How To: The 8 Best New Features in iOS 11's Photos App for iPhone

The 8 Best New Features in iOS 11's Photos App for iPhone

While you may not notice them at first, iOS 11 included some pretty significant improvements to the Photos app on your iPhone. These upgrades will help you make your Live Photos livelier, surprise you with photos you totally forgot about, keep your photos and videos organized, and more.

The new Photos app still has a long way to go before it will replace all of your third-party editing apps, but it's inching closer and closer with each new upgrade and feature, and iOS 11 is just the next step in that progress. Don't believe us? Just take a look at all of these great new Photos features below.

1. Live Photos Got a Major Update

When Apple released Live Photos in late-2015 (in iOS 9), there wasn't much you could do besides take a Live Photo. iOS 10 eventually added the ability to edit, crop, and add filters to Live Photos without breaking the animation, but it still wasn't enough in terms of editing capabilities. Well, iOS 11 has finally added more options.

Most importantly, Live Photos can now be edited to change the still thumbnail, the image you see before using 3D Touch to see and hear the animated portion — and the image that appears to non-Apple users. So if the default still image isn't very pleasing to look at, you're no longer stuck with it. Plus, you can trim Live Photos now, allowing you to hide the unsatisfactory sections from being shared.

Live Photos also has effects such as Bounce and Loop now, which turn Live Photos into GIF-like animations. Depending on the applied effect, your photo will either loop indefinitely or cycle back and forth. There's also a Long Exposure feature that combines all of the frames into one to simulate long exposure photography, where some aspects of the image are in focus while the moving subjects are blurred.

A Live Photo (left) gets turned into a Long Exposure (right). Images by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

We've taken an in-depth look into all of these new features in the article below, so be sure to check that out for more details and previews of everything we've found.

2. There Are More Kinds of Memories

Part of the iOS 11 upgrade is a machine learning platform integrated into almost every feature that makes iOS the user-friendly operating system it's loved for being. Within the Photos app, the Memories feature will be the first aspect improved by machine learning.

According to Apple, Memories will be able to scan your photo library with greater efficiency to identify events and people faster than ever, and includes new categories such as weddings, birthdays, pets, babies, outdoor activities, performances, and sporting events.

3. Memories Videos Get Optimized Portrait View

Okay, you could already rotate your screen to watch a Memories video in either landscape or portrait view, but the video itself would not be optimized for the new view. Now, in iOS 11, when you rotate the screen, the video will automatically be adjusted so that it is optimized for whatever angle you're watching at.

4. GIFs Are Finally Supported!

Yes, that's right — real GIF support. While you could always save GIFs to the Photos app on your iPhone from Giphy, Imgur, etc., they would not animate when you viewed them. Now they do. This also applies to the new Bounce and Loop effects for Live Photos — they will play endlessly when you view them.

5. GIFs & Live Photo Effects Get Their Own Album

Now that you can actually watch GIFs in action in the Photos app, along with the new Bounce and Loop effected Live Photos, there's a new folder called "Animated" for them all. GIFs, Bounces, and Loops will all show up here. This effectively reduces scrolling and searching time when you need to find a certain animated image to share.

6. The People Album Syncs Across Devices

This is a relatively minor change, especially if you only have one iPhone connected to your iCloud account, but it syncs now across all devices so it doesn't have to start from scratch on each device.

7. You Can Drag & Drop!

If you thought "Drag and Drop" was an iPad-only feature, you're wrong. Obviously, you can do more useful things with it on an iPad in general, but the iPhone still gets a little bit of that drag-and-drop love.

For instance, you can now drag and drop a photo in one of your albums in the My Albums section to another spot to rearrange the album's pics. Also, you can drag and drop any photo from any album, or multiple photos at once, into any of your albums you or a third-party created.

8. Portrait Mode & Normal Photos Take Up One Spot

Before, if you wanted to take use Portrait Mode to take a depth effect image, iOS 10 would save the normal photo as a separate file in your Photos app. Now, in iOS 11, the normal photo is saved behind the depth effect version, so you have less clutter in your Camera Roll album.

Stay Tuned for More on iOS 11

Since iOS 11 isn't set to be released to everyone until the fall, chances are that Apple isn't done adding features to Photos and upgrading existing ones. We'll keep this list updated with all of the changes we're able to find, so be sure to come back and check out what else has changed when a new beta is released.

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover image, screenshots, and GIFs by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

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