iPhone Photo Bursts

A “photo burst”, on an iPhone or iPad, is a sequence of photos taken in rapid succession

Taking a burst of photos can improve your chances of getting a good picture in situations when things are moving quickly and you can’t go back and do it again if you miss it the first time.

The way that you take a burst of photos on an iPhone is simple in that all you have to do is keep your finger on the “shutter button” (the white circle in the Camera app) for a few seconds. The camera will then take a rapid sequence of pictures for as long as you press the button. Incidentally, you don’t have to press the “shutter button” to take pictures. Clicking on either the “volume up” or “volume down” button while the camera app is open will also take pictures.

If you now open the Photos app and go to the picture that is a “Burst”, you will see some text near the top left of the screen saying, for example, “Burst (22 photos)”. Note that if you tap on the image (so that all the surrounding text and icons disappear), this text also disappears and you can not tell that you are not looking at a normal, single, image. If this happens, just tap on the photo to bring the icons and options back.

When you are looking at a burst, there is a new option below the image that says “Select…” If you tap on this, you can then scroll (left to right and vice versa) through each separate image in the burst to see which one(s) you would like to keep as separate images. For some odd reason, the first image you see will be part way through the sequence so you have to scroll leftwards to get to the beginning. As you scroll through, just tap on each image to be kept and a tick will appear in the bottom righthand corner of each one. When finished selecting, click on “Done” (at top right).

The first time you select images from a particular burst, pressing “Done” will bring up the option to “Keep Everything” or “Keep Only 5 Favourites” (or however many you ticked). If you choose to “Keep Everything” then you will keep the “burst” (ie all the images in the burst presented as a single “burst image”) plus you will keep separate images of the ticked items in the burst. If you choose to keep only the favourites (ticked items) then the burst will be deleted. This is obviously good for saving space on your device, but the burst will now have gone to data heaven and can’t be accessed again.

If you want to revisit the burst and save further images from it, just display the burst in the photos app again, click on “Select” and choose further images to save separately. This time, however, when you click “Done” you will not be presented with the option to “Keep Everything”. This time the burst will be automatically saved and the images that you have just chosen will also be saved (as separate images).

Not re-presenting the option to “Keep Everything” is one thing that confused me when first looking at bursts. Another is that I expected the option “Keep Everything” to mean that each single image in the burst would be automatically saved as a separate image. That’s not what it means. Rather, it means “keep the burst plus any ticked images”. To keep each image in the burst separate from the burst, just select each image in the burst and click “Done”.

The illustration below shows every fourth image in a burst. No doubt, most people could have found a more interesting subject.



Having now got to grips with how “burst” works, all you need to do now is remember to use it in those few seconds that it would be useful!