How to Post Live Photos from iPhone as Animated GIFs on Twitter

Sharing your Live Photos among non-Apple device owners used to be hard. But now Twitter allows you to upload them to the social network as animated GIFs.

One of the biggest advances in mobile picture-taking in the past half-decade has been the introduction of Live Photos. Unfortunately, sharing these movable images with non-Apple device owners has been nearly impossible. Until now, that is. Twitter now makes it possible for iPhone or iPad device owners to share Live Photos on the social network. Here’s how it works.

What are Live Photos?

First introduced on the iPhone 6s in 2015, Live Photos allows you to take images that come alive when you touch them. The images use the 1.5 seconds before and after a picture are taken with a supported device, capturing both movement and sound. Best of all, you take a Live Photo just like you do a traditional photo.

Live Photos are available on the iPhone 6s or later, iPad (5th generation) or later, iPad Air (3rd generation), iPad mini (5th generation), iPad Pro (all models), and iPod touch (7th generation).

Taking a Live Photo

To take a Live Photo on your supported Apple device:

  1. Tap on the Camera app.
  2. Be sure that your Camera is set to photo mode and that Live Photos is turned on at the top of the camera.
  3. Tap the shutter button to take a photo.

Live Photos are on by default. To turn the feature off, tap on the Live Photos button at the top of the Camera app. You can change the default setting by going into the Settings app. From then, tap Camera > Preserve Settings.

Apple Live Photos

Looking at Live Photos on a Supported Device

Live Photos on Apple devices are noted through the Photos app. You can find them in one of two ways. In the Photos app:

  1. Click on the Photos tab in the Photos app.
  2. Tap on a picture, scroll back and forth to see additional photos.
  3. Live Photos are identified at the top left of the image.

An easier way to find Live Photos in the Photos app:

  1. Tap the Albums tab.
  2. Scroll down, tap Live Photos. All the Live Photos on your device are in this location.

Find Live Photos

To activate a Live Photo, firmly press the screen and hold. You’ll notice movement and sound when applicable.

Sharing Live Photos

To share Live Photos with other Apple device owners:

  1. Go into the Photos app.
  2. Tap on the photo you wish to share.
  3. To share the photo as a Live Photo, tap the Share button at the button left. If you want to share the Live Photo as a regular image (for example, to someone without an Apple device), tap Live in the upper-left corner, then the Share button.
  4. Choose how you want to share your photo. Sharing through Mail, the Live Photo is set as a still image.

To view a Live Photo, you receive from someone, firmly press and hold to see it come to life. If you’re using Messages on a Mac, double-click on the Live Photo to open it. The Live Photo plays through once. To play it again, click the Live button in the bottom-left corner of the photo.

What About Twitter?

New support means you can finally share Live Photos via Twitter. In doing so, the Live Photos are automatically converted to a universal animated GIF. To do so, you’ll need to use the Twitter app on your supported Apple device.

To share a Live Photo on Twitter:

  1. Choose the official Twitter app on your device.
  2. Start a tweet as you always would.
  3. Tap the photo icon.
  4. Select your Live Photo.
  5. Tap Add at the top right.
  6. Tap the GIF icon in the lower-left corner of the picture. By default, the GIF icon is deactivated.
  7. Finish drafting your tweet.
  8. Tap Tweet when finished.

Live Photos on Twitter

That’s it! The finished tweet displays the Live Photo as a GIF. The sound from the Live Photo doesn’t work through Twitter, however.

Changing Your Live Photos

There are a few ways you can edit your Live Photos, including the ability to add effects. All changes are made in the Photos app on your supported device.

To edit your Live Photos:

  1. Go into the Photos app.
  2. Tap on the photo you wish to edit.
  3. Choose Edit at the top right. You can edit Live Photos just as you would any other photo in the Photos app.
  4. Tap Done when you’re done with editing.

To add an effect to your Live Photo:

  1. Go into the Photos app.
  2. Tap on the photo you wish to add an effect.
  3. Swipe up until you see Effects.
  4. Choose Loop, Bounce, or Long Exposure.

Your chosen effect is noted at the top left of the image; firmly press and hold to see it come to life. In the following example, the Bounce effect is added:

Live Photos bounce

To change the key image of a Live Photo:

Live Photos are little more than a three-second video that is only active when firmly pressed. Otherwise, the image looks static like a regular image. You can change that key photo:

  1. Go into the Photos app.
  2. Tap on the photo you wish to change the key photo.
  3. Select Edit.
  4. Move the slider to change the frame.
  5. Release your finger, then tap Make Key Photo.
  6. Choose Done.

Live Photos change key image

Until recently, Live Photos were only shareable among Apple device owners. Now, however, you can share these images as GIFs through Twitter. The change is an important step and should make Live Photos more popular.

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