How to use Apple iOS 16 photo cutout to annoy friends and colleagues with memes

PHOTO: Hardware Zone

If you haven’t heard, Apple’s iOS 16 firmware has arrived ahead of the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro sales in Singapore. Apple has handily uploaded the list of new features on its website, but there’s one amazing new tool that’s not explicitly mentioned in its notes.

This feature doesn’t seem to have an official name. It’s peddled about by other blogs, YouTubers, and tech enthusiasts as “Photo Cutouts” or “Lift and Drop”. In essence, iOS 16 allows you to copy an isolated subject from your photos or videos, which you can then paste into your Notes, messaging apps, and more. 

It was designed to be practical and functional for professionals who need to quickly pull together images for note-taking, design, and presentation use. But most of you will just use it to troll your loved ones anyway.

So here’s a quick guide on how to be extra annoying with Photo Cutout / Lift and Drop in iOS 16. We recommend backing up your iPhone device and updating both the phone and your preferred apps to the latest versions before trying.

Step 1: Select your victim subject

Hold down a finger on your subject to Copy.
PHOTO: Hardware Zone

You start by selecting an Apple-made app. Images from Photos, Files, or the Safari browser all support this feature. For our example, we chose a very handsome, very moustached man from our Photos app.

Simply hold a finger down on the image, and you should see a pop-up menu with an option to “copy”. Do so. The feature also indicates how much of the subject is properly copied out. For videos, simply scrub to the frame you want, and hold your finger down to copy the subject out.

Note: For Safari, you first navigate to the image’s URL before holding down a finger on the image and selecting the option “Copy Subject” when the menu pops up.

Tip: The feature doesn't differentiate the types of subject you have. It selects everything in the foreground and ignores your background. Choose another photo if your first choice doesn’t give you a clean copy.

Step 2: Go to your preferred messaging app

Hold down a finger on your text bar to paste your copied image/subject.
PHOTO: Hardware Zone

For this example, we’ll use WhatsApp to accomplish our sacred task. Simply find your contact person, briefly hold down on your text box in the chat, and hit “Paste”.

As of publishing, the paste feature doesn’t work for direct messages in TikTok.

Tip: Pasting your subject works in almost all the messaging apps we’ve tried (Apple’s default Messages app, Google Chat, Signal, Telegram, Facebook Messager, Instagram DMs), but WhatsApp is the best for our specific purpose, which you’ll see in the next step.

Step 3: Add flavour text, hit Send

This step is pretty self-explanatory. You select the text editor (T symbol in the top right) to create and format your flavour text. So far, only WhatsApp allows you to add flavour text to your copied image before you hit send. The other messaging apps don’t quite let you, or have the same functionality as WhatsApp’s version of editing before sending.

PHOTO: Hardware Zone
PHOTO: Hardware Zone

Now that you’ve figured out how to use this new iOS 16 feature, you should go check out what other tools the new operating system has before you start abusing your newfound power.

This article was first published in HardwareZone.