How to Fix iOS 16 Lift Subject From Background Not Working on iPhone

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The latest version of iOS, iOS 16, includes a new tool called Lift Subject from Background, which is a part of the Visual Look Up tools. This feature makes it effortless for users to remove the subject of a photo without using any editing tools. However, some iPhone users have reported issues with this feature. For instance, some users are unable to recognize an object in a picture or can’t copy or share it elsewhere. Fortunately, there are several solutions available if you encounter issues with the photo cutout feature. In this article, we will explore various methods to troubleshoot the Lift Subject From Background not working on iPhone.

Fix iOS 16 Lift Subject From Background Not Working on iPhone

There are various ways you can fix the photo cutout feature not working on your iPhone. Let’s take a closer look at all the possible solutions.

1. Make Sure Your iPhone Is Compatible

Lift Subject From Background is added with iOS 16. However, the feature does not work on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or iPhone X, even though they support iOS 16. Since this feature works with A12 bionic chipset devices or later, it is only available for devices running these chipsets.

Additionally, only a few iPhone apps support lifting the subject from the background, including Photos, Safari, Quick Look, Files and Messages. So make sure you are trying to use it in a supported app. Below is the list of all the iPhones that support the photo cutout feature.

  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max 
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max 
  • iPhone 12 Mini 
  • iPhone 12 
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max 
  • iPhone 13 Mini
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 Pro 
  • iPhone Pro Max 
  • iPhone 14 
  • iPhone 14 Plus 
  • iPhone 14 Pro 
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max 
  • iPhone SE 2 (2020)
  • iPhone SE 3 (2022) 

2. Update iPhone To The Latest Software Version 

Apple releases software upgrades regularly and fixes common bugs around iPhones. If you haven’t updated your iPhone to iOS 16 yet, you should do so right away.

1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.

2. Tap on General.

3. Under General go to Software Update. 

4. Download and install the iOS 16 update.

Software Update

Once done check if you can lift a subject from a photo.

3. Make Sure You Lift The Subject Correctly

You may not be following the correct steps to use the photo cutout feature. To lift the subject correctly, press and hold the area of the image that you want to use. Continue to hold the image until you see it glow white. There are also two ways to extract a part of an image.

First, continue to hold down on the part of the photo and drag it upwards or downwards. Keeping that part in one hand, use a finger from the other hand to open the app where you want to place the subject. Now, hold your finger over it and drag it to the second app.

Another way is when you press and hold the image, lift your finger once you see a white outline around that part. Now tap Copy and paste it into the app where you want to use the subject. Or, hit the Share button and send it to apps like Notes, Messages or elsewhere.

Copy or Share Lift Subject From Photo

4. Zoom In Picture

Your iPhone can only identify a subject if it is clearly visible. A picture containing a subject that is difficult to identify may not be able to use this feature. For instance, the Visual Look Up function won’t work on photos with their subjects zoomed out, too far in the background. It’s not a big deal, however.

We have devised a workaround for you. For a zoomed-in appearance, crop the picture using the editing tool on your iPhone or any third-party app. After editing it, try lifting the subject from the background and see if it works!

5. Try Lifting the Subject From Other Picture

To make sure that this feature is working on your iPhone, try lifting a subject from other pictures on your device. If it works with other images, you might have a problem with the primary photo that you were using. To clarify, here is the list of all supported video and image formats.


Videos Files: M4V, MP4, MOV, and AVI.

Image File Information

Swipe up on the photo, and you will be able to see the format in the Camera information section in the Photos app

Tip: When extracting an object or part of an image, you must make sure that the subject and background are different. It may be difficult for you to extract the subject if both the subject and background have the same colours or don’t differ.

6. Restart Your iPhone

If you’re having trouble extracting the image out of a photo to work on your iPhone, you may need to restart your phone. To do this, 

1. Press the power button until you see the power off slider.

2. Simply drag it to the right to switch off your phone.

3. Once your iPhone is turned off, wait for a few seconds and then turn it back on.

7. Disable Live Photo

You should turn off Live photos before you attempt to remove a subject from a photo. You can do this by opening any live photo in the Photos app and tapping the Live button in the top-left corner. Then, choose Off from the menu. 

Turn Off Live Photo

Now, try to lift the subject in that photo. In case it doesn’t work, try tapping the Off button again. It should work this time.

8. Reset All iPhone Settings

The last step you should try if you cannot fix the error on your iPhone is resetting the settings. Because of this, all settings, including notification settings, and permissions, will reset to the factory defaults. However, you will have to reset them again. By resetting settings, any setting that was preventing the photo cutout feature from working will be fixed. To reset settings on iPhone,

1. Launch the Settings app.

2. Go to General settings.

3. Scroll down and tap Transfer or Reset iPhone.

reset settings 1

4. Now, select Reset.

5. Now tap Reset All Settings from the options.

Check if you’re able to use the photo cutout feature.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you cut a face out on iPhone?

Yes, the new iOS 16 lift subject from the background feature lets you cut a face from a picture. This feature identifies subjects like a person, a pet, or a prominently featured object and lets you cut it out and isolate it.

Does iOS 15 support Lift Subjects from Photo Background?

Apple introduced lift subject from photo background as a new iOS 16 feature. It makes a great addition to iPhone Visual Look Up tools. You need to update your iPhone to iOS 16 to use this feature. 

Does iOS 16 background removal work on iPhone 8?

The feature works for iPhone XS, XS Max, iPhone XR, iPad Air, iPad Mini, 8th generation iPad and later. This feature is not supported by iOS 16 compatible iPhones: iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 8. 

Which apps support iOS 16 Photo Cutout?

Currently, a few iPhone apps support iOS 16 photo cutout, including Photos, Safari, Messages, Mail etc. In addition to that, you can also cut out a subject from a video, make stickers from it, and save them to your device as images.

Final Words

For optimal performance of the photo cutout feature on iOS 16, it’s important to ensure that there’s a clear distinction between the subject and background in the image you’re using. It’s also crucial to use high-quality images that enable clear identification of the subject. By following these steps, you’ll be able to successfully lift a subject in a photo. The Visual Look Up tools on iPhone are impressive, and we can look forward to even more exciting features in Apple’s upcoming iOS updates.

Mohamed SAKHRI

my name is Mohamed SAKHRI, and I am the creator and editor-in-chief of Easy Tech Tutorials. As a passionate technology enthusiast, I have been blogging for some time now, providing practical and helpful guides for various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and macOS, as well as Android tips and tricks. Additionally, I also write about WordPress. I am currently 35 years old.

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