When Apple announced iOS 16 back in June, it was the enhanced lock screen that hogged the headlines. iOS 16 finally landed last night, and while the customisable wallpapers and widgets are undeniably cool, it seems the internet is enthralled by an entirely different feature.
Catchily titled 'Lift subject from background', the new feature is already becoming known online as 'photo cutout'. It does exactly that – users can long-press on the subject of a photo, then copy it and paste it somewhere else. It almost looks like magic. (Hungry for more new iPhone features? Check out our guide to the newly announced iPhone 14.)
Keep the subject. Ditch the background. In iOS 16, you can touch and hold the subject of a photo to lift it from the background. Here’s how it works in photos, screenshots, and more. pic.twitter.com/v386xnat2ESeptember 12, 2022
It's curious that Apple didn't choose to make much of a song and dance about this feature. Hidden way down the iOS 16 feature list (opens in new tab), the cutout tool lets the user "lift the subject from an image or isolate the subject by removing the background. This works in Photos, Screenshot, Quick Look, Safari and more."
But just a few hours into iOS 16's life, it seems the feature is already blowing away social media users. "Image Cutout slaps. It has its limitations, but GOD it feels like magic," one user tweets (opens in new tab), while another adds, "photo cutout is hands-down the coolest new iPhone feature for years." And if you're a fan of cute animals on plain white backgrounds, users have been taking to Twitter in their droves to share freshly cut-out animals.
Wew, iOS 16 image cutout is crazy good 🤌Peek a cutout of a sheep from cameron highland pic.twitter.com/Usm7GZDI4bSeptember 12, 2022
iOS 16 image cutout from an image taken on my Canon R6. Impressive. pic.twitter.com/uUTDIfwm5aSeptember 13, 2022
New iOS 16 cutout feature is neat pic.twitter.com/k05SIurtR7September 12, 2022
And when you combine it with another viral iOS hack, things get truly magical. We've already been able to use gestures to copy and paste images between devices, but if your iPhone and iPad are logged into the same Apple account, you can now lift and drop the subject of a photo. The future is here.
So how do you use the feature? That's easy – all you need to do is open a photo and long-press on the subject, be it a person, animal or object. If the iPhone can detect the subject (and it's remarkable how often it can), you can then either copy it, or keep holding and lift to drag it directly onto another app.
If you haven't downloaded iOS 16 yet, head into your iPhone's Settings app and select Software Update. While users of the iPhone 7 and below are out of luck, the update is compatible with anything from the 8 onwards. For the best iOS experience available right here and now, check out today's best iPhone 14 Pro deals below.