How to Remove the Background From an Image With iOS 16


  • You can remove the background from almost any image on your iPhone if you have iOS 16 or later.
  • Tap and hold the subject of an image and then copy or share it. 
  • If you want to save the subject, insert it into a message and then save it.

For many years, if you wanted to remove the background of a photo to isolate the subject, you needed to meticulously edit the photo in an editing program like Photoshop, bringing photo editing skills to bear with a suite of selection tools. As a sign of just how smart and powerful smartphones have become, now you can do that automatically, with just a tap on your iPhone. If you have iOS 16 or later, it’s simple to remove the background from an image and paste it into another app.

How to remove the background from an image in the Photos App

To remove the background from an image on your iPhone, start by finding the image you want to edit. It can be almost anywhere — in the Photos app, an image texted to you in Messages, or even a web image in Safari. The process to remove the background in Safari is a little different, though, so see the next section for details on that. 

To be a good candidate for this photo editing task, there should be a fairly clear delineation between the subject and the background, and the background shouldn’t be too visually busy or similar to the subject. Your iPhone will do its best, though, and with some practice you’ll get a sense for the kinds of photos that work best.  

Tap and hold the subject. You’ll see a white shimmer around the subject, and then a popup asking you to Copy or Share. If that doesn’t happen, reposition your finger and try again. Sometimes you’ll need to try several times before you successfully remove the background. 

Removing the background from an image in the Photos app for iPhone.

Tap and hold the subject of a photo, and your iPhone will automatically separate it from the background.

Dave Johnson/Insider



Tap Copy or Share. If you tap Copy, you can go to another app and paste it. If you choose to share it, you’ll see all the usual Share options. 

An image that has been removed from the background on iPhone

When you paste the resulting image, you get the subject on its own against a blank background.

Dave Johnson/Insider



How to remove the background from an image in Safari

If you want to try this effect on an image in a webpage, tap and hold the image in Safari. Instead of the shimmer followed by a Copy and Share pop-up menu, you’ll see a pop-up menu with additional options. Choose Copy Subject and then you can paste it into another app. 

Removing the background from an image in Safari.

Choose Copy Subject to remove the background from a web image.

Dave Johnson/Insider



How to save an image you’ve removed from the background

Your iPhone doesn’t directly give you the option to save the subject you’ve punched out from a background, but you can do this pretty easily. After copying the subject to the iPhone’s clipboard, start the Messages app and paste the subject into a conversation and send it. Then tap and hold the sent image. In the pop-up menu, choose Save. The image will be saved to your Camera Roll. 

Saving an image from Messages for iPhone.

After pasting and sending an image in Messages, you can save it to your Camera Roll.

Dave Johnson/Insider





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