How to Drag and Drop Photos and Text Between iPhone Apps

Person holding an iPhone in their hand

Multitasking can be difficult on a small phone screen. Apple’s drag and drop tool makes it easy to move photos, text, links, and more between your favorite apps. This powerful feature can improve your workflow.

The iPad has had some drag-and-drop abilities for a while, but iOS 15 finally brought more of that functionality over to the iPhone. It gives you the ability to simply drag something—such as a photo—from one app and drop it in another. No messing around with downloading things or copy and pasting.

RELATED: What’s New in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey

What Can You Drag and Drop?

There are quite a few things you can drag and drop on the iPhone. Photos and text are the most obvious, but you can also grab videos, documents, links, audio files, and PDFs. However, you will need a source and destination app that supports the feature.

Developers need to implement drag in drop support in their app, which means the feature isn’t available everywhere. Apple’s own apps support it, including Safari, Mail, Messages, and Files. Other supported apps include Gmail, WhatsApp, and Telegram.

How Does Drag and Drop Work

First, open an app that supports the feature. In this example, we’ll be dragging a photo from Safari to Mail, but the action is exactly the same for text, links, and other things.

We’ll start by holding a finger down on a photo until you feel a little vibration.

Select a photo by long pressing.

Keep your finger pressed on the screen and drag the photo—or whatever it is—until it floats. Don’t stop holding the selecting object.

Floating photo and text.
Dragging a photo and text.

Now, with a different finger, you can navigate around the phone like you normally would. Keep the first finger pressed on the screen and use your other finger to open the destination.

Dragging a photo to the multitasking pane.
Opening the multitasking screen while dragging a photo.

Release your finger when you’re ready to drop the object. You can see the entire process in the video below.

Here’s another example. Grab a photo from the Photos app, go to the Home screen, open Messages, compose a new message, and drop the photo. Pretty slick.

The key is to “hold” the original object—whether it’s a photo, text selection, or link—with one finger and then navigate to the destination app with another finger. There’s no limitation to how you can navigate while holding the object.

This is an incredibly powerful productivity feature for iPhone users to know. Not having to download images and upload them to different apps or copy and paste text and links is a big time saver. As time goes on, more apps will support the feature, making it even better.

RELATED: How to Copy Text From a Picture on iPhone

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