How to Disable Taking Live Photos on iPhone

By default, modern iPhones capture small videos called Live Photos every time you take a picture with the Camera app. These Live Photos take up a lot of expensive storage space, and if you do not use them, they could be wasting your money.

Live Photo Header

RAYMOND OGLESBY @RaymondOglesby2
June 7, 2022

By default, modern iPhones capture small videos called Live Photos every time you take a picture with the Camera app. These Live Photos take up a lot of expensive storage space, and if you do not use them, they could be wasting your money. Let’s explore what you should do instead.

This is for the iPhone

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Storage Space is Expensive

If you regularly enjoy taking and sharing Live Photos, they are not a waste of space. Live Photos are a neat feature. But if you never use them, you are storing a lot of unnecessary data that could be costing you money.

Storage space comes at a premium in the Apple universe, with larger storage sizes on iPhones often costing hundreds of dollars more than the lower-end models. You pay more for larger iCloud storage as well which holds your iCloud Photo backups.

An Apple Live Photo captures three seconds of audio and video in addition to a still photo. Typically, a video takes up more space than a still photo because it incorporates many still photo frames and audio as well.

Taking test photos on an iPhone 13 we examined the Live Photo file sizes. The still photo part of a typical Live Photo was about 5 megabytes, and the video file was about 8 megabytes, totaling 13 megabytes for a complete Live Photo. Multiply that out by the thousands of photos people usually store on their devices, and the 8 MB of extra video data adds up quickly. If you take 1000 live photos at 13 megabytes each, that’s 13 gigabytes of space. If you take 1000 still photos instead (at 5 megabytes each), that would only take up 5 gigabytes of space. You have saved 8 gigabytes of wasted space by turning off Live Photos.

Disable Taking Live Photos

Apple makes it easy to disable Live Photos, but the process is still somewhat confusing.

First, open the Camera app and make sure you are in “Photo” mode (not “Video” or “Portrait,” for example).

Next, locate the Live Photo button on the toolbar, which looks like three concentric circles (one of which is a dotted circle). This will disable Live Photo for this session, and you can confirm it when you see the Live Off message and a slash through the Live Photo icon. Refer to the below image:

Live Photo 1
Live Photo is off

Now, this change is only temporary; for now. By default, the next time you re-launch the Camera app, the Live Photo feature will turn back on automatically. To make sure it stays off, you will need to toggle a switch in Settings.

Next, to make the necessary change, open the Settings app, which you can usually find on your Home screen. See the below image:

Live Photo 2
Accessing Settings

Now, In Settings, navigate to:

Camera > Preserve Settings

See the following image:

Live Photo 3
Accessing the Preserve Settings option

Next, scroll down and toggle the switch beside Live Photo to the OFF position. Refer to the below image:

Live Photo 4
Accessing the Live Photo option

This switch makes the Camera app preserve your Live Photo on or off setting between sessions. So if you turn it off and relaunch the Camera app later, Live Photo will still be off the next time.

(If you change your mind, you can still manually turn Live Photos to ON at any time by tapping the Live Photo icon on the toolbar in Camera.)

After a while of taking normal still photos, you will notice that they do not take up as much space as Live Photos, and that means you will have room for even more photos on your iPhone (and in your iCloud Drive). If you already have thousands of Live Photos stored, there’s no easy way to convert them all to still photos to save space. You can do the conversion process one at a time, however.

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Author: Raymond

I am Raymond Oglesby, an Information Technology (IT) specialist with 30 years in the field. I have taught Microsoft Applications and troubleshot computers in 15 countries and many States. My career was focused on mainframes and desktops from application development to implementation. I have written hundreds of programs for various architectures. I decided to start a blog to share my knowledge and experiences with you. I plan on updating this blog at least twice a week about smart phone apps to Windows. Please feel free to leave a Comment or Tweet. I would love to hear from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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