How to Blur Something in a Picture on iPhone

What to Know

  • Learn how to blur a picture on iPhone 15 and earlier models using the Photos app and third-party apps.
  • The photos app will only let you blur the background of photos taken in Portrait Mode.
  • Third-party apps can be used to blur parts of photos such as people, text, or private information.

Ever had a weird person photobomb your family pictures? Or has your nephew decided that wearing shirts with curse words is appropriate birthday-party attire? There may be many reasons why you might need to blur out part of a photo. We’ll teach you how to blur a photo on iPhone 15 and earlier models using native apps and third-party options.

Jump To:

How to Blur Background on iPhone Using the Photos App

Unfortunately, Apple’s photo editing software does not have the capabilities to blur out a specific part of the photo. It is possible to blur the background in two scenarios. If you took a Portrait Mode photo on an iPhone 14 and earlier, you can blur, unblur, and control the level of blur on the background. If you have an iPhone 15 and take a photo with an obvious subject, you can follow the steps below and blur the background of the photo even if you didn't take it in Portrait Mode. To adjust the blur on a qualifying image:

  1. Open the image in the Photos app.

    Open the image in the Photos app.
  2. Tap Edit.

    Tap Edit.
  3. Tap the f if depth settings aren't already selected.

    Tap the f if depth settings aren't already selected.
  4. Swipe left to intensify the blur.

    Swipe left to intensify the blur.
  5. Swipe right to turn the blur off.

    Swipe right to turn the blur off.
  6. Tap Done.

    Tap Done.

You can always go back and make more edits to the image including adjusting the blur, also called the Bokeh effect.

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Pro Tip

If you are trying to cover something up rather than blurring it, you can use Markup and draw or highlight over the part of the image you wish to hide. You can also use a sticker, even a custom photo sticker you created yourself, to cover something up in your picture.

Free Third-Party Apps to Blur Parts of Photos on iPhone

If you want to blur a specific part of an image or the background of an image that wasn't taken using Portrait Mode or an iPhone 15, you'll have to try a third-party app. Luckily, I’ve downloaded and tried out a few completely free apps that I think are the simplest to use and the most effective. Blur Photo is a great app for simplicity and ease of use. Blur Photo Effect Background is another great app especially for blurring out faces. I’ll show you how to use them below.

Blur Part of an Image with Blur Photo App

Blur Photo app icon

Blur Photo is an easy-to-use app that will give you a very opaque blur anywhere on your photo. First, download Blur Photo from the App store and then we can get started. For more cool tips and tricks about how to use your iPhone, sign up for our Tip of the Day newsletter! 

  1. Open the Blur Photo app on your iPhone.

    use app blur photo effect background
  2. Tap Blur to explore your photos.

    use blur photo app
  3. Select a photo you'd like to blur.

    select photo to blur from camera roll
  4. Crop the photo to your needs.

    swipe through cropping options
  5. Tap Done when finished.

    select done when finished cropping
  6. Tap the Blur Tool.

    choose blur feature
  7. Use your finger to draw on the photo where you would like to blur.

    draw with finger on photo where you'd like to blur
  8. Tap the Invert button to reverse the blur, leaving only your selection in focus. 

    click invert to have only that part be in focus
  9. The Undo button is at the top menu to handle quick mistakes. 

    click undo at the top
  10. Tap Next when you're happy with your photo. 

    click next at the top
  11. Swipe through the app's filter options.

    swipe through filter options
  12. Click the Share button when finished. 

    select save
  13. Your photo will automatically save to your camera roll. You can also select where you'd like to share the photo directly.

    share to any app directly

How to Blur Out Part of a Picture with Blur Photo Effect Background

Blur Photo Effect Background app icon

Another simple, user-friendly app you can use to blur parts of your picture is called Blur Photo Effect Background. I'll walk you through how to use this app below.

  1. Open the Blur Photo Effect Background app.

    use a third party app to blur parts of your picture
  2. Either choose a photo from your camera roll or take a new photo.

    choose a photo to blur
  3. Select a photo to blur.

    select a photo from camera roll
  4. Tap the blur tool at the bottom menu.

    choose blur tool
  5. You can adjust the size of your blur tool.

    adjust blur tool size
  6. Then, use your finger to draw on the photo where you'd like to blur.

    blur out by drawing with your finger
  7. You can also choose to invert the blur, leaving only where you drew in focus. 

    select invert to reverse the blur
  8. To undo or redo, you can tap the arrows at the bottom menu.

    tap undo and redo buttons on the bottom bar
  9. When you're done, click the save button in the top right corner.

    choose save
  10. You will receive a message asking to save the photo to your camera roll. Tap OK.

    save to camera roll

And that's how you blur out only part of your picture! These apps are very similar, but they produce a slightly different opaqueness and they offer slightly different customization options. Feel free to try out either to decide which one you prefer. Remember, they're both completely free so you never have to stress about a photo mistake again!

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Author Details

Rachel Needell's picture

Author Details

Rachel Needell

Rachel Needell is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and a poet and author. With 10-plus years of experience working with Apple devices, she specializes in all-things iPad and is a Notes App expert, having worked on both the 2023 iPad Guide and the Notes App Guide. You can usually find her writing in the Daily Tip newsletter as one of our senior Tip writers. Rachel received her Master’s degree in English Literature in 2021 and her most recent work appears in the Winter ’21 edition of New Note Poetry. When she’s not obsessing about Apple products, you can find her voraciously reading fantasy books with her cat in Asheville, North Carolina.