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One of my photos in iCloud is showing an unusual icon at the top-left corner:

"No Live" icon

The normal icon for Live photos looks like this:

Live icon

Non-live photos have no icon there. The photo is a live photo and it shows up as one on all my other devices. Only the web interface shows this odd icon. On the iPhone where I took the photo, the live photo plays normally. However in the Photos app on my Macs, it shows up with the normal Live icon but it doesn't play. Also there's a small icon in the bottom-right corner showing a cloud with an exclamation point. When I click that I get a dialog saying there's a problem downloading a full resolution version and I should try again later:

Cloud with exclamation point

Bummer dialog

I have been trying again later for a week, so it seems unlikely to fix itself.

When I click the download button in the web interface, it downloads a perfectly cromulent HEIC image file, but no MOV. When I download a live photo I get a zip file containing one of each.

So it seems like something there's some kind of problem with the live-ness of the image that's affecting the live-ness of the photo. But what is it, and how can I fix it?

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A quick fix would be to take the iPhone where it plays correctly and simply duplicate the image.

The new duplicate should then sync to iCloud and be playable on other devices.

When you are sure the new duplicate works on all devices, you can delete the old one.

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  • Seems logical but did not work as expected. I duplicated the image on my phone, and now I have two working copies on my phone and two broken copies in iCloud and on my other devices.
    – Robert
    Aug 3 at 19:01
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    Hmm, too bad :-| The trick did work for me before - sounds like there's perhaps something wrong with the image file itself. Could you try editing the photo on the device that works and save the edited photo? (like just the slighest edit) - To force it to save the photo with a "fresh" data structure.
    – jksoegaard
    Aug 3 at 19:29
  • This kind of worked. I changed the keyframe on my iPhone and it propagated to my iMacs. I was able to watch the Live photo, but not able to revert the change or see the original high res keyframe. I reverted on my iPhone and it went back to broken on the iMac. I tried applying a filter on the iPhone and that propagated to the iMac, but it wouldn't play the Live photo. What finally worked for me was Airdropping the image from the phone to the Mac, adding it to iCloud, and deleting the original. See my answer for details.
    – Robert
    Aug 4 at 23:42
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jksoegaard's ideas got me close, but couldn't quite get the full original Live image into iCloud. iCloud seems to be very reluctant to re-load a file even when the one it has is obviously corrupt.

What finally worked for me was AirDropping the image to a Mac, adding the copy into Photos there, and then deleting the original from iCloud.

This is complicated by two weird behaviors of AirDrop:

  • It only AirDrops the Live version of an image (both HEIC & MOV files) if you choose "Add to Photos" on the receiving Mac.
  • It only gives the option to "Add to Photos" if the receiving Mac is on a different iCloud account than the sender. If they're on the same account it defaults to dropping the photo in the Downloads folder, which means Live photos only transfer as a still HEIC.

So to get the Live photo off my iPhone I had to

  1. AirDrop it to a friend's computer (choosing "Add to Photos")
  2. Copy it to myself
  3. Drag it into my own Photos app.
  4. Delete the original.

This ultimately worked, but kind of a pain.

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