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How to blur a picture or background on iPhone or Android

Depending on your phone, you have a few options when it comes to blurring pictures.

Uwe Krejci/Getty Images

  • You can blur a picture you’re taking using Portrait mode in the Camera app that’s included in most modern iPhones. 
  • You can use an app like YouCam Perfect to blur any part of a picture after you’ve taken it on iPhone or Android. 
  • YouCam Perfect is free and lets you blur anywhere in the image using a paint brush or a shape.

No one wants to see a blurry picture — at least, not a picture that’s been blurred by accident. But there are some great reasons to blur a picture intentionally. It can look artistic, for example, and a blurred background can draw attention to the sharp foreground. Armed with the right app, it’s easy to blur photos on both the iPhone and Android. 

How to blur a picture on iPhone with Portrait mode

If you are looking to blur the background of your photo for an artistic, professional-looking portrait, most iPhones make this easy with the Camera app’s Portrait mode. This feature is included in the iPhone SE (second generation and later) and most models from the iPhone 8 Plus or newer. 

1. Start the Camera app and tap Portrait at the bottom of the screen.

2. Compose your photo. 

3. Before you take the shot, tap the f icon at the top right. An f stop slider should appear at the bottom of the screen.

4. Swipe the slider to choose the amount of background blur you want. The smaller the number, the more pronounced the blur will be (for example, f 2.0 will generate a blurrier background than f 16). 

5. When you are satisfied, take the picture.

The Camera app for iPhone in Portrait mode.You can selectively blur the backgrounds when you take a photo using the Portrait setting.

Dave Johnson/Insider

Quick tip: You can adjust the blur after the photo is taken as well. If you take a picture in Portrait mode, open it in the Photos app, tap Edit, and then tap the f button at the top left. Use the slider to change the blur effect.

How to blur a picture on iPhone or Android

You don’t have to rely on the iPhone’s portrait mode to add blur to photos; there are apps available for iPhone and Android that let you add a blur effect. One of the easiest and most flexible apps with a blur tool is YouCam Perfect.

YouCam Perfect has several blur tools to choose from. There are options to blur the entire photo except for a shape (like a circular, elliptical, or rectangular) region that remains sharp, and another lets you use a brush to blur anywhere in the image. Here is how to use the app.

1. Install YouCam Perfect for your iPhone or Android phone.

2. Start YouCam Perfect. The app is free, but you’ll see ads to subscribe to the app’s premium features. You can dismiss these.

3. Tap Photo Edit and choose a photo stored in your phone’s camera roll that you want to edit.

The YouCam Perfect photo app for iPhone.Start the app and tap Photo Edit.

Dave Johnson/Insider

4. Tap Tools

5. In the pop-up menu, tap Blur.

YouCam Perfect with the Tools menu open.Choose Blur from the Tools menu.

Dave Johnson/Insider

6. The Blur tool offers a few ways to blur the image. 

  • Circle: This default option displays concentric circles. You can drag the circles around the screen and change their size. The center of the circle remains sharp and the image gradually blurs toward the outer circle, giving the photo a natural look. Size and position the circle to add the blur you desire in the photo. You can also choose Ellipse or Rectangle — all three of these tools work essentially the same way.
  • Brush: In many situations, the brush tool is a better choice. You can use the Paint and Erase tools at the bottom of the screen to selectively add and remove blur anywhere in the photo. Or, if you prefer, tap the Person icon — the app automatically tries to find the person in the photo and keep it sharp, blurring the surrounding background.

YouCam Perfect using the Blur tool.You can paint and erase blur using YouCam Perfect’s Blur tool.

Dave Johnson/Insider

7. When you are satisfied, tap the checkmark at the bottom right to save your image with these changes.

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