Turn any movie into a Live Photo, and create your own live wallpaper or Watch face

15 October 2015, 00:39

One of the big new features of the iPhone 6S is Live Photos, of which Apple says:

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.

There’s no mystery as to how this works. A still image is combined with a movie file behind the scenes, and Redditor nemesit has created the Living Photos app, a way to make your own Live Photos from movie snippets (such as these snippets here) – or even from longer movie files.

Live Photos can be used as animated lock screen wallpaper on the iPhone 6S and as animated clock faces on the Apple Watch, provided you’ve upgraded to Watch OS 2.0.

Using the app is ultra-simple.

  1. Once it’s started, just drag and drop your movie clip onto the app’s interface. It’ll then generate two files – a movie file (with a MOV extension), and a JPG image file.
  2. Open the Photos app and drag BOTH OF THESE onto Photo’s window. The files will then be imported into your library, simultaneously combined into A SINGLE Live Photo.
  3. Wait for a few moments while the Live Photo you added is synced with your iPhone and Apple Watch via iCloud, just like any other photo you would add to Photos.


There’s a few limitations at present:

  • Your movie file has to be in MP4 format – if they’re in any other format use Smart Converter, free at the Mac App Store, to convert them into iPhone format;
  • You’ll need to have iCloud syncing activated for Photos to get the Live Photo onto your iPhone and Watch;
  • The app is currently a one week trial although nemesit says this is because of the feedback software he’s using – if your trial runs out, just return to the Reddit thread linked above and download the newer version of the app;
  • On the Apple Watch playback of the clip is limited to just a a second or so WITHOUT SOUND when the Watch wakes. Tap and hold the Watch face to continue playback after this. Notably, this limitation doesn’t apply to Photos on the Mac or iOS, where you can view the whole clip you import as a Live Photo, complete with sound – effectively, just like watching a movie file. Don’t forget that to view the Live Photo you have to tap and hold the screen.

As mentioned there’s no limitation on the size of the movie file you use, although Live Photo playback on the Watch is limited to just a few seconds. Don’t forget that you can use QuickTime Player to trim movie files, and it’s extremely easy to use.

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