iPhone camera

The iPhone Camera is incredibly powerful and versatile while still being point-and-shoot simple. Here’s a quick guide to the basic features:

Photo takes a picture. When the Live Photo icon in the top right (a few circles with dotted lines) is yellow, your phone will record a short snippet of video around the picture. You can turn these into cool animated effects.

Portrait mode will artificially blur the background, like a DSLR camera. This works best if there’s a lot of clear separation between your subject and the background. I also recommend using this feature outside during the day, or indoors with a lot of even light, for the best results. You can also pick a few color effects; the zoom control is moved to the corner.

Swipe right or tap the word Video to record instead. In the upper right corner, you can tap to change the video resolution or frame rate. As you’re recording, hit the white button to take a picture.

If your phone has multiple lenses, you can tap .51, 2, 3 or 5 to switch between them. You can also swipe left and right to freely zoom in and out. Tap the Reverse button in the bottom right to switch to the front-facing camera.

Tap the icon of a person running to turn on Action mode. This will stabilize the video if you’re filming handheld with a lot of motion. This feature requires an iPhone 14 or newer.

Cinematic mode is like Portrait mode for video. It’ll intelligently determine the focus of the shot and blur the background. You can even adjust the focus after the video’s been taken. This is available on the iPhone 13 or newer.

Slo-Mo will record video at a much higher frame rate, played back in slow motion. In the upper right corner, you can set the speed. 120 is 4 times slower; 240 is eight times slower.

Time-Lapse is the opposite; it’ll speed up your video. Set your phone steady on a ledge, shelf or tripod and start recording. However long you record for, it’ll shorten the result to about twenty seconds or so.

Pano will take a panorama. Hold your phone steady (or put it on a tripod) and tap the button to start. Slowly and steadily spin your phone around in a circle to capture your surroundings.

Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on iPhone camera:

How to take solar eclipse photos with iPhone


How to photograph the solar eclipse with iPhone
Here’s how to take the best solar eclipse photos with an iPhone.
Photo: Good Free Photos/Unsplash License/Cult of Mac

There are lots of questions about how to take solar eclipse photos with your iPhone. Firstly, can a solar eclipse harm your iPhone’s camera or lenses? Won’t the sun’s rays damage the camera?

Not according to Apple. Cupertino says it’s safe to photograph a total solar eclipse with your iPhone; but be sure to protect your eyes.

However, photographing the solar eclipse is hard without the right tools. To get a good picture of the solar eclipse with your iPhone, you’re going to need a 12-18x telephoto lens attachment, a solar filter and a tripod. Make sure you have everything you need before the big event on Monday.

Here’s how you can get prepared. Watch our new video or keep reading below.

Look up laundry tag and car dashboard symbols with your iPhone camera


What Do They Mean?
Ever wonder what these symbols mean?
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Those cryptic laundry symbols and car dashboard icons are a mystery, until now: your iPhone camera can tell you what they mean. You don’t have to look up a guide or Google their meaning; just take a picture and your iPhone will tell you.

While in my testing, it didn’t identify every single symbol, the feature will do in a pinch. And if you want to use an app for the best possible results, I have two recommendations found on the App Store that can help you.

Why the iPhone 14 Pro cameras are a ‘huge leap’


iPhone 14 Pro Camera Deep Dive
The folks at Halide have published their thorough review of the iPhone 14 Pro camera system.
Photo: Apple, D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

It’s taken a while to fully unpack and understand the technical improvements to the cameras in the iPhone 14 Pro. Camera nerd Sebastiaan de With, co-founder and designer of the highly-respected Halide camera app, has written a detailed review of the improvements to the camera system.

His professional opinion? These are not just great iPhone cameras, they’re great cameras, period.

Moment drops Android camera app to focus exclusively on iOS


iPhone lenses
Moment's Pro Camera app is now iPhone-only.
Photo: Moment

Smartphone lens-maker Moment will develop photo and video apps exclusively for iPhone, after the company said Monday it will discontinue the Android version of its popular Pro Camera app.

Moment, known for its high-quality lenses, bailed on Android because it does not have the “engineering bandwidth” to keep up with the various camera systems among Android brands. The Pro Camera app continues on iOS.

If this is iPhone 11 camera’s Night mode, we can’t wait


Twitter claim showing Night mode
The iPhone 11 series should score high marks for low-light performance if this is Night mode.
Screenshot: Coco Rocha/Twitter

It’s easy to be wowed by the photos Apple shows at the yearly iPhone launch event. Pre-production models are put in the hands of professional photographers skilled enough to deliver results with any camera.

What will pictures look like from the iPhone of an average user?

One Twitter user allegedly got her hands on an iPhone 11 Pro Max that, if legit, shows the promise of Night mode, a new camera feature that comes with the iPhone 11 lineup and iOS 13.

6 months using only an iPhone camera leaves pro photog inspired


Photographer Noe Alonzo used only an iPhone for six months
What could you do with an iPhone as your only camera? Plenty says Noe Alonzo.
Screenshot: Noe Alonzo/YouTube

Photographer Noe Alonzo gave himself a challenge that some people called ridiculous: He worked exclusively with his iPhone 7 Plus for six months.

The results proved stunning. Even more surprising to Alonzo, his project landed him new clients — and gave him humbling insights into his own creativity.

Leaked iPhone 11 mold reveals Apple’s triple-lens camera


Big changes coming to the iPhone 11 might not be on the front.
Big changes coming to the iPhone 11 might not be on the front. Turn it over though...
Photo: 喵王-搞机/Weibo

Information coming out of Apple’s Asian supply chain has been compiled into what could be a very early look at the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Max.

From the front, these look quite a bit like the 2018 models, but the back includes some very significant differences.

Leaked ‘iPhone 11’ schematics show a major camera upgrade


iPhone 11 schematics
Is this our first proper look at the iPhone 11?
Photo: Weibo

Newly leaked schematics might provide our first look at Apple’s next-generation “iPhone 11.”

The technical drawing lends credence to rumors of a major camera upgrade for the upcoming device. However, if the iPhone 11 schematics prove legit, fans might not be happy with the placement of the smartphone’s camera lenses.

Killer underwater photos could be iPhone’s next big camera upgrade


underwater iPhone photography
Future iPhones could encourage users to dive into underwater photography.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

The iPhone makes a pretty nice picture underwater. Whether it’s with a 6s in a waterproof case or the latest submersible iPhone XS, you can record an image that rivals any picture produced with a dedicated underwater camera.

But only in a limited range of conditions and with a little luck.

Now, Apple believes it can improve future iPhone cameras to automatically sense when a picture is being made underwater and adjust according to light, depth and the degree of murkiness.

Huawei smartphone cameras beating iPhone at its game


Huawei Pro30 Pro
That's some good bokeh.
Screenshot: Huawei/YouTube

The devoted iPhone photographer mostly shrugs at the camera tests of DxOMark, but the growing number of smartphones ranking above the best iPhone is hard to ignore.

With the recent release of the Huawei P30 Pro, there are now five smartphone cameras that best the iPhone XS Max in the independent lab’s gauntlet of tests. The top three spots belong to Huawei.

Is iPhone in danger of losing its photography crown? [Opinion]


iPhone camera
The Nokia 9 PureView has five main cameras.
Photo: Nokia

On Sunday, Nokia quietly launched a first-of-its-kind smartphone called PureView with an array of five main cameras on its backplate.

Apple set a high bar just two years ago with the dual-camera iPhone 7 Plus. In a year where iPhone users are waiting for Apple to release its first model with a third camera, it’s hard not to feel like Apple has fallen behind in the mobile photography space it defined and owned.

Reliable source predicts 2019 iPhone with 3 oddly arranged camera lenses


A leaked render shows the trio of camera leases that might be a highlight of the 2019 iPhone.
Better cameras, batteries, and more.
Render: OnLeaks/Digit.in

The 2019 iPhone will have a trio of camera lenses in an unusual configuration, if an unconfirmed report is correct.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumors that Apple’s next model will have three rear-facing camera lenses but the way they’ll supposedly be arranged on the device is new.

Update: With the iPhone 11 series now official, turns out this image from January is almost completely accurate.

iPhone XS video impresses, but it’s no match for a cinema cam


iPhone XS video
Is there a major difference? Depends on the size of the screen on which each is viewed.
Photo: Ed Gregory/Pictures In Color

Director Steven Soderbergh called the iPhone the future of cinematography. Filmmaker and photographer Ed Gregory isn’t quite ready to put down his cinema camera.

Still, Gregory came away pretty impressed with the video capabilities of the iPhone XS Max when he tested it recently against his Canon C200.

The iPhone XS Camera review for iPhone 7 owners


Depth Control gets confused by glass.
Depth Control gets confused by glass.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Most iPhone camera reviewers are upgrading from last year’s model, the incredible iPhone X. Most iPhone buyers are upgrading from an earlier iPhone, probably the iPhone 6s or 7. This review is for the buyers. In it, I compare the new iPhone XS camera to the iPhone 7 camera, and talk about just how massive an upgrade this is.

iPhone X owners shouldn’t feel left out, though. Camera-wise, the iPhone XS and XS Max might be the biggest iPhone upgrade since the iPhone 3GS added autofocus. One note: The iPhone XS Max has the exact same camera as the XS, so this review goes for both.

iPhones’ blazing A12 Bionic chip powers ‘new era of photography’


A12 Bionic chip
Phill Schiller showing off pictures from the new iPhone Xs
Photo: Apple

Any mobile photographer wearing an Apple Watch likely received a notification about an irregular heartbeat as they watched Phil Schiller talk this morning about the iPhone Xs series’ new camera.

Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, flashed several stunning images on the screen during today’s Gather Round keynote at the Steve Jobs Theater. The images showed depth, detail and colors not seen from previous-gen iPhones, including the current flagship iPhone X.

Triple-lens iPhone may arrive way sooner than expected


triple-lens iPhone
Huawei made the jump from two lenses, left, to three. Will Apple do it this year?
Photo: Huawei

Another day, another analyst, another report speculating about a future iPhone with three lenses.

A Korean newspaper reporting on an expected Samsung Galaxy S10 with three rear-facing cameras casually mentioned Apple’s first planned three-lens iPhone will be an iPhone X Plus that could launch as early as this year.

Triple-lens iPhone could dominate AR


multi-camera smartphones
Imaging the iPhone with three lenses.
Photo: iDrop News/Martin Hajek

Rumors of Apple introducing a triple-lens iPhone in 2019 is picking up steam after an analyst told investors the three lenses were a likely push to make the iPhone the top augment reality device.

Jialin Lu, a Deutsche Securities analyst, is among the latest in a number of tech observers who believe Apple is planning a three-lens rear camera set-up, though some speculate the third lens may be added to expand the reach of the handset’s zoom function.

How to add extra filter packs to the iPhone’s Photos app


filter packs iPhone
Captured, edited, and filtered, all inside the Camera and Photos apps.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

One lesser known ability of the Photos app on your iPhone is that is can use third-party filter packs. If you install a photo-editing app that supports them, then you can apply that apps filters without ever leaving the Photos app. This makes it super quick to add sophisticated effects to your pictures, and you can revert to the original photo at any time in the future.

Today we’ll see how to use these filter packs, and look at a couple of great apps that have them.