Almost all of Apple’s major built-in iPhone apps have been updated with new features in iOS 16, including the Photos and Camera apps. Photos has quite a few new features including the option to get rid of duplicates and some locked folders for sensitive photos, plus the camera app can translate text and there are functional improvements for iPhone 13 users.
This guide brings together what’s new in iOS 16 in both the Camera and Photos apps. Many of these features are also available in iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura.
Hidden and recently deleted albums are locked
In the iOS 16 Photos app, both “Hidden” and “Recently Deleted” albums are locked under Utilities with Face ID or Touch ID and can’t be opened without biometric authentication or a passcode.
This protects the photos you’ve deleted or those you’ve marked as hidden. Anyone with access to your unlocked phone will not be able to open these albums without further authentication.
There is no option to not lock these two albums because it is a system level lock that cannot be overwritten. However, there is still an option to hide the hidden album.
In iOS 16, your iPhone will automatically detect any duplicate photos you have in the Photos app. Duplicate photos will appear in a Duplicate album under Photos Utilities, giving you the opportunity to combine them to save space and reduce clutter.
The Duplicates album only appears if you have duplicates of photos in your library, and the merging feature is smart. It will retain the highest detail and most metadata, creating the best possible image.
For example, if you have one copy of a high-resolution photo and a second copy with more metadata, the Photos app will combine the best qualities from both photos into one photo.
After updating to iOS 16, your iPhone will constantly search for duplicates, so duplicate photos may appear over time and may not be available once the update is installed.
Copy and paste edits
If you have multiple photos that you want to edit in the same way, or if you make changes to one photo that you want to copy into another, you can use the new copy-and-paste editing tools in iOS 16.
To use the option, make adjustments to an image and then tap the three dots icon in the top right corner. From there, click on Copy Edits to copy everything that was done on the image. Open another image, click on the three dots icon again, and then choose the Paste Edits feature to get the exact same edits.
Undo and redo edits
To simplify photo editing, iOS 16 adds simple undo and redo buttons, a feature missing in previous versions of iOS. With the Undo and Redo buttons, you can remove the edits you’ve made to the photos one by one instead of having to undo all the edits by undoing the entire photo.
The undo and redo buttons are located in the upper right corner of the photo editing interface and will appear as soon as you make an edit to an image using the editing tools built into the Photos app. You can undo and/or redo each change individually, which makes going back and correcting a mistake faster.
In previous versions of iOS, you would need to manually change one of the parameters to where you started, or undo the changes entirely.
Sort people album
In a small but meaningful change, Apple has added an option to sort a personalized People album by name in iOS 16. You can open the People album and click the arrow keys to change the order from “Custom Order” to “Name”. Choosing a name rearranges the people in the album in alphabetical order.
iCloud Shared Photo Library
iOS 16 adds a shared iCloud Photo Library which is essentially the same as the standard iCloud Photo Library, but is shareable with up to five other people.
There are a lot of features and features to know with iCloud Shared Photo Library, so we’ve created a A Dedicated Guide to iCloud Shared Photo Library It tells you everything you need to know about setting up and using the feature with family and friends.
Remove the topic from the background
While it’s not strictly a feature of the Photos app, raising the subject from the background is one of the most fun random additions in iOS 16 because it’s a bit like a miniature version of Photoshop. You can use it to pull the theme from any photo or image.
To use it in the Photos app, open a photo and tap and hold the main topic of the photo until it lights up. From there, you can drag it or choose the “Copy” option to copy it to the clipboard. You can paste it into another photo or send it as a sticker in Messages.
When playing a video in memory, tap to replay the video and play it from the beginning while the music continues to play. There are also new memory types for this day in history and children’s toys.
Featured Content Toggle
iOS 16 adds a toggle that lets you prevent featured Photos and Memories from showing up in For You, Find Photos, and Widgets.
The toggle can be found in the Photos section of the Settings app.
Blur the foreground in portrait photos
When using Portrait mode, you can darken objects in the foreground of the image for a more realistic-looking depth of field effect. This feature is limited to iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max.
System-wide translation has expanded to the Camera app in iOS 16, allowing the iPhone camera to be used for instant translation of signs, menus, packaging, and more.
Just open the camera app and point it at the text you want to translate. Press the text selection button to select the detected text, then press the translation option to get an instant translation.
The view can be paused to get the translations superimposed on the text, allowing you to zoom in for a closer look. It’s similar to the Translate Camera feature that Google Translate introduced a long time ago, and it’s suitable when you just need a quick translation but don’t want to take a picture.
Improved cinematic quality
On iPhone 13 models, Cinema mode video recording is more accurate in iOS 16. It has a better depth of field effect for profile corners and around the edges of hair and glasses.
Do you have questions about Photos and Camera apps in iOS 16, know of a feature we left out, or want to give feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.