Apple Live Photos - Consumer Awareness and Opinions
Live Photos was first released as a feature for iPhone 6s users in September 2015 with iOS 9. At the outset, it was not perceived as the most valuable addition to the iPhone Camera app, but has gained popularity as new phones and new Live Photos tools have been presented and address major concerns like capturing specific still photos and condensing file sizes. Parents, photographers, and social media marketers are currently the key users of the feature.
To identify these users and their concerns we referred to Apple help forums, articles relating to the use of the Live Photos feature, and questions and problems posed by the readers of such articles. In a piece published on Cult of Mac, it was reported that the overall reaction to the feature at its release was mixed, but that parents and professional photographers may find use for it. Others saw it as a “gimmick” that could not stand up to other apps and existing tools like Vine, Cinemagraphs, and GIF making.
In an Apple discussions thread dated in April 2017, more than 400 iPhone 6s users agreed that they were unsure why they could not use the feature and did not know how to adjust nor access it. Some users reported following the access instructions given by an Apple specialist and still found they were unable to take Live Photos.
Current users still appear to be struggling with some basic functions of the Live Photos feature, as evidenced by a discussion on a MacRumors forum in January 2018. The thread’s instigator claims to be unable to turn off Live Photos and keep it off. Other users within the same discussion seem to have no trouble adjusting the settings but say that they keep the feature off because it takes up too much of the memory on their devices or is not useful to them, and that they do not appreciate that the iPhone’s default for the Live Photos feature is set to “On.”
Photographers and those savvy in producing photo and video content for social media do seem to be interested in Live Photos and the potential it offers them as influencers and marketers. An October 2017 article on the popular site iPhone Photography School, gives those interested in sampling the feature a detailed step-by-step guide on how to take and edit a Live Photos item and depicts it as an exciting tool for capturing “an extra sensory element” to be presented alongside static images.
The questions and comments in the discussion below the article, however, do seem to point out some areas users are encountering problems and confusion. Several users were interested in knowing whether they could capture a still image within any part of the Live Photos and were dissatisfied that they were only seeing stills captured at the end of the video. Again many users expressed that they were unsure how to access or turn off Live Photos altogether, and still more were concerned with whether the feature would integrate with photo and video-editing apps they already used.
Within another Apple forum discussion from February 2018, it is acknowledged that Apple has addressed some of the previous concerns and introduced new tools like “Key Photo” with iOS 11. However, users again expressed their concern about the size of the files created by Live Photos and the overall quality of the content created. Several forum members discuss compression and resolution options of which the average consumer may not be aware.
The reception and use of the Live Photos feature seem to have had a slow start but is ultimately catching on. The main concerns with the feature appear to be file quality and file size, ease of access, and overall usefulness. As consumers upgrade to newer versions of the iPhone, Apple produces more accompanying tools, and more articles are written detailing the uses and options within the feature, Live Photos will continue to see an increase in use, especially among photographers and modern businesses using social media as their key marketing platforms.