We said this a few months ago and we stand by it now: the new background removal and image cropping is the funnest thing to come out of iOS 16. Yes, Lock screen widgets and customizations are useful, but you probably won’t tinker with them every day.
For people who don’t know about this feature, iOS 16 allows you to “select” any object in a photo and save it as a separate transparent image — just like the Background Remover tool. The function is present in the system in different contexts, using Apple’s CoreML technology.
Now that the feature is widely available to users, they are using it in different ways.
One of the more interesting use cases is that of an iOS 16 user cataloging his daily outfits in the Notes app. As demonstrated in a video, user (@macaulay_flower on TikTok) uses the background removal feature to take a clip of herself every time she changes outfits and puts it into a note to catalog her different looks.
Inspired by this use case, a former Apple employee Matthew Cassinelli then automates the process via a Siri shortcut, which he shared on Twitter.
After installing this shortcut on your iPhone, you will see an “Outfit of the Day” option in the share sheet. You can then go to any outfit image, hit that button from the Share Sheet, and the clip will be saved to a note of the same name.
That’s not the only way users are exploring this new feature.
One of our favorite use cases for this feature is automatically cataloging images into different folders – like food, shopping, pets, or memes.
To that end we did our own fancy shortcut which removes the background from an image, then places it in a folder named Background Removed. You can use the “Remove Image Background” option on the share sheet to trigger it. It’s pretty basic, so you’ll need to manually create the folder first before using the shortcut. To create different categories, you can simply copy the shortcut and rename it.
The background removal feature is pretty great, but it only captures objects that are in the focal area of the photo – even if there are a few of them. Hopefully, Apple will introduce more advanced object separation and editing tools for creating collages in the Photos app in future versions of the feature.