Apple introduced the ability to lift subjects from photos on the iPhone some time ago. But the ability to lift the subjects from photos only goes so far. Sure, you can send them in messages or add them as stickers but you can't overlay them on other images without any additional help, like turning to third-party apps.

However, if you're not a fan of third-party apps for every little thing, there's an easier way to do that. Using the Shortcuts app, you can easily overlay images on your iPhone and it isn't too complicated either. Here's how to set it up.

Setting up the Overlay Image Shortcut

  1. Open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on the '+' button to add a new shortcut.
  3. On the new shortcut page, tap on 'i' on the toolbar at the bottom. (On iOS 18 beta, i.e., the test iPhone, the toolbar didn't appear right away. You first need to add any action, that you can later delete, to get the toolbar, which must be a bug.)
  1. From the details menu, tap on the toggle for 'Show on Share Sheet'. This will let you use the shortcut directly from the Photos app.
  2. Tap on 'Any'/ 'Images and more' from the action.
  1. Then, turn off the toggle for everything except 'Images' and 'Media'. Tap on 'Done' to close this screen.
  2. Now, tap on the 'Search Actions' bar at the bottom.
  1. Type 'Select Photos' in the search bar and tap on it from the results.
  2. Now, add another 'Select Photos' action using the steps 7 & 8 above.
  1. Again, tap on the 'Search Actions' toolbar. Then, search for and add the 'Overlay Image' action.
  2. Tap on 'Image' in the Overlay action.
  1. Then, tap on 'Select Variable' from the menu that appears.
  2. Now, choose the first 'Photos' output as the magic variable for the overlay action.
  1. Next, again go to the Search Actions, search for 'Save to Photo Album', and add that action.
  2. Finally, rename the shortcut if you want, preferably to something easier to identify like Overlay Image, and tap on 'Done' to save it.

Overlaying Images using the Shortcut

Now, you can overlay the images using this shortcut by running it. You can run it from the Shortcuts app, by asking Siri to run it, or from directly the share sheet in the Photos app.

  1. Go to the 'Photos' app, open any photo, and tap on the 'Share' icon.
  2. Select 'Overlay images' from the share sheet.
  1. The photo grid will open. You'll need to select two images from your photos – first, the photo you want to overlay (which you have already separated from the background) and second which will make for the background.
  2. The first photo will be overlayed on top of the other. You can resize it and adjust the position or use options at the bottom to change the opacity, rotate it, or reset the photo. Tap on 'Done' and it will be saved to your gallery.

While it may seem like a long process, it only takes a couple of minutes to set this shortcut up. Then, you can overlay images on your iPhone using it to create fun images, quick memes, or for whatever else you want.