Learn how to build an iOS Siri Shortcut to create an animated GIF from a Live Photo. This can be tricky because you can't choose the image from a Share Sheet and you need to convert the Live Photo to a video first using Encode Media. But once you get all the pieces in place it is easy to set up the shortcut and have it ready to use. Then you can share a Live Photo as a GIF on social media.
So let's take a look at how to use Siri Shortcuts on iOS to create animated GIFs from live photos. Live photos are really cool and useful and you'd think how that would make the perfect animated GIF that can be posted to Facebook or something. But there is no export GIF functionality. However you can do that in Shortcuts. So the Shortcuts app, and if you don't have it of course download it from the iOS App Store, you can it seems easily create a new shortcut and have it go and make an animated GIF.
So let's search here in the functions for GIF and there is one called Make GIF. So let's drag that one over and we see we've got some settings here. So great. So now we've got that. How do we want the photo to get into this shortcut. You would think that the way to do that is to go to Settings and have it show in the Share Sheet. So you can go into Photos, say Share this Photo, and then choose the shortcut. However, it doesn't work unfortunately. Maybe it will one day in the future but right now if you try to share a live photo this way it sees it as a single photo and gives you an error saying you can't create an animated GIF from a single photo.
But, if you were to actually choose the live photo then it will actually see it correctly. Now it turns out that there is a shortcut for that. Get Latest Live Photos. If you say give me the latest one then it takes the last live photo you took and it puts it into this function. But that doesn't help if we don't want to use the latest one. What if we wanted to use, you know, one from sometime earlier. So one way we can do it is we can say choose several photos, like six live photos, and then say choose from a list. But it's better to be able to choose anything.
So we're going to go instead we'll do Photos and there's Select Photos. You'll be able to go and make a selection. This is a little dangerous because you can easily select a regular photo and not a live photo. But, you know, providing you select a live photo it's going to work. Now you would think this works, right? Take the live photo and make it a GIF. Well, it still doesn't work because it still doesn't use the live photo as a piece of video. It uses it as a single photo. So this is where you think well I'm at a dead end. I can't make this work.
However, there is way. There's something called Encode Media. We can put that in-between here. It basically says okay I'm going to take this photo that's coming in and I'm going to encode it and I'm going to basically make no changes at all. So it's going to be the same size, not audio only, it's going to be video, normal speed and all that. No changes to the metadata or anything like that. You can change stuff like that. But it will then see this live photo as a piece of video rather than a photo.
Now it makes a GIF. Now the great thing is that we can use Quicklook. I love the Quicklook action as a way to end a shortcut because it shows you the result and it gives you a little Share button. So instead of having to go and say, well this is going to share by Messages or share to Facebook, instead it's going to give you all the options you want including doing nothing with it.
So let's go and try this shortcut here. Press the Play button. It allows me to select a photo. Now you can go to the live photos. There I've got 409 live photos. I can do that. I have a smaller little subset here that I've created called Sample Live Photos. So this gives me three of them there. I will select one and it's going to bring that one in and then it's going to run the rest of the script there. Encode the media and after it encodes it it'll make the GIF and then it shows it to me. There you go. I've got a little animated GIF there. Now I have that Share button like I said so I can do all sorts of different things with it or nothing with it. I just hit Done.
Now there are a lot of cool options. Like, for instance, I can go in and say number of seconds per photo. I can change that. I can make it a much smoother one. So .05 rather than .2 there. I can play around with whether or not to Autosize or, you know, change it to a specific size if I want. So I could say I'll make it a much more horizontal video rather than something that's square if I wanted to. I can hit Done or let's test this out now with this new one it should be a much smoother animated GIF. Now you can see the result here. It's much smoother. Many more frames in there.
So this is really handy. It's a really nice thing to have. One of the cool things is that I'm not saying anywhere in here that it has to be a live photo. So I can actually choose a video and the video will actually work as well. So this is kind of a script that allows me to choose a video or a live photo and convert it to an animated GIF. In the Settings here I'll probably want to give this a name and then maybe choose where to show it.
So I can show it in the widget or I don't want to have this in the Share Sheet because it's not going to work there. Add it to Home Screen if I want. I can add this to Siri so I can actually give this an audio Siri command. I can also change the icon to make it something more appropriate, you know, to fit that. Now it's Done. I can see it there and I can just tap it and use it anytime I want to create a cool animated GIF and then Share it with, you know, any service that I want to share it with.
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