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How to lift a subject from the background in Photos in iOS 16

iOS 16 is here and it comes with a bunch of new features worth trying, one such feature lets you quickly cut out a subject from an image and share it elsewhere. Here’s how to give it a go.

This feature uses some AI wizardry that’s only available in more recent iPhones running iOS 16, but if your device is powered by the A12 Bionic chipset (or newer) then you should be ready to go.

What you’ll need: 

  • This feature works with any iPhone powered by an A12 Bionic chipset or newer and we used an iPhone 13 Pro Max

The Short Version 

  • Open Photos
  • Select the photo you want to use
  • Press and lightly hold on the subject you want to lift and cut out
  • Tap ‘Copy’ or ‘Share’
  • Paste it into another app or share it with friends

  1. Step
    1

  2. Open Photos
  3. First off, unlock your compatible iPhone, find the Photos app and open it. It’s the app with an icon that looks a bit like a colourful flower.Open Photos

  4. Step
    2

  5. Select the photo you want to use
  6. Now, you’ll want to find the photo you wish to cut out or remove a subject from. We’ve found this tends to work with snaps featuring strong subjects, either a person or a pet.Select the photo you want to use

  7. Step
    3

  8. Press and lightly hold on the subject you want to lift and cut out
  9. Once you’ve found the photo you wish to use, press and hold lightly on the subject until a thin white line runs around the subject. You can see an example of what it looks like below.Press and lightly hold on the subject you want to lift and cut out

  10. Step
    4

  11. Tap Copy or Share
  12. When the white line runs around the subject a pop-up will appear offering you the option to either Copy the image or Share it. If you copy it you’ll then be able to paste it into an app of choice, whereas clicking Share will let you send the image directly to an app like iMessage or WhatsApp.Tap 'Copy' or 'Share'

  13. Step
    5

  14. Paste it into another app or share it with friends
  15. For this example, we’ll click Share and then send it to an iMessage contact.Paste it into another app or share it with friends

Troubleshooting

What file size does the image save as?

The image will save as a .PNG file, so it’s easy to use in apps like Photoshop.

How accurate is the cutout?

We’ve had some instances where the cutout is great, while other times it’s not as successful. It struggles a little with wavy and messy hair and can often pull a bit of the background in before. Sadly, you can’t manually alter the cutout if you’re not happy with it.

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