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.

Google Photos can now adjust background blur on Portrait Mode pics

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Google Photos library backup on iPhone X
Google Photos is the photo and video backup app we all wish Apple would give us.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

You no longer need to buy the iPhone XS or XS Max to take advantage of one of the best features on the new devices’ camera.

Google Photos pushed out an update this morning that allows any iPhone owner with a Portrait Mode camera to adjust the background blur after a photo has been taken.

Halide fixes iPhone XR’s Portrait Mode

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Halide iPhone xr portrait mode
Halide unlocks Portrait Mode on the iPhone XR.
Photo: Chroma Noir LLC

Apart from the screen, the big different between the iPhone XS and XR is the camera. The XS has two, and the XR only has one. This means that — like a one-eyed person — the XR camera can’t calculate the depth of objects in a scene, and therefore can’t use the Depth Blur feature to blur the background. It works around this by using clever facial recognition tricks to allow Portrait Mode with people, but that’s it.

Until now, that it. In its latest update, camera app Halide adds back this functionality to the new iPhone. That’s right. With Halide, you can take depth-effect pictures of anything with the iPhone XR.

iPhone XR camera gives some iPhone XS users buyer’s remorse

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iPhone XR portrait mode
Thinking the iPhone XR would have been worth the wait?
Photo: Apple

The early reviews for the camera on the iPhone XR have been impressive – and that has a few who purchased the iPhone XS wishing they had waited a few weeks.

Apple, trying to accommodate more budget-minded consumers, announced the mid-range iPhone XR for $799 at the same time it unveiled the more expensive iPhone XS and XS Max.

The XS line was available on Sept. 21 while the XR, not quite ready for shelves then, went on sale today.

How to get extreme background blur in iPhone XS photos

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What's the fastest cake in the world?
What's the fastest cake in the world?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPhone XS Portrait Mode is the best thing to happen to iPhone photography in quite a while. It uses the XS’ dual cameras, plus the A12 chip’s Neural Engine, to work out how far away everything is in your photos. Then, it blurs everything in the background, just as if you used a fancy big camera.

But what if you want more blur? The XS’ Depth Control feature is very realistic, but maybe it’s a bit too realistic? Maybe you want to really wipe out that background with some extra blur. The good news is, there are some great apps that do that.

The iPhone XS Camera review for iPhone 7 owners

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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.

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.

Know the differences between iPhone XS and iPhone XR

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iPhone xs xr compared
With all these vibrant options, the iPhone XR wins the color game.
Photo: Apple

Unlike previous iPhone launches, it’s not immediately obvious which iPhone you should buy if you want the best. Or rather, the iPhone XS is clearly the flagship model, but the iPhone XR, launching a month later, has some features which are better than its sibling.

So, what are the important differences to know before you choose which new iPhone X is right for you?

Everything you need to know about your iPhone camera’s aperture

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Here I could have blurred the netting by using a wider aperture.
Here I could have blurred the netting by using a wider aperture.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

A few days ago, we learned about the iPhone’s shutter, the part of the camera that “opens and closes” to let light onto the sensor. Today, we’re taking an in-depth look at the aperture, aka hole. The aperture is an opening in the lens that can be made bigger or smaller. Like shutter speed, its primary purpose is to control how much light reacts with camera the sensor (or film).

Also like shutter speed, aperture has some extra effects on how the image looks. Specifically, it can control how much of the image, front to back, looks sharp.