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iOS 16 Lock Screen revamp has killed my favourite photos feature

Progress can often mean collateral damage is suffered along the way, and that appears to be the case with the iPhone Lock Screen on iOS 16.

Because, it appears, the ability to customise the Lock Screen (from the Lock Screen, no less) has killed the ability to place a Live Photo as the wallpaper.

For a few years now, iPhone users have been able to long press on the locked display to see a little gif-style video from a personal photo they’d set as the Lock Screen wallpaper; provided they had Live Photos enabled in the Camera app when capturing.

Now, long pressing on the Lock Screen only brings up the customisation interface that enables iPhone users to add those iOS 16 widgets, change fonts and customise photos with filters and more.

I’m pretty gutted about this, to be honest. I loved taking a quick look up from my laptop screen, randomly pressing on the lock screen to see my dog yawning cutely, or my wife and I enjoying a sunset together. It brought a little smile to the face of this lonely freelancer, and now it’s gone. It was just a little thing, but that’s part of what I love about Apple products. Those little touches, none of which are too small to bother with.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the new Lock Screen customisation options too. I wrote about that when Apple revealed the feature at WWDC this year. It was Apple finally giving users the power to create their own look when, for so long the company’s old guard had insisted what they thought looked best, was best.

However, how many times are people really going to customise the Lock Screen? 2-3 times playing with different photos and widgets before settling on a combo for regular time and do not disturb? Surely the customisation interface could go within the Wallpaper settings and I can have my Live Photo back?

Apple should be confident enough in this feature to know people will go looking for it, rather than it coming at the detriment of a popular visual feature. And how many times are people going to launch this by accident.

Dead Photos

I’ve done a little tinkering around within the operating system and can’t find a way to bring Live Photos back to the Lock Screen. So if you can, do let me know! After doing some digging online I’ve found this was also gone within the iOS 16 beta, so this isn’t exactly news, but it will be to those who excitedly downloaded iOS 16 when it launched to consumers on Monday September 12.

We’ve contacted Apple to see whether there’s a way back for Live Photos (and Live Wallpapers for that matter) on the Lock Screen.

Live Photos has been around since the iPhone 6S in 2018 and, when it works, it’s a little bit of serendipitous magic that captures a second or so of video before the still shot is captured. I still think it’s one of the best camera features Apple has come up with. Although I’d love a straight convert-to-GIF mode rather than the awkward ‘Save as Video’ option that can then be converted to a gif for sharing. I could forgive that if they’d just give me my Live Photos on the lock screen back!

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