Everything new in the iOS 16 photo and camera apps

Almost all of Apple’s main built-in iPhone apps have been updated with new features in iOS 16, including both the Photos and Camera apps. ‌Photos‌ has quite a few new features, including the option to delete duplicates and some locked folders for sensitive photos, as well as the Camera app can translate text, and there are functional enhancements for iPhone 13 users.

This guide covers all what’s new in iOS 16 in the Camera and Photos apps. Many of these features are also available in iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura.


Locked hidden and recently deleted albums

In the iOS 16 ‘Photos’ app, the ‘Hidden’ and ‘Recently Deleted’ albums under Tools are locked with Face ID or Touch ID and cannot be opened without biometric authentication or a passcode.

photos locked albums ios 16

This protects the photos you’ve deleted or those you’ve marked as hidden. Someone with access to your unlocked phone will not be able to open these albums without further authentication.

There is no option not to lock these two albums as this is a system level lock that cannot be overwritten. However, it is still possible to hide the Hidden album.

Detecting duplicates

In ‌iOS 16‌, your ‌iPhone‌ will automatically detect the duplicate images you have in the ‌Pictures‌ app. Duplicate photos will appear in the “Duplicates” album in the Tools section of “Photos”, giving you the option to combine them to save space and reduce clutter.

ios 16 duplicates

The Duplicate album only appears when there are duplicate photos in your library and the merge feature is smart. It will keep the highest detail and the most metadata, creating the best image possible.

For example, if you have one high-resolution copy of a photo and a second copy that has more metadata, Photos will combine the best features of both photos into a single image.

After updating to iOS 16, your iPhone will constantly scan for duplicates, so duplicate images may appear over time and may not be available right after installing the update.

Copy and paste changes

If you have multiple photos that you want to edit in the same way, or if you’ve made edits to one photo that you want to duplicate on another photo, you can use the new copy-and-paste editing tools in iOS 16.

ios 16 photos copy paste edits

To use this option, edit the image then tap the three dots icon in the upper right corner. From there, tap on Copy Edits to copy whatever has been taken on the image. Open another photo, tap the three-dot icon again, and then select Paste Edits to get the exact same settings.

Undo and redo your edits

To streamline photo editing, ‌iOS 16‌ adds simple undo and redo buttons that were missing in earlier versions of iOS. You can use the Undo and Redo buttons to remove changes made to photos one at a time, instead of canceling all changes by completely restoring the image.

ios 16 photos undo redo

The undo and redo buttons are located at the top right corner of the image editing interface and will appear after you edit your photo with the built-in editing tools in the Photos app. You can undo and / or redo each change individually, which speeds up returning and correcting the error.

In previous versions of iOS, you had to manually change one of the edited parameters back to where you started, or roll back the changes entirely.

Sorting albums of people

In a small but significant change, Apple added the option to sort the dedicated People album by name in ‌iOS 16‌. You can open the People album and touch the two arrow keys to change the sort from “Custom Order” to “Name”. Selecting a name changes the order of people in the album alphabetically.

ios 16 people sort alphabetically

ICloud Shared Photo Library

‌IOS 16‌ adds iCloud Shared Photo Library, which is essentially identical to standard iCloud Photo Library, but can be shared with up to five other people.

Set up an icloud shared photo library

There are a lot of ins and outs worth knowing about with the ‌iCloud‌ Shared Photo Library, so we made it dedicated guide on iCloud Shared Photo Library contains everything you need to know about setting up and using the feature with family and friends.

Pick up the subject from the background

While it’s not a feature of the Photos app, picking a theme from the background is one of the funniest random additions to iOS 16 as it is a bit like a mini version of Photoshop. You can use it to extract an object from any image or photo.

To use it in the Photos app, open an image, then press and hold the photo’s main subject until it lights up. From there, you can drag it or select “copy” to copy it to the clipboard. You can paste it into another photo or send it as a sticker in Messages.

Memory updates

While the video is playing in memory, tap to restart the video and play it from the beginning while the music continues to play. There are also new types of memories for that day in history and the playing children.

‌IOS 16‌ adds a toggle that allows you to prevent featured ‌pictures‌ and memories from showing up for you, searching for ‌pictures‌ and widgets.

The ios 16 photos show featured content

The toggle can be found in the “Photos” section of the Settings app.


Blur the foreground in portraits

In portrait mode, you can blur objects in the foreground of the image for a more realistic depth-of-field effect. This feature is limited to iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max.

portrait mode ios blur 16

Translate the camera

System-wide translation has been extended to the Camera app in iOS 16, so the iPhone camera can be used to translate characters, menus, packaging, and more in real time.

ios 16 translates the camera

Just open the Camera app and point it at the text you want to translate. Tap the text select button to select the detected text, then tap the translation option for instant translation.

The view can be paused so that the translations are superimposed on the text, allowing you to zoom in for a closer look. It is similar to the Translate camera feature that the Google Translate app has long been offering, and is convenient when you just need a quick translation but don’t want to take a photo.

Improved quality in cinema mode

On ‌iPhone 13‌ models, the cinema mode video recording function is more accurate on ‌iOS 16‌. It has a better depth of field effect for profile angles and around the edges of hair and glasses.

Feedback in the guide

Have questions about the ‌Photos‌ and Camera app in ‌iOS 16‌, know a feature we missed, or want to provide feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

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