How to change background blur in iPhone XS and XR photos

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Depth Control on iPhone XS
Depth Control can add subtle or wild background blur to your images.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The iPhone XS has an  amazing camera, and the best part of that camera is the Depth Control feature, which lets you adjust the background blur after you take the photo.

This is a powerful feature, but to get the most out of it, you might want to check out these tips and tricks on using Depth Control on iPhone XS.

5 great apps that bust out the bokeh on iPhone XS and XR

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The iPhone XS' new bokeh tool is just the beginning.
The iPhone XS' new bokeh tool is just the beginning.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPhone XS camera is pretty incredible. The device uses its two rear cameras, plus the A12 chip’s Neural Engine, to record such an accurate 3D map of the scene that you can adjust the background blur with a slider. But that depth map is useful for more than just blurring backgrounds. It can be used by other apps to:

  • Add realistic lights to a scene.
  • Choose any subject to be in focus, not just the one you picked when shooting.
  • Add custom background blurs.
  • Remove and replace backgrounds, like movie green-screen effects.

The iPhone XS is the gold standard for iOS cameras, but the XR manages some excellent tricks of its own. Despite having only one rear camera, the XR can still recognise people, and then use AI and the super-powerful A12 Neural Engine to separate out the person form the background. While this portrait matte isn’t as detailed as an iPhone XS depth map, it can in theory still be used to do many of the same tricks.

Today we’ll look at the best depth apps for the new iPhone XS, XR, and XS Max.

iPhone XR Portrait Mode has one serious limitation

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iPhone XR
Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting on the iPhone XR.
Photo: Apple

Portrait Mode on the iPhone XR may not be as fully-baked as the version found on Apple’s other iPhones.

The iPhone XR looks like it has almost all of the same features as its higher-priced siblings. Even though it only has one camera lens in the back, it can still take Portrait Mode photos. However, attendees at Apple’s keynote yesterday found out the iPhone XR version only works on people.

iPhone X camera officially ‘studio quality’

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Apple ad says iPhone X takes studio-quality portraits.
There were some complaints after Apple ads claimed the iPhone X takes "studio-quality portraits."
Photo: Apple

The advertising regulatory body in the UK ruled that Apple can say that the  iPhone X takes “studio-quality portraits.”

An ad for this smartphone promised “Radically new cameras with Portrait Lighting. Studio-quality portraits. Without the studio.” However, this brought two complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Apple throws shade at Android in hilarious iPhone ads

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Apple ad
Up your selfie game with Portrait Lighting.
Photo: Apple

Apple is back with a new set of ads aiming to get Android users to switch to iPhone. The two new ads showcase Portrait Mode and Portrait Lightning on the newest iPhones, while also bragging about the App Store’s security compared to Google Play.

Watch them both:

Apple breaks down just what makes Portrait Lighting special on iPhone X

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portrait mode
Even our very own Ste Smith can benefit from the magic of Portrait Lighting.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is very proud of its Portrait Lighting feature for the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus, and it’s willing to let users take a peek behind the Cupertino curtain to show exactly why.

In a new video shared Wednesday evening, Apple gives an overview of the development process which led to Portrait Lighting — including collaborations with photographers to study lighting, state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, and more. Check it out below.

Apple shows iPhone X camera in a new light

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The iPhone X camera's Portrait Lighting will blow you away.
The iPhone X camera will blow you away.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone X’s advanced camera gets some prime time in the spotlight in Apple’s latest ad.

Apple dropped the fun new spot, which highlights the next-gen photographic features of the $1,000 iPhone, this afternoon. While Portrait Mode loomed large in 2017’s marketing, Apple apparently wants to make Portrait Lighting the next big thing this year.

How to use Portrait Mode on iPhone X and 8

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iPhone 8 Plus portrait lighting camera
Portrait Lighting can make a movie star out of almost anyone. Almost.
Photo: Ste Smith/ Cult of Mac

Portrait mode is an iPhone 7 feature that has been supercharged in the iPhones X and 8, with the addition of Portrait Lighting. Both features use depth data from these iPhones’ dual cameras, either to separate the subject of the photo from its background, or to completely re-light the photo to add drama. Here’s how to make the most of them.