iOS 16 is now official, and it packs a bunch of exciting features. Many of these features unlock the iPhone’s capabilities and enable you to do things you couldn’t do previously.

remove background from image on iphone

One of these features is what Apple calls “Lift subject from background.” As the name implies, this feature allows you to lift the subject from an image’s background—just like removing the background from an image.

Here’s what you need to know about this feature and the steps you need to follow to isolate subjects and remove backgrounds from photos on iPhone.

What Should You Know About the Lift Subject from Background Feature in iOS 16?

Apple’s integrated the Lift subject from background feature in iOS 16 into most parts of the operating system. As such, you can use it to remove the background from an image stored not just in the Photos app but also in other places and apps, like Messages, Files, and Safari, as well as many third-party apps.

For the feature to work properly—and to get a clean cut out of the subject—there should be some depth/contrast between the subject and the background.

As of writing this, we tried out the feature on a number of objects. To our surprise, it worked well on images with hands, animals, plants/leaves, buildings, and food, in them as subjects.

How to Remove Background from a Photo on iPhone

Apple’s made removing backgrounds from pictures on iPhone easier than ever with iOS 16. Since the Lift subject from background feature employs AI to detect and remove the subject in an image, the hardware and software handle most of the heavy lifting on your behalf, and all that’s left for you to do is perform a few simple steps.

Although you can isolate the subject from an image on most apps, we recommend saving the image whose background you want to remove to Photos. Not only does this simplify the process, but it also lets you remove background from images that are present on those apps where you can use the Lift subject from background feature.

Considering you have the image in Photos, here’s how to remove its background on iPhone:

  1. Launch the Photos app.
  2. Open the image whose background you want to remove (or whose subject you want to isolate from the background).

    opening a photo in photos app to remove its background

  3. Press and hold the subject you wish to isolate until you see the subject glow with a white outline around it.

    selecting subject to lift it from the background

  4. Now, you can use either of the following two methods to lift the subject from its background:
    i. Copy and Share: If you want to copy-paste the subject you just extracted onto another app, tap on Copy, open the other app, and paste it there. Alternatively, if you just want to share the subject with someone—like a sticker—tap Share to bring up the iOS share sheet and select either AirDrop or an app through which you want to send it across.

    copying and sharing isolated subject on iphoneii. Drag and Drop: Since Apple’s added support for drag-and-drop in iOS 15, you can also copy or share the isolated subject from a photo by simply dragging it out of the photo, using the multitasking gestures to open the app to save/share it, and dropping it there.

If you wish to remove the background from an image on any other app, like Messages, Notes, or some third-party iPhone app, you can do so using steps 3 and 4 listed above.

Sadly, though, Apple doesn’t allow you to create a new image out of the extracted subject. So if you wish to make any changes to it, you’ll need to paste the subject onto another app—ideally a note-taking app—and then take its screenshot or save it to Photos.

Remove the Background from a Photo on Your iPhone Without Any App

Being able to isolate subjects and remove backgrounds from photos is among one of the best Photos app features Apple’s added to iOS 16 this year. It’s quick, easy, and just as effective.

So, the next time you don’t like a photo’s background or wish to extract its subject, you can do so easily on your iPhone without any background removal tool or dedicated photo editing app.

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