One of the best iPhone features at WWDC steals a page from Android (and I'm glad)

At WWDC, Apple announced a new AI-enhanced editing tool similar to Google's Magic Eraser.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
Key Photo selection of Prakhar Khanna in Live Photos on the iPhone 15 Pro
Prakhar Khanna/ZDNET

With the barrage of AI features during Apple's WWDC event today, some announcements were more practical than gimmicky. One of the standouts was Apple's photo editor tool, which functions similarly to Google's Magic Eraser.

Also: Everything Apple announced at WWDC 2024, including iOS 18, Siri, AI, and more

The new feature, baked into the Photos app, allows users to remove a person or subject from an image. We've seen a similar functionality before with Google's Magic Eraser feature, which was previously exclusive to Pixel phones but has since been made accessible via Google Photos.

The new photo-editing tool is also akin to Photoshop's Content Aware Fill tool, which covers select areas by gathering the visual data around them and reproducing similar-looking pixels. I've tested such features before, and they're often hit-or-miss, especially when it comes to removing a subject from a busier photo. 

Sometimes, a person's body may not be removed completely (or cleanly), making it obvious that the image has been modified. But when the feature works, it can swiftly remove random objects, pets, and photobombers from what would otherwise be a ruined shot.

Also: Every iPhone model that will get Apple's iOS 18 (and which ones won't)

It's great to see Apple making its AI-powered photo editor widely available from the start; on an app basis rather than device basis. However, the feature will be limited to the iPhone 15 Pro series, which fields a more capable A17 Pro chip, and iPads and Macs running on at least an M1 chip. One can expect most, if not all, future Apple devices to support the feature, too.

Considering Apple's philosophy of releasing products only when they're ready, here's to hoping its photo editing tool will produce more consistent and satisfactory results, especially if it wants its customers to believe in its AI capabilities.

Editorial standards