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iPhone 15 camera has a brilliant feature you need to start using

Published Sep 27th, 2023 5:36PM EDT
iPhone 15 Back
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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If you’re a longtime iPhone user, you have probably developed various habits over the years that pertain to certain aspects of the phone. But now that the iPhone 15 and iOS 17 are out, you’ll need to adjust your habits while you learn a few simple but brilliant features that will change the way you use your iPhone as of the latest software updates.

I told you recently about one such iOS 17 trick that concerns Apple’s Messages app — a way to quickly share photos by tapping and holding the “+” symbol. You need to learn another critical photo-related trick in iOS 17, but this one only applies to the four iPhone 15 models: You no longer have to remember to enable the camera’s Portrait mode.

Any photo you take with the iPhone 15/Plus or the iPhone 15 Pro/Max models can be turned into a Portrait mode photo after the fact. That means you’ll no longer have to fumble through the camera menu as you hurry to capture that perfect shot.

Apple introduced Portrait mode with the iPhone X in 2017. In Portrait mode, iPhones capture depth information and then apply bokeh effects (the background blur) accordingly. But the iPhone 15 models feature a notable upgrade to this process. You no longer have to set the Camera to Portrait mode to take portrait photos.

All you have to do is point and shoot. Each photo the iPhone captures contains depth of field information automatically so that you can adjust after the fact.

iPhone 15 can turn any photo featuring people, cats and dogs into portraits.
iPhone 15 can turn any photo featuring people, cats, and dogs into portraits. Image source: Apple Inc.

The best part about this new Camera feature is that you don’t need to have an iPhone 15 Pro or 15 Pro Max to take advantage of it. The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus will also get the job done. Annoyingly, the feature hasn’t trickled down to the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, which feature the same camera tech and chip as the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus.

To turn regular photos into portraits, head to the Photos app, tap the Portrait menu that appears at the top of the screen, and the iPhone will do the rest. Use the menus that appear to alter the depth information so you can adjust the blur effect. Moreover, if multiple subjects appear in the photo, you can switch the focus to any of them.

The new portrait editing features seen on an iPhone 15 Pro.
The new portrait editing features seen on an iPhone 15 Pro. Image source: Apple Inc.

This iPhone 15 camera trick will change how you take photos, especially if you’re a fan of portraits. But it only works if the subject is a person, cat, or dog.

I will also point out that the Portrait mode still exists in the Camera app. You can manually switch to it, and many people will do it because that’s how they’ve been taking photos on iPhone since 2017. But you don’t have to do it for most of your regular photos. Especially moments that are easy to miss.

Finally, I’ll also point out that the iPhone 15 portrait trick only works with images that were captured using one of the four new iPhones. That’s because you need that depth information to turn regular photos into portraits after you’ve taken them.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.