FaceTime Live Photos Not Saving? 10 fixes to try

FaceTime Live Photos lets you save moments from FaceTime chats so you can relive them later. Live Photo is a cool feature on Apple iPhone and Mac that saves a few photos in sequence, allowing you to see some moments of motion.

Live Photos are useful for capturing things as they’re happening without worrying that you haven’t gotten the perfect shot. You can choose the best again later. Unfortunately, there seems to be a glitch that some users are experiencing where these Live Photos are not saving on the device as they should or are not even showing up in iCloud Photos. But you can fix these FaceTime Live Photos issues that annoy you.

1. Restart your Apple device

The simplest trick is often the one that solves the most problems. Restart your iOS device or Mac and try taking Live Photos again. If that fixes the problem, it doesn’t help explain what went wrong, but most of the time the little bugs are temporary.

2. Meet the version requirements

For FaceTime Live Photos to work, there are several requirements. One of the tricky things is that everyone in the conversation has to meet those requirements, otherwise you can’t take live photos. This is why the feature can sometimes work for you and other times it may not.

Devices must be on iOS 13. The feature was originally in iOS 11, but Apple’s support site no longer lists instructions for iOS 11 and iOS 12. Likewise, you need at least macOS Mojave if you’re using a Mac.

The option won’t be available if the other person is using a Mac, iPad, or iPhone that’s too old to run these versions.

3. FaceTime Live Photos must be enabled on both devices

All attendees must have FaceTime Live Photos enabled, or it won’t work for anyone. You may need to ask other attendees to verify that they have enabled it in their FaceTime settings.

On an iPhone:

  1. To open Settings.
  1. To select FaceTime.
  1. Toggle FaceTime Live Photos On.

On Mac:

  1. To open FaceTime.
  2. On Menu bar, select FaceTime > Preferences.
  1. Under Settings, check Allow live photo capture during video calls.

Remember to give these instructions to other people you want to FaceTime with!

4. Are You Taking FaceTime Live Photos The Right Way?

Before we look at other troubleshooting tips, let’s briefly review how to take FaceTime Live Photos in the first place. Feel free to skip this section, but it’s a good idea to make sure you’re doing this correctly before assuming something is wrong.

On an iPhone:

  1. Start the FaceTime call.
  2. In a one-to-one call, select the Shutter button.
  3. In a Group FaceTime call, first select the tile of the person you want to photograph, then tap the Full screen button. Once their tile fills the screen, tap the Shutter button.

On Mac:

  1. During a FaceTime call, select the FaceTime window or, in a group call, select the tile of the person you want to capture.
  2. Select the Take a picture button. If you have a Mac with a Touch Bar, you can also use the Take Photo button that appears there while FaceTime is the active application.

You should receive a notification that a Live Photo has been saved. Whether you’re on a Mac or iOS device, the photo should be saved in Photos.

5. Are they all in the right region?

For various reasons, Apple does not offer the FaceTime Live Photo feature in all regions of the world. This is according to their official support pages, but we couldn’t find a list of specific places where Live Photos are not allowed.

If the people on the call aren’t all in the same region, that might explain why you can’t take a Live Photo. Using a VPN to bypass this restriction might be possible, but we couldn’t test it.

6. Do you have enough storage space?

If you can’t find your Live Photos in Photos, your device might be out of storage space. Check if your iOS or macOS device has space available to save new photos.

On an iPhone or iPad:

  1. To open Settings.
  2. To select General.
  3. To select iPhone/iPad storage.

On Mac:

  1. Select the Apple button.
  2. Choose About This Mac.
  3. Choose Warehousing.

Here you will see how much free space is still available. If your device is full, move or delete data to make more space, then try taking a Live Photo again.

7. Update to the latest version of iOS or macOS

Live Photos was first introduced in iOS 11, but over time Apple has support for older versions of iOS. Following the Apple Support documents, there are no more instructions for iOS 11 and 12 related to Live Photos. So if you’re using a device that supports a newer version of iOS, you’ll need to update to the latest supported version.

Just go to Settings application > General > Software update and check if there is anything new to install. On macOS the path is Apple button > About This Mac > Software update.

8. Double check the live photo album folder

Live Photos are saved to your camera roll, but we’ve read of some users not seeing them immediately. Most people check their camera roll by recent date, and while it should show up there, you can also check the Live Photos album.

On an iOS device:

  1. To open Photos.
  2. To select Album.
  1. Under Media Types, select Live photos.

On Mac:

  1. To open Photos.
  2. In the left sidebar, search Album.
  3. Under Albums, expand Media types.
  1. To select Live photos.

If your photos aren’t here either, they definitely aren’t saved.

9. Turn iCloud on and off

Sometimes the problem is with iCloud, rather than anything with your local device. Try turning on iCloud for Photos on your device and signing in again.

On Mac:

  1. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID.
  1. To select iCloud from the left sidebar.
  1. Next to Photos, remove the checkmark.
  2. Now, put the check back on.

On an iPad or iPhone:

  1. To open Settings.
  2. To select your name.
  1. Choose iCloud
  1. To select Photos.
  1. Toggle Sync with this iPhone turned off, then on again.

If simply turning the option off and on doesn’t work, you can also try turning the option off and restarting your device before turning the option back on.

10. Turn FaceTime on and off

The ultimate culprit may be FaceTime itself, and some users are lucky enough to turn FaceTime off and on again.

On Mac:

  1. To open FaceTime.
  2. In the menu bar select FaceTime.
  3. To select Turn off FaceTime.
  1. Repeat the process and select Turn on FaceTime

On an iOS device:

  1. To open Settings.
  1. Scroll down to FaceTime and select it.
  1. Toggle FaceTime turned off and then on again.

As with the iCloud switching tip above, you may want to restart your Mac or iOS device before turning FaceTime back on.

Alternative way to capture FaceTime calls

Live Photos are useful when the feature works, but that’s not the only way to get a FaceTime call.

On a Mac, if all you want is a static photo, use Shift + Command + 3 to take a screenshot. You can also press Shift + Command + 5 and choose to do it record your screen. After that, edit the segment you want to keep. The main benefit of this alternative method is that it doesn’t rely on other people in the call to do anything special. On a Mac, both screenshots and screen recordings are saved to the desktop by default.

On an iPhone, you can take a screenshot by pressing the side button and the volume up button at the same time. You can record your screen by swiping down from the top right corner of your screen and selecting the screen record button in Control Center. Both photos and recordings are saved in the camera roll. Just remember that you have to manually end screen recordings the same way you start them.

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