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How to remove the background from an image on an iPhone [5 best methods]
Etashe Linto
Etashe LintoFebruary 28, 2024
How to remove the background from an image on an iPhone [5 best methods]

Here’s a fun fact for you: your iPhone comes with some sneaky features that let you remove the background from an image directly in your Photos app, Files app, and Safari browser.

The results aren’t always perfect, and you can’t use these features on some iPhone models and iOS versions.

But don’t worry about that. Besides showing you how to erase image backgrounds with those native iOS apps, this guide will walk you through a free AI-powered app that does the job fast without destroying your photo’s quality. You’ll also learn how to add a new image background and improve the overall quality of your image.

What you learn in this article

  • The iPhone offers native features to remove backgrounds from images directly within the Photos app, Files app, and Safari browser.

  • While these features have limitations, including compatibility issues with some iPhone models and iOS versions, a free AI-powered app Photoroom provides a fast and high-quality alternative for background removal.

  • Beyond simply removing backgrounds, users can explore additional creative possibilities such as adding new backgrounds, developing creative content, and enhancing images using AI-powered features.

How to remove the background with your iPhone Photos app

The Photos app of your iPhone provides a simple background remover feature designed for basic background erasure. It's available on different iOS devices and does a decent job of lifting a subject from its background.

There are some limitations to this background remover tool though. But first, let’s look at how you can use it to make transparent backgrounds on your iPhone or iPad.

  1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone and select your photo.

  2. Long-press on the subject of the photo until it's outlined.

  3. Select Copy to paste the subject into your Messages or Notes application to save it. Select Share to share your new file directly on a different platform. And you're done removing the background from your photo.

  4. If you’re using iOS 17, select Add Sticker or Look Up to save the sticker or learn more about the subject as you remove the background from a photo.

A visual guide showing how to use the Photos app on an iPhone to copy or share a subject from a photo, depicted in two steps. Step 1 indicates selecting the Photos app, and Step 3 shows the photo in edit mode with options to 'Copy' or 'Share...' highlighted by red arrows.

As mentioned, the Photos app's background removal feature has limitations that can affect your final image.

Here are the main drawbacks to keep in mind for the best output:

  • Not all iPhone models support the background removal feature. According to Apple, models that support background removal include iPhone XR and newer models. The tool also only runs on iOS 16, iOS 17, and newer iOS versions by Apple. So, you'd want to update your iOS version if it's unavailable on your phone.

  • The tool requires manual effort, which is time-consuming and inefficient if you want to remove backgrounds in bulk or edit multiple files at once. You'll need more advanced editing tools for this.

  • You can get inaccurate results when using the tool to remove backgrounds from a complex object (for example an object with hair) or if you're using models like the iPhone XR, which automatically creates a black or white background, defeating your initial purpose.

How to automatically erase a photo’s background on any iPhone using Photoroom

Photoroom is an AI-powered photo editing app that removes backgrounds in seconds without ruining the quality of your image. It's perfect for e-commerce stores and product resellers who need to bulk-remove backgrounds from product photos.

You need iOS 15 or a newer iOS version to use the application, but you can remove backgrounds on your browser if using an older iOS version.

To get started, install Photoroom in your App Store for free, then follow the steps below to erase the background from a photo quickly.

  1. Open Photoroom and select the Remove Background tool on the Create page.

  2. Select your file from your camera roll or files folder to upload an image, and the Remove Background tool will immediately erase the background.

  3. Choose Transparent on the next page that comes up. Your picture will open in the editor, and you can alter the size, change the background to a new color or image, or make other editing adjustments to improve quality.

  4. Once you’re done, click Export or the Share icon on the upper right corner of the screen to save your new image to your device or share it directly on any platform.

Simple, right? If you want to rename your file before downloading, click Export, then select Options to enter a new name. I also recommend exporting your images as PNG files since JPG doesn’t retain transparency.

📽 Learn more: How to remove image backgrounds on a desktop device

A four-step visual guide for using the PhotoRoom app to remove image backgrounds. Step 1 shows the app interface with 'Remove Background' selected. Step 2 indicates choosing an image from the Camera Roll. Step 3 highlights selecting a background option for the image, and Step 4 displays the final result with the background removed with red arrows pointing at the download features.

Using the Photoroom widget to delete image backgrounds fast on an iPhone

You can already see that Photoroom does a neat, fast job of erasing your photo’s background. But one little trick I love is using the Remove Background widget as a shortcut to speed things up, which saves you time to focus on more creative and strategic tasks, especially if you need to remove backgrounds from pictures a lot.

Here’s how you can take advantage of this too:

  1. Long-press on your phone’s home screen and click the add (+) button.

  2. Type Photoroom in the search bar to search for the app, tap on the icon, and then swipe to the Remove Background widget.

  3. Click Add Widget to place the widget anywhere on your home screen and quickly use the tool on the go. I like to keep mine on my creative wall — a home page that contains all the content-creation apps I use on my phone.

A three-step process for adding a PhotoRoom widget to the home screen on a smartphone. Step 1 shows adding a new widget to the home screen. Step 3 highlights the PhotoRoom 'Remove Background' widget option. The final image shows the widget added to the home screen, ready for use.

How to remove the background from an iPhone image with the Files app

The Files app on your phone or iPad has a background remover tool called Remove Background, a new feature for editing photos stored in iCloud. 

Here’s how to use this feature on your Files app to remove the background of images:

  1. Open the Files folder on your iPhone or iPad.

  2. Go through your files to find the image from which you want to remove the background.

  3. Tap and hold the image until a pop-up menu appears.

  4. In the menu, click Quick Actions, select Remove Background to launch the background removal process, wait a few seconds, and watch your background fade away.

  5. Once your photo background is removed, your new image will be saved in the Files app where you can easily access it for future use on your mobile phone or computer.

A three-step instructional image demonstrating how to remove the background from an image using the Files app. Step 1 shows the Files app being selected on an iPhone. Step 4 highlights the 'Quick Actions' menu with 'Remove Background' selected. The final image shows a thumbnail view of images in the Files app, with the background removed from one of the images, as indicated by a red arrow.

How to make a transparent background in the Safari browser

Like the Files app, the Safari browser on your Apple device also has a hidden background eraser feature, which allows you to copy a subject from an image on a website and use it on a different platform.

This process might reduce the quality of the image, but here’s how to use the Copy subject feature on Safari, both on an iPhone and iPad with the right iOS version:

  1. Open Safari and visit the website with the image you want to use.

  2. Long-press on the object of the image until a pop-up shows up.

  3. Select Copy subject to copy the image without the background to your clipboard.

  4. Paste the image into your Messages or Notes app, save it in a document for use in the future, or insert it into image editing tools like Photoshop to add a new background if you're using your computer.

💡 Another way to automatically separate the background from a photo in Safari is to use the Remove Background tool in Photoroom Web, either on your phone or Mac computer. This way, you can be sure that you won’t lose the quality of your images.

A three-step instructional image depicting the process of copying an image subject using the Safari browser on an iPhone. Step 1 shows the Safari app being selected from the 'Productivity' folder. Step 3 illustrates using the 'Copy Subject' option on an image of a bouquet. The last image shows the subject of the bouquet pasted into the Notes app without its background.

Go beyond transparent backgrounds

Removing your picture’s background is only one piece of the photo editing puzzle. It gives you freedom to use your image in different contexts and for various projects — and this is where the real magic happens.

Here are the top three ways you can use your new transparent photo.

1. Add a new background

You can give your picture a makeover by inserting a background color or adding a background image with generative AI. When adding a new background, play with different background textures, colors, or scenes to test various looks and find the best fit for your image.

📘 Read more: How to add a background to a photo online

2. Develop creative content

Use your new photo to create eye-catching visual images. For example, you can design brochures, flyers, memes, podcast covers, pet collages, business cards, social media posts, or personalized merchandise that gets people interested in your work or message. 

3. Enhance your image with AI

You can improve the quality of your photo by using several AI-powered features in photo editing apps like Photoroom to improve image lighting, add shadows, remove unwanted objects, and edit other components that define the look of your image.

📘 Dig deeper: Product photography for beginners

Ready to remove the background from a photo on an iPhone? Let’s go!

Download the Photoroom iOS app to easily remove backgrounds of images on your iPhone. The platform not only simplifies background removal on your iPhone but is also accessible on the web and available for Android users, making it easy to edit your photos across multiple devices.

iPhone image background removal FAQs

How do I remove someone from a picture on my iPhone for free?

Upgrade your device to iOS 15 or a recent iOS version. Open Photoroom on your iPhone, select Retouch, choose an image from your Camera roll, and erase the person by moving your finger to paint over them and any other details you want to highlight. Adjust your brush width if needed, then tap Next and download your edited image by clicking the Download icon.

How do I remove the background from a picture and keep the text?

Use free AI-powered third-party apps like Photoroom to remove the background from images and preserve the text. Select Start from Photo when you open the app, upload your photo, and the AI will remove your background while preserving the text. If necessary, click Edit Cutout to refine the edges around the text. Finally, save the image without applying a new background.

How do I remove the background from a file on my iPhone?

There are several options for removing the background from a file on an iOS device, but you need to have iOS 16 or a more recent version of the iOS.

iOS users can use the Photos application, which has a built-in feature to isolate the subject of a photo or visual frame from its background. To do this, open a photo in full screen or pause a video on any frame, touch and hold the subject until an outline appears around it, and then tap Copy to lift the subject from the background and place it in your Messages or Mail applications as a new photo. This feature is available on supported models and the Safari Browser.

Another option is to use the Files app, which also has a built-in background remover tool. To use this tool, open Files, find the file you want to process to a transparent image, tap and hold the file until the pop-up window appears, and then tap Quick Actions and select Remove Background at the bottom. Wait a few seconds, and your photo will have a transparent background with the object alone. You can always access your new file in the future and use it for different designs or image editing projects.

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Etashe Linto
Etashe LintoI’m a writer and information designer. Here at Photoroom, I explore ways you can use AI technology to improve your product photos and create stellar visual content.

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