There are many times I want to crop a photo using iPhoto on iOS and post to Facebook, and then possibly crop it another way (like panoramic this time), and post to Facebook, but I don't want to lose the original.

Is there a way to make duplicates of the original and edit it using iPhoto on iOS?

P.S. I also found that when you crop a photo in the Photos app, the original is not lost. You can simply re-crop it again (or un-crop it) to get a different cropping or get back the original. But, it still might be good to have a duplicate if you want to keep 2 different ways of cropping of the same photo.

14 Answers 14


As of iOS 9.3 you can choose to Duplicate photo directly. Pretty convenient.

The Duplicate button is shown after you tap on Sharing button


What I do is copy the photo and paste it into the notes app and then save it back to the camera roll, then we have a duplicate and we can edit one of them and still keep the original.


Here's a tested & confirmed way to copy photos without downloading any other apps. You will however need wi-fi or wireless service at the time to do this.

  1. Click the photo, click share, select Message, and send it to yourself (your Apple ID).
  2. Then, open Messages and click on the message you just sent yourself. Click on the image, then click Share, and then Save Image.
  3. You can repeat clicking Share->Save Image, for as many copies of the photo as you want.

When you're done, go back to Photos and find the copies. Each photo is now an individual copy that can edited, cropped, etc. without the changes being applied to the other copies.

  • This is not ideal as the Messages app compresses photos. A better solution is to use email and send as "Actual size". Nov 22, 2015 at 0:31
  • @JaydenLawson Not sure if that used to be a thing, or is maybe only a thing when using cellular data, but I just did it both ways over WiFi and the images are identical.
    – Ryan
    Mar 2, 2016 at 5:11
  • @Ryan agreed - just tested it and found the same. Apr 1, 2016 at 6:45

I was looking to make a Photo Editing Extension to Duplicate photos easily, but...



... it's already existing =/


This functionality is missing. As a workaround you can email or message the picture to yourself and save it again.


As of iOS 8 there is at least one commercial product which addresses this limitation. Hopefully Apple will build-in such a function soon.


After this "Copy" action you can "Paste" a photo to any not-system album (not Panoramas or Photo Stream for example).

You can not paste to empty album (at least in 8.1.2, seems like a bug), but you can add any photo to this album on creation or by pressing "+" at the upper-left corner.

But sadly this options creates just a link to the photo, not a copy, so every change spreads to all of "copies" of this photo in other albums. This is just a way to tag photos. So email it...


Simply AirDrop it back and forth between iOS devices, provided you have two. It's a kluge for sure, but once you've got the basics down, it's like the Trouble with Tribbles episode from Star Trek!!


I think this is a bit faster and simpler than any of the methods mentioned above:

  • View the photo that you want to crop, zoom into it as much as you think is the area you want to crop.
  • Hit Home button and Power button at the same time to take a screenshot -- new photo will be saved.
  • Go to photos and view the screenshot you took, crop it as you like (remove edges at least).



There is a simple solution but Apple doesn't make it obvious. You don't need to send the photo anywhere, or to take a screenshot of the photo. The following procedure works:

    1. Edit the photo and save the edited version.
    1. Duplicate the edited version.

You now have two identical photos. They are both the edited version.

    1. Click on one of the photos and revert it.

That will give you what you want. It will only unrevert one, not both. Now you have the original plus the edited version.

  • Why not just duplicate as the first and only step?
    – nohillside
    Feb 3, 2021 at 13:15
  • Yes, that's an even more sensible procedure for those who don't just jump straight in, edit a photo, decide they want to save their edit, and then decide they'd quite like to have the original too :-)
    – user341810
    Feb 4, 2021 at 0:06

I use the "Save to Photo Album" action in the app Workflow, as an extension.


Copy it and save it to a new album then make the edits


iPhoto always keeps the original. When you go to the edit menu, there's a button to return to the original. And you can always preview the original by holding shift.

Of course you can manuelly use copy-paste or diplicate (cmd+d I believe) if you want to manually duplicate a picture.

  • 1
    i didn't downvote you, but is this for iPhoto on a Mac? I am asking regarding on iPhone Apr 5, 2014 at 5:17
  • 1
    Oh, woops. Can you duplicate or copy a photo by holding the finger on it maybe? Apr 6, 2014 at 9:14
  • 2
    by the way, I found that after you cropped the photo, you can always crop it again to include more area of the original photo. In other words, the original photo is kept on the iPhone Sep 19, 2014 at 6:14
  • 1
    @動靜能量 - Could you add that as an answer to your question.
    – Mr Rabbit
    Sep 24, 2014 at 14:01
  • Keeping the original is not an accurate answer as you only have the ability to have one version of the picture. You cannot create & save 2 unique crops unless you duplicate the original (or the crop).
    – user103677
    Dec 6, 2014 at 16:41

Simplest way--Choose your photo, then take a screen shot, and presto, a duplicate photo you can edit! Note that the screen shot will have a lower resolution than the original!

  • 1
    This will reduce the quality of the image dramatically Nov 22, 2015 at 0:32

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