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How do Live Photos work technically?

For example: what is the file extension for the captured photos? Is it a sidecar file? How many additional photos are captured before and after the main photo?

I would like some authoritative technical documentation as a reference.

closed as primarily opinion-based by bmike Sep 11 '15 at 14:06

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • I am imagining that perhaps they share some design with burst photos. Any info? – jsejcksn Sep 10 '15 at 4:10
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    I am guessing the animated GIFs are back! :) – CousinCocaine Sep 10 '15 at 12:45
  • I'm going to put this on hold. Is there a practical problem you are facing as a user of Apple products? If this can be reframed so that someone can explain how they believe (or how Apple documents) the hardware and software to behave, we can look at reopening this. This probably should also be closed as "too broad" since you have asked a few side questions. Have a look at the How to Ask and let me know on Ask Different Meta or Ask Different Chat if this guidance isn't helping you get your question reopened. – bmike Sep 11 '15 at 14:08
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    @bmike I think you choose the wrong hold tag because it says "opinion-based" instead of "too broad". Nothing in my question solicits an opinion. Only facts. What I'm looking for is a white paper on Live Photos, but less information will do if that is not available. How should that be re-worded? – jsejcksn Sep 11 '15 at 22:36
  • @JesseJackson The close reason is immaterial. It should be edited if you'd like it to be reopened. Ask Different Meta is the best place to discuss this since all moderators and the community can weigh in. Pinging me sometimes doesn't scale if I'm away for hours and someone else can step in and help. Also note, pre-release hardware is off topic. We're in that uncomfortable temporary situation where Apple is marketing hardware that people can't authoritatively speak on - hence the opinionated part. – bmike Sep 11 '15 at 22:51
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According to 9to5mac:

Details of the file format were tweeted by Daniel Matte after speaking with an iPhone product manager, and are consistent with a brief description in Apple’s iOS Developer Library.

The docs don't go into details, but it seems like it's just a set of files:

The data of a Live Photo is exported as a set of files in a PHAssetResource object. The set of files must be preserved as a unit when you upload them to a server.

It's a bit disappointing, because they doesn't sound very interoperable or convenient.

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