Live Photos Take Up Same Space as Two 12 MP Still Images


When it comes to the iPhone 6s’ camera, Apple highlights three major improvements, one of which is Live Photos. As explained by Phil Schiller during the keynote, Live Photos do take still photos, but also capture an additional 3 seconds before and after the photos were taken. Here is how Apple describes it.

live photos

A still photo captures an instant frozen in time. With Live Photos, you can turn those instants into unforgettable living memories. At the heart of a Live Photo is a beautiful 12?megapixel photo. But together with that photo are the moments just before and after it was taken, captured with movement and sound.

You can bring those moments to life anytime simply by pressing anywhere on the photo. You can even set your favorite Live Photo as your Lock screen wallpaper, so you can relive a moment any time you take your iPhone 6s out of your pocket. And you can view Live Photos on your other Apple devices, too.

Of course, this is the magical element that breathes life into the frozen moment captured by your iPhone and brings a new experience to how you relive memories. Actually, this isn’t new; there are apps in the App Store that provide a similar feature.

Otherwise, little is known about Live Photos. Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch, however, is there to fill some of the information gap. In a video released by TechCrunch, he explains that Live Photos take the same space as two 12 MP still photos. What’s interesting is the technique Apple uses to take the images: Your iPhone starts taking pictures the moment you launch the camera app and stores only the last one when you press the shutter button. Then the new system will select from the moments before and after you pressed the shutter and compress it into the new format.

[via MacRumors]


  • MrXax

    That’s very surprising. Assuming Live Photos are captured at 30 full-quality frames per second, I’d expect Live Photos take take 90 times the space (30 frames x 3 seconds).

  • Well, video compression would help reduce that to much less than 90 times the space (by only saving the information that changes between frames and not the entire frame), but I agree I’d expect it to be a lot more space than just double.

    That makes me wonder what resolution the video is saved at. I would bet it’s not a full 12MP. Probably not even 4K, for that amount of space. It also makes me wonder, if it’s taking photos the whole time as it says, if there would be the option to scrub back and forth and select a different main frame if your subject blinked or it wasn’t quite the perfect moment. You would think they would have mentioned this feature if it was a possibility, but I find it strange that it isn’t a possibility.

  • MrXax

    If the frames captured in Live Photo are of not full quality, that kind of makes the feature pointless in terms of helping capture the best frame within those 3 seconds. We’ll see.

  • Yeah. That would explain why they don’t have the select-your-frame-afterwards option. But the description above from TechCrunch seems to say that they are being captured in full quality. As you said, I guess we’ll wait and see.

  • Matt

    And yet they still release a 16 gb iPhone? Good luck to those buying that one….

  • andrez1

    Recording before and after I say to? Sounds like a potential privacy issue.

  • Albin

    It’s an interesting feature, but one would want to toggle it easily. The 3 seconds before an after my shots are normally moving around composing and obtaining focus, click, then lowering the phone to check the review. Nothing to preserve and treasure there. Planning a full 3 second video would take just that … planning.

  • randyritraj

    I wonder what this does to a company/product called Flixel (co-founded by someone I went to uni with).