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Apple debuts Live Photos API, allows for playback on most popular browsers

Apple has developed a JavaScript API for its Live Photos, allowing pictures taken with the iOS feature to be shared on the web.




The JavaScript API presents the player in a DOM element, which can be configured with photo and video resources. Playback is controlled either with a custom in-app interface or by provided UI elements.

Adoption is relatively simple, with web developers needing to embed LivePhotosKit JS in the webpage, and enable JavaScript strict mode. The Live Photo is passed to the browser as a single JPG and a MOV file.

The kit is compatible with Safari, Chrome, and Firefox on macOS. Windows users using Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Internet Explorer 11 can view the embedded live photos as well.



Live Photos were introduced with the iPhone 6s, and works with iOS 9 and newer. Apple's introduction of iOS 9.1 refined the capture algorithm somewhat.

A phone in Live Photo mode is essentially constant capturing images. When the shutter button is pressed, the camera saves the previous 1.5 seconds, and the follow-on 1.5 seconds. The iPhone then takes the series of photos and animates them into a mini-movie. The Live Photo is stored along with the original photo, but is compressed so it only takes between two and three times the size of one still.