Q. I sometimes look in the Photos app on my iPhone and see multiple versions of the same shot clumped together. What is this?
A. You are most likely looking at a batch of pictures taken in Burst Mode, which was introduced a few years ago in iOS 7. While pressing the shutter button quickly in the native iOS Camera app takes one photo, pressing and holding the shutter button makes the app capture a “burst” of about 10 images a second until you lift your finger.
Burst Mode can be helpful in taking pictures of sporting events, sprightly toddlers and fast-moving pets. An onscreen counter shows how many pictures are piling up as you hold the shutter button down.
When you open the Photos app to find the pictures, the Burst Mode session looks like a set of thumbnails stacked behind the first shot. Tap it to open the stack. The number of shots in the burst is shown at the top of the screen.
Next, tap the Select button at the bottom of the screen to see all the photos in the series. You can swipe through to see each image. A small strip of thumbnails at the bottom of the screen shows the whole sequence in order. Gray dots under certain pictures in the thumbnail strip indicate which shots in the collection the app suggests keeping.
If you want to save a specific shot out of the burst collection to the Photos app, tap the circle in the lower-right corner; a blue check mark confirms your selection. When you are finished browsing and saving pictures in the burst, the Photos app asks if you want to keep or delete the rest of the images.
Burst Mode works on the 5s and later iPhones (as well as recent iPad models). The rapid-fire shots are not a feature that is unique to Apple devices. They can be found in other gear, including some Google Android hardware and apps like Fast Burst Camera.
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