How To: Take Live Photos of FaceTime Video Calls in iOS 11 (& Protect Yourself from Getting Recorded)

Take Live Photos of FaceTime Video Calls in iOS 11 (& Protect Yourself from Getting Recorded)

When you're taking a video in the Camera app on your iPhone, there's a little white shutter button in the corner that lets you take a still image while you're filming. Now, Apple is bringing that same concept over to the FaceTime app in iOS 11, so you can take Live Photos of your friends during video chats.

FaceTime, which was first released back in 2010, was an instant hit and very much still is. While being able to seamlessly see and talk to your friends and relatives is fantastic, it's always been difficult to capture and share moments with those not in the video call itself.

Sure, you could take a normal screenshot, but there's a delay between the time the power (aka sleep/wake) and home buttons are pressed and when the screenshot is taken. This means whoever you're FaceTiming could have stopped doing the memorable or embarrassing deed worth capturing. Plus, it's pretty easy to mess up a simple screenshot and close out of the app or lock your iPhone instead.

iOS 11 has finally fixed this issue, as there's now an on-screen button you can tap that instantly captures a Live Photo of your friend or family member's camera. Let's check out how to use it below.

Step 1: Make Sure Everyone Is on iOS 11

In order for this to work, both you and the person you are FaceTiming with will need to have iOS 11 installed. So, if you or they haven't updated yet, make sure it gets done. If you FaceTime with someone running iOS 10 or below, the capture button will be grayed out and unusable.

Step 2: Pick Your Victim & Give Them a Call

Start off by picking a friend that does silly or goofy things on FaceTime, then give them a call. Once in the video call, you'll see the white-and-bright capture button on the lower left-hand side. If you see it grayed out, they aren't using iOS 11 yet, and you'll have to wait until they update.

(1) Working on an iOS 11 user. (2) But grayed out when calling someone on iOS 10.

Step 3: Catch Them in the Act

Once your FaceTime video call is in motion, wait for whoever you're calling to do something worth sharing and hit the dot in a circle button on the bottom left-hand corner. Both you and they will see a brief toast message stating that a FaceTime Live Photo was taken, while only you will find a saved Live Photo within your Photos app.

The cool part about this is that it's almost as though you took the photo using the other person's front-facing camera. There's no call button in the Live Photo, no mute option, and best of all, your picture won't be in the top right-hand corner.

Rare recordings of our Managing Editor Justin Meyers taking a break from editing.

Looking Forward to Improvements from Apple

On the three phones we tested out the FaceTime Live Photos feature on, only one of them actually saved the Live Photos. The iPhone 7 worked perfectly, while the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 6 completely failed. But they have plenty of time to iron out these kinks before everyone gets iOS 11.

Also, FaceTime Live Photos don't record any audio, unlike regular Live Photos shot through the Camera app. So if you're trying to capture someone talking it just won't work out (believe me, we tried). Hopefully, Apple will add this ability in the future, but it's unlikely given laws in different states regarding recording phone conversations with unsuspecting participants.

And finally, as you've probably already noticed above in the screenshots, the "switch camera" button is no longer anywhere to be seen, since the capture button took its place. Well, it's not gone entirely, it's just hiding under your thumbnail image, and all you have to do is tap on it to switch to the rear camera. But it's currently buggy, and won't always show the rear feed in the thumbnail.

How to Protect Yourself from FaceTime Live Photos

There's an extremely simple way to prevent someone from taking a FaceTime Live Photo of you — just turn off the Live Photos option in the Settings app under FaceTime. This will allow you to take a Live Photo of someone else during FaceTime while preventing anyone from taking one of you.

Just remember that turning this off doesn't mean you're completely safe — regular screenshots can still be taken without you being alerted, just like previously.

Cover photo by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks
Screenshots and GIFs by Kevin M./Gadget Hacks

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