How to Quickly Lift Subjects and Remove Background in Photos App on iOS and iPadOS 16

WWDC was packed this year. We got a glimpse of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura, and watchOS 9, all of which introduce many major features to the respective operating systems. And perhaps one of the most notable additions to stand out is the ability to lift subjects by removing backgrounds from photos and videos, even when not shot in Portrait mode. The process does not require any 3D mapping via a compatible camera system. That works. And as you’d expect from Apple, this feature works completely offline, thanks to on-device processing and machine learning. It is surprisingly very precise when it comes to smoothing the edges of subjects. It really amazes me every time I use it. And the most surprising element is that it works in place without prior indexing. There’s a very small learning curve here if you haven’t followed the keynote, so we’ll list the steps involved. Here’s how to raise topics and remove backgrounds on iOS and iPadOS 16.

How to remove backgrounds on iOS and iPadOS 16

  • Make sure your iDevice is running iOS or iPadOS 16 and has the A12 Bionic chip or faster processor.
  • Launch the Photos app.
  • Long press on a subject in a photo or video of your choice.
    • The subject can be a person or a pet, or a group of both in some combination, or even parts of them.

How to Lift Subjects from a Background in Photos on iOS and iPadOS 16

  • Copy and To share the buttons will appear, as an animated glowing edge rotates around the subject. You can either paste it into another app or share it directly through that last button.

How to Lift Subjects from a Background in Photos on iOS and iPadOS 16

  • To make the process easier, you can even just drag the subject away from the background without releasing it.

How to Lift Subjects from a Background in Photos on iOS and iPadOS 16

  • Then you can switch apps and drop it anywhere with photo format support.

If you need a little more visual assistance, you can see the feature in action in Apple’s keynote:


This new tool is really a great addition to iPhone and iPad. Many people might consider this a minor change. However, those who relied on third-party software to isolate subjects and change their backgrounds will appreciate how seamless Apple’s implementation is. It’s also worth noting that it works in Quick Look, Safari, and other apps.

Do you see yourself using this new background removal tool on iOS and iPadOS 16? Let us know in the comments section below.

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