Media & Entertainment

“Lean” Lets You Clean Up Unwanted Live Photos To Free Up Space On Your New iPhone


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A recently launched app called Lean will help iPhone 6s and 6s Plus owners clean up their photo library and reclaim the storage space taken up by Live Photos, the new photo feature introduced on Apple’s latest iPhones. The feature, enabled by default on the iPhone’s camera, lets you shoot static images that turn into GIF-like animations when you press down on the photo in your Camera Roll. But there’s one drawback with this nifty addition: Live Photos take up more storage space on your device. In fact, they take up approximately twice the space of a normal 12 megapixel photo, TechCrunch previously reported.

That means that each time you snap a Live Photo, the motion picture takes up the space of two standard photos.

For those who opted for the larger storage models of the iPhone, that’s not a big deal, of course. But since the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus still come in the ridiculously small 16 GB capacity version, the Live Photos feature could quickly eat away at your available storage.

And that could prompt some users to disable the feature for most of their photos, only turning it on manually, at select times.

But with Lean, the idea is to take as many Live Photos and you want, then clean up your photo gallery after the fact.

The new app itself is easy to use: it simply offers you a gallery of your Live Photos; you then tap on those you want to clean up, confirm your selection, and you’re done.

Lean was developed by Jason Dinh and Louis Nguyen of Tiny Whale, a company they founded in 2012. The team has put out a number of other clever apps, including the Instagram viewer Retro, and another, more recent, app for Live Photos users called Lively that turns the animated photos into GIFs and videos you can share more broadly. (Currently, Live Photos can only be shared among other Apple users – not on social networks like Facebook, or with others outside of Apple’s ecosystem.)

“Lean was an idea we had when doing Lively, and since it’s very simple, we do not intend to make money with Lean,” explains Dinh. “We have a little icon on the top left corner to promote Lively and that’s all,” he adds.

Lively is one of the company’s money-making apps, as it’s a free download with a $1.99 in-app purchase option to unlock unlimited exports. Lean could potentially funnel more users its way, as it targets only those who are looking to take better advantage of Live Photos on their iPhone.

In addition to monetizing Lively, the co-founders make money doing contract work on the side while they develop apps as indie developers. The hope is to, one day, stop taking on outside projects, says Dinh.

Dinh also notes that uses Lean to turn Live Photos back into static images is better than using Apple’s own software to edit a photo. That’s because when you edit a photo in Apple, it’s still reversible – so even though the photo is marked as “non-Live” in the Photos app, it doesn’t remove anything. Lean, however, makes a copy of the photo and metadata, then deletes the larger, original one.

Even if storage space is not a concern, not everyone has wanted to have Live Photos on all the time – some images just aren’t deserving of the fancy animation.

For example, even though I have a larger capacity iPhone 6s, I turned Live Photos off, as I often use my phone for mundane tasks, like snapping photos of paperwork and receipts from stores, instead of keeping paper copies. Or I snap a bunch of photos of kids in motion, hoping for one good shot from a dozen. Or I snap photos of things I saw when shopping that I’m considering buying later, of signs and flyers that have information I’ll need later, and so on.

The problem is that, sometimes, I forget to turn Live Photos back on when I’m taking pictures where it would be nice to have the animations enabled. Lean solves this problem. Now, I can just keep Live Photos on without worrying about all the excess animations I’m creating.

Lean is a free download here on the iTunes App Store.

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