Why is iOS 16's photo cutout feature not working? Here's what you need to know.

iOS 16 Has A Fun Photo Cutout Feature, But Here’s Why It Might Not Work

Which chip is your device rocking?

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ICYMI, Apple’s iOS 16 update comes with a seriously clutch Visual Look Up feature that lets you lift a subject from the background of an image to help give it the meme treatment. When the new update was released on Sept. 12, some iPhone users discovered they couldn’t join in on the photo cutout fun, because they were unable to remove subjects from photos. If you tried to use the feature for yourself and couldn’t, you might be wondering why iOS 16’s photo cutout feature is not working for you and your newly updated phone. Here’s the deal on why you might be having issues.

Apple has been teasing iOS 16, and the new features that come with it, since June 2022, so it’s no surprise the hype surrounding the update was extremely high leading up to its Sept. 12 release. Along with providing users that ability to edit and unsend texts in Messages, one of the most anticipated iOS 16 features was the new photo cutout feature that allows users to lift a subject from a photo and share it via Messages, AirDrop, Notes, Instagram, Twitter, and more. So when some users couldn’t get the tool to work even after successfully installing iOS 16, many Apple fans were left feeling confused and disappointed.

The worst part is, this isn’t something that turning your phone off and on again will fix (for most). If your phone is missing this key piece of hardware, you can kiss the easy photo-editing tool goodbye.

According to Apple’s iOS 16 informational guide, the photo cutout Visual Look Up function is only compatible with iPhones made with an A12 Bionic chip or later. When the A12 Bionic chip made its debut in 2018 with the iPhone XR, Apple referred to the hardware as “the smartest and most powerful chip in a smartphone” for its next generation Neural-Engine, immersive AR capabilities, all day battery life, and more. Ever since, the company has built faster and better chips, all the way up to the iPhone 14 Pro series’ A16 Bionic. While you don’t need the A16 for photo cutouts, you will need the A12, and there are three phones with iOS 16 that don’t have it.

Which iPhones Can’t Use The Photo Cutout Feature On iOS 16?

IYDK, iOS 16 is available for iPhone 8 and later, which includes the second- and third-gen iPhone SE. Because A12 Bionic wasn’t introduced until the iPhone XR, there are a few phones before the genesis of the A12 Bionic that aren’t compatible with the photo cutout tool:

  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone X

Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you own one of these phones, it looks like you won’t be using the tool to meme-ify your Camera Roll any time soon. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, now might be a good time to jump on the iPhone 14 trade-in deals going on at Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile or snap up a price-reduced iPhone 13.

iPhone users with an iPhone XR or later — which includes the XS, XS Max, SE 2, SE 3, and all iPhone 11, 12, 13, and 14 phones — should have the photo cutout capability. If you’re having issues and have one of these phones, double-check you downloaded iOS 16, and if all else fails, try exiting the Photos app completely or restarting your iPhone.


Once you achieve photo cutout success, you won’t want to stop playing with all your pictures. Seriously, your messages will be littered with stickers of your dog, in the best way, of course.