Twitter rolls out Live Photo support on iOS, improved JPEG compression

13 Dec

Twitter has updated its platform with two new useful features for photographers: iOS Live Photos support and better JPEG quality. Both changes are live now.

Live Photos are a type of image that can be captured using an iPhone or iPad; in addition to the image, Live Photos include the 1.5 seconds of action that happened before and after the photo was snapped. In order to make it possible to share these images, Twitter is first converting them into GIFs.

To share a Live Photo, iPhone users must launch the Twitter mobile app and select the image from their Camera Roll. Once the Live Photo is selected, the user can tap the new ‘GIF’ option located in the bottom left corner of the image. This will result in Twitter converting and sharing the Live Photo as a GIF.

Converting Live Photos into GIFs has been the primary method used to share the video versions of these images. Lack of direct support on many platforms has forced many iPhone users to turn to apps like Lively. Twitter’s new support merely removes this time-consuming manual conversion process, enabling iPhone users to rapidly share their Live Photos with followers.

In addition to the new direct Live Photos to GIF conversion feature, Twitter is also now publishing JPEGs with their original encoding, according to company engineer Nolan O’Brien.This eliminates the transcoding and compression that obliterates image quality when viewed in full size. O’Brien notes that the thumbnail version of JPEGs will still be transcoded to cut down on file size and that only the bitmap encoding is preserved, not the metadata. As well, the new encoding preservation is only live for images uploaded using Twitter for Web.

Twitter for Web has supported 4096 x 4096 image uploads since last year, according to O’Brien, who details some upload scenarios in which the platform will still encode images:

Articles: Digital Photography Review (

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