The New Stuff

Apple releases a bit of code to let you put Live Photos on your sites


Apple’s Live Photos are fun — they’ve definitely captured a few unexpected magical moments for me that standard stills would’ve missed. But for the most part, they live on your phone and stay within the confines of your apps. Seeing them floating around the web, especially on a desktop browser, has always been something of a rarity.

Tumblr kicked down that wall a bit last year by adding Live Photos to its web version and releasing a tool to let others do the same. When it came to an official Apple-approved method, however, there was nothing to be found.

That quietly changed this morning, with Apple updating its developer portal with a new tool they’re calling LivePhotosKit. It’s a JavaScript API built specifically to bring Live Photo playback support to your sites.

We can’t embed the Live Photos here just yet (or the way-better-than-GIF format WebM for that matter, hence the super-chunky GIF up top), but you can see a working example here.

It looks pretty slick in action, but Apple’s example mechanism for triggering playback here… doesn’t seem super intuitive.

Do I click? Do I hover over the image? It just started playing for a second when I was scrolling… is that the key?

Turns out, the trick is hovering your mouse cursor over the little “LIVE” box in the upper right. It’s easy to remember once you’ve figured it out, but for about 20 seconds I was convinced something was broken.

Apple’s documentation for the new API suggests that this should play friendly with most of the major browsers, mobile or otherwise.

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