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How to reduce photo size on your iPhone


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Ok.  So you've got an iPhone.  You like it.  You really like it.   A lot.  It takes great pictures.  It takes REALLY BIG great pictures.


So, you load your photos from your Apple Photos app to your favorite picture hosting service and merrily place them into your posts.  Then various and sundry people start screaming at you and threatening to give you a proper thrashing because it takes around 3 hours for your post to load for them because your pictures are so big.  The BM mods see it, tap you on the shoulder, and ask you kindly to reduce the size of your pictures because they're using up all available bandwidth and nobody can see anything else till your pictures finish loading for all the BM users who are trying to access your wonderful posts all at the same time.


All because you like your iPhone camera.  What's a person to do?


So, you think, "I'll just get into the Photos app and tell it I don't want the bigger pictures.  I only want smaller ones."  Wait, how can I tell the silly phone that?  There's no setting that lets me do that.  Sure, I can email them to myself and specify small, medium, or gargantuan but where's the fun in that?  I already talk to myself (and the little voices talk back), I don't need to start emailing myself also.


Fear not.  Your iPhone has the ability to fulfill your smaller picture wishes.  Follow along with me in the subsequent posts and I'll try to show you step-by-step how to build a handy-dandy photo size reducer.  It's not hard.  You might actually enjoy it.  And when people ask you where you got that cool app, you can  say "I built it"!


Mods please feel free to delete this thread if you don't think it's appropriate or helpful.

Edited by uncletommy
Not terribly smart author
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The Nitty Gritty (or whatever)


Your iPhone has an app on it called "Shortcuts".  If you don't see it, hop on over to the Apple App Store and download it.  It's free.  It'll look like this on your iPhone.  In  the following pictures, the Yellow circles and squares are just to show you what button or icon I'm talking about.  You won't see the yellow bits on your iPhone.


Before we get started, let me make a suggestion.  Go into your Photos app and create a new Photo Album.  I called mine "Britmodeller".  We're going to use this album in our Shortcut to keep all the photos that we've reduced in size in a single place.  Just makes your Photos app a little more orderly.  Or, ignore this last bit if you prefer chaos.

So, it starts.



Step 1:

Launch the Shortcuts app.


MFB - 1

That's it in the little yellow circle.  Tap it and you'll be presented with a screen that looks a bit like this:


MFB - 2


Tap in the yellow circle where it says "Create Shortcut".  Now we're cookin'!  :frantic:

This leads us to this screen:


MFB - 2a

We need to give our shiny, new shortcut a name and some other information so go ahead and click in the yellow circle with the three dots in the middle.  When you do, it will take us to this screen:


MFB - 2b

Here we need to name our new Shortcut.  I called mine "Photo Squish".  You can call yours whatever you'd like that makes sense to you.  Call it the "Spanish Inquisition" if you'd like.  Just type it in the box next to that little icon.  This is the name that Siri will recognize your Shortcut as.  Once that's done, tap where it says "Add to Home Screen".  This puts it on your home screen as an icon so it will be easy to get to when you want to run it.  This is optional.  You can always access your shortcut from the Shortcuts app even if you don't add it to your home screen.  But if you do add it to your home screen, you'll be taken to this next page:


MFB - 2c

On this page, you need to enter the name you chose for your Shortcut again in the area next to the icon in the middle of the page.  This is the name that will show up on your home screen with your shortcut icon.  No idea why you need to enter the name twice but it seems that you do.  Once you've  do that, tap "Add" in the yellow circle at the top of the screen.  This will take you back the screen we came from a moment ago:


MFB - 2d

This time, tap "Done"  in the little yellow sausage at the top of the page.  Now we've got a basic shortcut and it's got a name and everything.  Now we're going to tell it what we want it to do.



Step 2:

But first, a little background information.  As I mentioned, all we've done so far is created a new shortcut and took care of naming it and some other miscellaneous housekeeping.  Now we get to add functionality to our shortcut.  Shortcuts are actually little programs that are based a selection of various building blocks.  Apple has provide a large library of these building blocks segregated into about 8 different categories.  Things like getting pictures from your Photos library. Or creating audio recordings.  Or accessing the web. Or a huge number of other little things that can be linked together to complete a task for you.  In our case, we're going to use the following building blocks to shrink our photos down to a reasonable size.


  • "Select Photos" - this gets photos from your Photos library for you to play with
  • "Convert" - we're going to use this to convert your photo to a JPEG.  This is also where we'll turn the quality down so that the picture doesn't take as much space.
  • "Resize" - this will allow us to resize our image down to a consistent size.  Generally speaking, for this shortcut, I'm going to use a width of 800 and let the shortcut automatically determine the height based on the aspect ratio of the original photo.
  • "Save" - this resaves our modified image back to your Photos library.  This is also where we tell it what photo album to put the modified photo in.  That's why I had you create a "Britmodeller" album back when we started this project.

All right.  So let's get to it.  Here's where we are now:

MFB - 3


Go ahead and tap "Add Action".  Now, we get to pick our first action which is to "Select" our photo(s) that we're going to reduce.  Here's what's next:

MFB - 4


Those bigger icons at the top are the categories that the various actions fit in.  In our case, we're dealing with photos which are media, so go ahead and tap "Media".  We'll end up here:

MFB - 5


You'll need to scroll up or down to get down to this media section.  Just scroll up or down until you see these icons.  When you get there, tap the "Select Photos" one.  That will take us back to:

MFB - 6


Tap in the little yellow circle on that little ">" symbol (it's called a disclosure triangle if you really care).  Go ahead.  Tap it.  That get's us this:

MFB - 7


Tap that slider out beside where it says "Select Multiple".  This tells this select widget to allow us to select one or more pictures from our photo library.  Here's where we are now:

MFB - 7b



Step 3:

Now we're at the point where we've got photos selected, let's go ahead and add the next action to convert them to JPEG and reduce the quality a bit.  Tap the plus sign and we'll be here:

MFB - 7c


Again, you'll have to scroll up and down the list to find it so go ahead and look for "Convert Image" and tap on it.  That get's us to here:

MFB - 8


Don't get carried away yet.  Make sure the "Select Multiple" is "turned on" (sorry, missed a yellow sausage on that one) and then tap the disclosure triangle that I've shown with the yellow circle.  That show us this:

MFB - 9


We've got a couple more things to do on this step.  First, set the Quality slider to about the middle.  That seemed to work pretty well in my testing.  Also, turn the "Preserve Metadata" off if it's on.  No use wasting space on all that if we don't need it.  Getting closer to the end.



Step 4:

Next we're going to resize our photo so hit the "plus" sign again and let's add another building block to change the size of our photo.  Here's where we end up now:

MFB - 10


Again, we're choosing action building blocks so scroll up and down until you fine the "Resize Image" one.  Tap it and let's get moving:

MFB - 11


There's our resize building block, widget, whatever.  Let's set the size.  On this one, I chose 640 as an example but I think 800 is probably a better choice.  You can always come back in and edit this stuff later if you want to change it.  But for now, type 800 in and leave the other measurement set to "Auto Height".  This forces your photo to 800 wide and whatever height it needs in order to keep it's original aspect ratio.  You know what's next.  Hit the plus sign and let's add our final building block.


Step 5:

Here's our list of actions again.  Scroll around and fine the "Save to Photo Album" one.

MFB - 12


 Tap on it and we'll end up here:

MFB - 13


This is where we set the destination for saving our modified photo.  We're going to save it back to our Photos library.  And we're going to put it in the "Britmodeller" album.  Yours won't say that initially.  Tap on the album name that comes up and you'll get the option to change to whatever one you'd like.  And with that we're done!  Your screen should look like this now:



Step 6:

And we're done.  

MFB - 14


Tap the "Done" at the top and go pour yourself your favorite beverage.  You've earned it.  You're still in the Shortcuts app but now the screen should look something like this:

MFB - 15


Yours will be a little different since I've got a couple of shortcuts that you probably don't have.  You should also have an icon on your home screen for your "Photo Squish" shortcut.  Try it out.  Play with it.  You can always come back in to the Shortcuts and get to it if you can't find it anywhere else.  By the way, it you need to edit the functionality in it again, just tap the 3 little dots in the upper right hand corner of the Shortcut here in the Shortcuts app.  That'll take you back into your shortcut where you can play with other things to see what else it might be able to do.  Have fun with it.  If it gets too screwed up, Just delete the whole "Photo Squish" shortcut.  To do that, here in the Shortcuts app, just tap and hold on the tile for your shortcut.  You'll get a popup menu where you can delete, duplicate, or see the details of your shortcut.


Play with this.  Have fun.  It's really easy.  Once you get used to it, you can build a short cut like this in about five minutes.


Hope this helps you.  Let me know if you need help.

Edited by uncletommy
Added steps so it would be easier to keep track.
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  • uncletommy changed the title to How to reduce photo size on your iPhone

Looks like your photo came out to be 640 x 631 and 170kb in size.  You might be able to back the quality slider down a little bit if you wanted to get it even smaller.

Edited by uncletommy
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oh, thnk u!

Edited by Mike
Removing the biggest unnecessary photo-quote ever - please reply at the bottom of the page or use @MEMBERNAME to call attention to the member.
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Can I share a useful tip. If you have Instagram, open your photo in stories and save it with the download button. Instant size reduction. Can also add captions and do some minor editing. I use it all the time.


If you get the 'layout' prompt you can also make collage images so you have even less individual images to sort.

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