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Exporting a Live Photo from an iPhone as GIF in Photos for Mac

With Apple’s Live Photos built into iPhones 6S and above, millions of people have been sharing animated images to each other across the Messages app.

There is one thing to know though, not very many apps recognize Apple’s Live Photos format, making it a bit harder to share to other accounts and people.

These are cool little animated images that just bounce back and forth, like this old one of me and my dog, Syndra.

After we’re done exporting these out on the Mac, you can share the .gif to all your different social media accounts that you’d like.

Studies on media content have shown that animated images and videos attract more views than still images — which can be nice if you’re running a business. Otherwise, it’s just pretty neat to have something fun bounce back and forth.

So here’s what you need:

  1. A computer using the latest version of macOS Mojave, or at least High Sierra.
  2. The Apple Photos Library with a Live Photo taken from an iPhone 6S or above imported into it already.
  3. Social media accounts to share the finished product to (optional)

Steps to take!

  1. Open up Photos and find the Live Photo that you’d like to export as a gif.
    • You can filter out all the non-Live View images by navigating to Live Photos on the sidebar.
  2. Double click the photo so it takes up the whole window and then click Edit on the top right of the window — or just hit Return on the keyboard.
  3. Look toward the very bottom of the window to find a drop-down menu and click on it to reveal three extra options besides Live.
  4. Select the one of your choice:
    1. Loop just loops the live video
    2. Bounce just plays the video forward then backward on an indefinite loop, like in the above example.
    3. Long Exposure just blends all the frames over each other so you get to see a trail of movement — for example, kids turn into ghostlike figures when they move and run around. One of the best examples of a Long Exposure on an iPhone I have seen was taken with a mini tripod and an iPhone 7 of a waterfall.
  5. Click Done on the top right.
  6. On the Menu Bar, navigate to File -> Export -> Export GIF (which is normally grey’d out until you choose your type of Live Photo in the previous steps).
  7. Choose where to save it. I tend to use the Desktop for all my temporary files I’d share to social media.
  8. Publish on the social media account of your choice!

It’s been nice to know that there’s more purpose to those Live Photos than just watching them on the phone.


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