iOS 16 users are getting creative with the new background removal feature for photos

We said this a couple of months ago, and we’re sticking to it now: the new background removal and image cutout feature is the most fun thing to come out of iOS 16. Yes, Lock Screen widgets and customizations are useful, but you’re probably not going to tinker with them every day.

For folks who don’t know about this feature, iOS 16 lets you “pick” any object from a photo and save it as a separate transparent image — just like a background removal tool. The feature is present in the system in various contexts, assisted by Apple’s CoreML tech.

Now that the feature is available widely to users, they’re putting it to use in different ways.

One of the more interesting use cases is that of an iOS 16 user who is cataloging his daily outfits in the Notes app. As demonstrated in a video, the user (@macaulay_flower on TikTok) used the background removal feature to grab a clip out of himself whenever he changed outfits and pasted it to a note to catalog his different looks.


Inspired by this use case, ex-Apple employee Matthew Cassinelli then automated the process through a Siri Shortcut, which he shared on Twitter.

After installing this shortcut on your iPhone, you’ll see an “Outfit of the Day” option in the Share Sheet. You can then go to any image with an outfit, hit this button from the Share Sheet, and the cutout will be saved to an eponymous note.

This isn’t the only way users are exploring this new feature.

People are finding more use cases for the background removal tool ranging from food photography to making pet collages and even making memes:

One of our favorite use cases for this feature is to automatically catalog images into different folders — for food, shopping, pets or memes, for example.

To that end, we made our own nifty shortcut that removes the background from an image then places it into a folder named “Background removed.” You can use the “Remove Image Background” option from the Share Sheet to trigger it. It’s fairly rudimentary, so you will need to manually create the folder first before using the shortcut. For creating different categories, you can simply copy the shortcut and rename it.

The background removal feature is pretty great, but it only picks up objects that are in the focus area of the photo — even there are multiple of them. We hope Apple will introduce more advanced object separation and editing tools for collage-making in the Photos app in future versions of the feature.

iOS 16 users are getting creative with the new background removal feature for photos by Ivan Mehta originally published on TechCrunch

Siri gets new airline, food order and dictionary Shortcuts, with more on the way

Announced at last year’s WWDC, Apple’s been firing up Siri Shortcuts at a fairly steady clip. The company says there are now “thousands” of apps integrating the iOS 12 feature, which bring all sorts of third-party functionality to the smart assistant.

There are five new Shortcuts available starting today. Most notable (depending on where you get your airline miles, I suppose) is probably the one from American Airlines. Saying, “Hey Siri, flight update” will provide you with information on your upcoming travel plans. The response uses location information to determine what the share, including flight status, travel time and the gate it will depart from.

Caviar has a new Shortcut as well. It lets users check on food status or reorder frequent items, like, say, “order my usual pizza,” for those of us who are perfectly fine with the food related ruts we’ve dug ourselves into. Merriam Webster, meanwhile, is adding a “word of the day” Shortcut, while Dexcom is bringing glucose monitoring to the smart assistant.

In the next couple of months, Apple will add shortcuts from Airbnb, Drop, ReSound and coffee-maker Smarter. Those all join recent additions from Waze and Nike Run Club. Apple clearly sees the features as a way to build out Siri’s functionality following increased competition from the likes of Google and Amazon.

The addition of the sorts of features can make for a much richer voice ecosystem, all while leaving third-party developers to do a lot of the heavy lifting here.