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How to Remove the Background of a Photo in iOS16

Apple keeps updating its operating system, whether we like it or not. Many of the features I could often do without but iOS 16 has introduced one really useful feature which has to do with photo editing. Usually, when you have to remove backgrounds from photos, you need a specialised editing tool or software. But iOS now has a built-in tool to remove the background from a photo. It’s not perfect (yet), but can be very handy if you're looking for a quick way to remove an unwanted background from a photo.

It works differently than in specialised photo editing software. iOS actually lifts the photo’s subject out of the picture. You can then paste the photo’s subject into another app, such as iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc, and it will appear without the background.

This is how you do it:

First, go to the photo in the Photos app and long-press on the subject of the photo. When it starts to shimmer around the edges, a small menu will appear. Tap Copy.

Now go to the app you want to share the edited picture with. I tried it in Notes. Tap in the message box and select Paste. The app will ask for permission to paste from the Photos app. Naturally, tap Allow Paste.

The photo’s subject will now appear, minus the background. If the iPhone background is dark, you likely won’t notice any imperfections. But if you make the background white, you’ll notice a grey border around parts of the picture. So it doesn’t do a 100% perfect job, but it’s close enough.

Please note that (at the time of writing) you cannot make the edited picture into its own photo in the Photos app. The only thing you can do is paste it into something like Notes and then make a screenshot.

Easy does it. I hope this was useful. If you'd like to learn how to remove the background of images using PowerPoint, please click here to read the article.


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I am Marieke, a Dutch Australian interior designer, business executive, tutor, content creator and social media influencer.


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