iPhone Hacks
Here's how to use iOS 16’s photo cutout feature for memes, outfit logs, and more.

How To Use iOS 16’s Photo Cutout Feature For Memes & Outfit Logs

No editing skills required.

Originally Published: 
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Apple’s iOS 16 update has been around since September 2022, and there are so many features to enjoy, like editing and unsending texts in Messages and personalizing your Lock screen with new font and color choices. One of the most exciting tools, though, is the subject lift feature that lets you basically cut out a subject from a photo and use it somewhere else. Part of Visual Look Up, the “lift subject” feature is perfect for creating memes, makes photo-editing a breeze, and can even help you archive all your best ‘fits. Here’s a rundown of all the ways you can use the photo cutout feature on iOS 16, so you can get the most out of the tool.

Sometimes a photo is so great not because of where it is, but because of who is in it, and Apple’s new “lift subject” feature lets you focus on the best part of the photo: the subject. The photo cutout feature, which is officially called “Lift subject from background” and made its debut in iOS 16 on Sept. 12, 2022, gives you so many ways to have fun with your photos. Plus, the feature also lets you send your cutouts via AirDrop, Messages, Mail, Instagram, Twitter, and more, which means you and your besties are about to be making some seriously hilarious memes for your group chats.

Once you know how to use the photo cutout feature, you’ll find plenty of ways to have fun with what basically look like stickers of you and all your fave people (and pets) you have photos of. And if memes aren’t really your thing, you can also use them to create mood boards, keep track of your best outfits, or transfer your favorite selfie onto an equally-fierce background.


You don’t need to be a photo-editing expert to use the new photo feature, but you will have to follow a few steps. Here’s what you need to know about how to lift a subject from the background of an image on an iPhone.

How To Use The Photo Cutout Feature On iOS 16

To lift a subject from the background of a photo, all you have to do is open the photo you’d like in apps like Photos, Screenshots, or Quick Look, then press and hold the subject you’d like to lift from the picture. Your phone will vibrate as it lifts the subject from the picture, and once it does, remove your finger from the screen. The subject will be outlined by an illuminated ring, and you’ll see a pop-up that says “Copy” or “Share.”

Copy & Paste A Photo Cutout On iOS 16

You can choose to copy the subject and paste it somewhere else like you would with text. Yup — Messages, IG DMs, Notes, emails, and more will accept your new sticker-like photo.

Share A Photo Cutout On iOS 16

You can also skip the hassle of copying and pasting manually, and send your cutout directly from your Photos app by lifting the subject in the picture from the background and selecting the Share button. From there, you’ll be given the choice to send your photo via Messages, AirDrop, Mail, Reminders, Notes, Snapchat, Twitter, Gmail, Slack, TikTok, Facebook, and more.

Not to mention, you can post your background-free image to your Instagram Grid or Story, or even send it in a DM thread. To do so, lift your subject off the picture, then tap Share and select the Instagram option. From there, you’ll be given the choice to post the cut-out on your Grid, Story, or send it as a DM.


How To Make A Meme On Instagram With The Photo Cutout Feature On iOS 16

If photo editing isn’t really your ~thing~, you’re probably wondering how you can turn your cut-out photo into the perfect meme without making it too complicated. Luckily, you can use an app you already have, aka Instagram, to take your meme skills to the next level by utilizing the Sticker feature on IG Stories. To do so:

  1. Open Instagram and navigate to your Story.
  2. Take a new photo, or upload the photo you’d like to use as the background of your image by scrolling up to access your Camera Roll.
  3. Leave the Instagram app, and find the photo of the subject you’d like to lift in your Camera Roll.
  4. Press and hold the subject, then tap the Copy button.
  5. Navigate back to the Instagram app, then select the “Allow Paste” option on the pop-up that says “Instagram would like to paste from ‘Photos.’ Do you want to allow this?”
  6. At the bottom left of the screen, the cut-out will appear as a Sticker option. Tap the “Add Sticker” button to paste the cutout of the subject.
  7. After you’ve placed the cutout on the photo where you’d like, tap the three dots icon on the top right side of the screen and select Save. Once the photo is saved, you’re free to send it in your group chat, add a caption, and use it for all your meme needs.

How To Make A Mood Board On Instagram With The Photo Cutout Feature On iOS 16

Pro tip: You can add as many cut-out Stickers to a Story as you’d like, so if you’re not the go-to meme creator of your friend group, you can also use the feature to create a mood board for any occasion. You can use the same steps as above and then share your curated board or save it for inspo at a later time.

How To Keep An Outfit Log With The Photo Cutout Feature On iOS 16

After iOS 16 debuted, TikToker @macaulay_flower shared that since he takes a picture of “pretty much every outfit” he wears, he uses the subject lift tool to keep a log of his best ‘fits. The creator takes his OOTDs in the mirror and copy and pastes every photo in the same Notes app Note so he can “easily reference them in the future,” which probably makes getting dressed in the morning so simple. Genius, right?


Use iOS 16 Photo Cutouts For Fun

You can also simply use the “lift subject” photo cutout to make sticker-like versions of the subjects in the photos just because. I mean, you can really never have enough cutouts of your dog being absolutely perfect or your SO smiling so wide.

Once you have the method to “lift subject from background” down, you’ll find plenty of ways to use the iOS 16 photo feature — and (hopefully) step up your photo-editing skills, too.

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