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 a number of new features, including an option to delete duplicates and some locked folders for sensitive photos, plus the camera app can translate text and feature improvements for iPhone 13 users.
This guide rounds up all the new features in the Camera and Photos apps in iOS 16. 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, both the “Hidden” and “Recently Deleted” albums under Utilities are locked by Face ID or Touch ID and cannot be opened without biometric authentication or a passcode.
This protects photos that you have deleted or marked as hidden. People with access to your unlocked phone will not be able to open these albums without further authentication.
There is no option to not lock both albums as it is a system level lock that cannot be overridden. However, there is still an option to hide hidden albums.
In iOS 16, your iPhone will automatically detect any duplicate images you have in the Photos app. Duplicate photos will appear in the Duplicates album under Utilities in Photos, giving you the opportunity to merge them to save space and reduce clutter.
Duplicates albums only show up if you have copies of photos in your library, and the merging feature is smart. It will preserve the highest detail and the most metadata, creating the best image possible.
For example, if you have a copy of a high-resolution photo and a second copy with more metadata, the Photos application will combine the best quality of both photos into one image.
After updating to iOS 16, your iPhone will continuously scan for duplicate images, so duplicate images may appear over time and may not be available immediately when the update is installed.
Copy and paste editing
If you want to edit multiple photos 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 this option, edit the image and tap the three dots icon in the upper right corner. From there, click Copy Edit to copy everything you did to the image. Open another photo, tap the three-dot icon again, and select the Paste Edit feature to get the exact same adjustments.
Undo and redo edits
To simplify photo editing, iOS 16 adds simple undo and redo buttons, a feature missing from previous versions of iOS. Using the Undo and Redo buttons, you can delete edits made to photos one by one without having to undo all edits by fully reverting the image.
Undo and Redo buttons are located in the upper-right corner of the image editing interface and appear once you’ve edited a photo using the built-in editing tools in the Photos app. You can undo and/or redo each change individually, allowing you to go back faster and correct mistakes.
In earlier versions of iOS, you would need to manually change one of the edited parameters back to where you started, or revert the changes completely.
People Album Sort
In a small but meaningful change, Apple added an option in iOS 16 to sort dedicated people albums by name. You can open the People Album and tap the two arrow keys to change the sort from “Custom Order” to “Name”. Selecting a name rearranges the people in the album alphabetically.
iCloud Shared Photo Library
iOS 16 adds an iCloud Shared Photo Library, which is basically the same as the standard iCloud Photo Library, but can be shared with up to five other people.
iCloud Shared Photo Library has a lot of details to know, so we created a A dedicated guide to iCloud Shared Photo Library It tells you everything you need to know about setting up the feature and using it with family and friends.
Elevate the subject from the background
While not strictly a Photos app feature, boosting the theme from the background is one of the most interesting random additions in “iOS 16” because it’s kind of like a miniature version of Photoshop. You can use it to extract themes from any image or photo.
To use it in the Photos app, open an image, then long-press the main subject of the photo until it lights up. From there, you can drag it out or select 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 a video is playing in memory, tap to restart the video and start playing from the beginning, while the music continues to play. Playing with children on this day in history also has a new type of memory.
Featured content toggle
iOS 16 adds a toggle that lets you prevent Featured Photos and Memories from appearing in Recommended for You, Photos Search, and Widgets.
The toggle can be found in the Photos section of the Settings app.
Foreground blur in portrait photos
When using 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 the iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max.
System-wide translation has been extended to the Camera app in iOS 16, allowing the iPhone’s camera to be used to translate signs, menus, packaging, and more in real time.
Just open the camera app and point it at the text you want to translate. Tap the text selection button to select detected text, then tap the translation option for instant translation.
The view can be paused to overlay the translation over the text, allowing you to zoom in for a closer look. It’s similar to the translation camera feature that the Google Translate app has long offered, and it’s handy when you just need a quick translation but don’t want to take a photo.
Improve the quality of movie mode
On iPhone 13 models, Movie Mode video recording is more accurate in iOS 16. It has better depth-of-field effects for silhouette angles and the edges of hair and glasses.
Have questions about the Photos and Camera apps in iOS 16, know a feature we’re missing, or want to provide feedback on this guide? Email us here.