
Just a warning; this may seem obvious but a lot of people won't realize it.

If you choose a new key photo in a live photo, the new photo will essentially be a video frame grab rather than an actual photo. The resolution is a bit lower and the photo won't be as clear. This is even worse on older devices that can't do 4K video. Therefore it's only worth using this feature if the original photo is complete garbage and a frame from the live photo's video is much better.

The best way to take multiple photos of a moving subject and pick the best shot is to use burst mode, as this takes a full quality photo for each shot.
Rating: 3 Votes
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22 months ago

Oh, do people actually use the Live Photo’s settings?
I switch it off on every device/every software update.
If I want a video, I’ll use the video function.

It’s actually really cool to use. It’s great for kids for obvious reasons but also great because when you do the Memories videos and such it’ll use the video part and still. I never thought I would like Live Photo but I end up liking it a lot. Of course I turn off the high compression options and use mp4 instead of their hevc/heif.
Rating: 1 Votes
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22 months ago
Additional info on this:

1. Selecting a new key photo purges HDR data and can completely ruin a snapshot helped by the HDR setting. Haven’t found a fix, and would welcome hearing about one.

2. You can also do this in macOS/Photos but, as I found out recently, not under El Cap, which I’m still running. Need Sierra or better.
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