How to scrub through the video of a Live Photo

Many users are unaware that their iPhone and iPad has a non-obvious feature that permits them to expand the photo scrubber into a handy video timeline when viewing a Live Photo.

Live Photo is a shooting mode that launched alongside the September 2015 iPhone 6s release. A Live Photo records what happens 1.5 seconds before and after you take a picture and is useful for those times when you’d like to capture a moment with movement and sound.

What I didn’t know—and I’ve discovered this the other day purely by accident—is that you can transform the scrubber in the Photos app into a Live Photos video timeline in a flash.

Here’s how.

How to scrub through the video of a Live Photo

1) Open the Photos app on your iOS device.

2) Open a desired Live Photo.

TIP: Every Live Photo you capture gets automatically stored in the built-in album in the Photos app, titled “Live Photos,” listed when you tap the Albums tab.

3) In the image thumbnail scrubber at the bottom of the Photos interface, tap once on the thumbnail of the Live Photo that you’re currently viewing.

You will notice that the Live Photo thumbnail has expanded into a handy video timeline.

You can now slide your finger horizontally across the video timeline to go back and forward one frame at a time. Let go and the timeline bounces back to the Live Photo’s key photo.

Being able to pause and scrub through the video of a Live Photo is very handy.

For starters, this lets you relive your Live Photos in an entirely different way than pressing the screen, which simply plays the Live Photos’ video once. The video timeline is also great for comparing two similar Live Photos on a frame by frame basis. And visually, it makes it very easy to see the segment of the Live Photo that its key frame was derived from.

WALLPAPERS: Live Photo Wallpapers for iPhone with Wally Papes

If you don’t like the still frame of your Live Photo, tap Edit, select the right frame using the thumbnail scrubber at the bottom, then tap Make Key Photo.

You can turn Live Photo mode on or off by tapping the yellow icon in the Camera app.

Live Photos is on by default. Some people are confused that closing the Camera app and re-opening it shows Live Photos back on. To disable Live Photos mode permanently, be sure that Live Photos is disabled in Settings → Camera → Preserve Setting.

Now when you turn Live Photo off in Camera, it’ll stay off until re-enabled manually.

Need help? Ask iDB!

If you like this how-to, pass it along to your support folks and leave a comment below.

Got stuck? Not sure how to do certain things on your Apple device? Let us know via and a future tutorial might provide a solution.

Submit your how-to suggestions via