There’s a nifty image editing feature inside Instagram for iPhone that helps you quickly straighten out wonky images before you upload them. It’s fast, and it seems to do a great job of straightening out your photo without any manual tweaking.
That’s thanks to Instagram’s intelligent correction technology, which uses data captured by your iPhone’s internal sensors to establish the orientation of your device when your image was taken.
“Most phones have a variety of sensors that allow us to determine the orientation and tilt of the device relative to a specific reference, meaning we can tell the angle of your phone at the time you took the picture,” explains Alex Restrepo on the Instagram Engineering Blog. “This seemed to us a way of making the feature quick and simple to use, which is something we try to achieve with every feature release.”
So rather than just giving you a bunch of sliders and making you straighten out your images manually — going against the focus on simplicity — Instagram made use of the accelerometer and gyroscope inside of your iPhone to do most of the work automatically.
I say most because there is still one slider that allows you to tweak the angle of your image if you’re not completely happy with it — but you’ll find that the vast majority of the time, Instagram’s own results are plenty good enough.
Instagram even added a little animation to the process to help you understand what’s happening to your image when it’s being straightened out.
“Once you enter the straightening mode, you will notice how the photo is auto straightened in an animated way; when you tap the button the photo is rotated and zoomed in before your eyes,” Restrepo explains. “This animation turned out to be a very important piece of the puzzle as it helps the user understand what is happening to the photo.”
Once you know what exactly Instagram did to your photo, it’s easier to tweak it slightly if you’re not completely happy with the results.
Image straightening is currently available only on the iPhone at the moment, so Instagram users on Android will have to wait for it. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long.