There are a few big changes in iOS 1
Newer iPhones get the biggest upgrades
One of the biggest improvements in the camera app is the raw performance. Apple claims it is up to 90 percent faster and can take four pictures per second. The time it takes for your iPhone 11 to take its first cold shot has improved by 25 percent, and portraiture has improved by 15 percent.
However, Apple has limited many of these improvements to newer devices like the iPhone 11 (and 11 Pro), XR, and XS. After testing the camera app and browsing the settings on an iPhone X and iPhone 11, the former barely improved on iOS 13.
Many of these changes will likely depend on the newer processors on the newer devices. Regardless of the age of your iPhone, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you improve your photography.
A slider for the correct exposure compensation
Locking focus and exposure on an iPhone is a fiddly experience. First, you need to tap and hold the area that you want to focus on. Then move the exposure slider up or down to increase or decrease the amount of light in the scene. It is an exercise in patience that often leads to failure.
The iOS 14 improvements to the camera app make it a lot easier to fine-tune the exposure and adjust the amount of light in a scene. To do this, open the camera app and tap the up arrow at the top of the screen. In the menu that appears, tap the plus / minus (+/-) sign to display the exposure compensation dial.
Slide the watch face left or right to increase or decrease the amount of light in your scene. You can also tap anywhere on the screen to control focus without losing your exposure settings. As soon as you have set an exposure value, the iPhone saves it until the next time you open the camera app.
While using exposure compensation, you will see an exposure meter in the upper left that shows whether the scene is under- (if the counter is tilted to the left) or overexposed (if the counter is tilted to the right). Note that exposure compensation only fine-tunes the current scene – it’s not completely manual control.
The camera app will continue to adjust to the lighting conditions unless you tap and hold the viewfinder to lock the exposure. That way, you’ll get a lot more control over a scene and then move your fingers over the little box that appears.
Much faster shooting
The fastest way to take a series of photos is in burst mode. To do this, just tap and hold the trigger. When you’re done, you can examine all of the photos and keep the good ones. In iOS 14, you can also quickly take photos by tapping the shutter button repeatedly.
In iOS 13, this results in a jerk as the iPhone processes each photo after it is taken. Go to Settings> Camera and enable “Prioritize faster shots”. Your iPhone will then prioritize speed over image quality by reducing the processing overhead of each shot.
With the priority of the shutter, iOS 14 offers a more natural recording experience that is not unlike a mirrorless or digital SLR camera. You won’t have long bursts either, but individual photos to sort through.
This feature works on iPhone XS, XR, 11, and 11 Pro.
Android mirrored selfies forever. Now (finally) the iPhone too. In iOS 13 and earlier, iOS automatically flips photos so that the viewer doesn’t get any backward-facing text.
If you’d rather save an identical “mirrored” version of a selfie that you see in the viewfinder, turn on “Front camera settings” under “Settings”> “Camera”.
This feature is available for iPhone XS, XR and higher.
Night mode improvements
Night mode now includes guides to help you keep your device still while recording. Keeping the camera as still as possible will take a clearer picture in night mode. To help you, two crosshairs will appear on the screen (similar to taking a photo looking straight down).
Keep the crosshairs aligned for the best shot possible. If you wobble and they are not properly aligned, you can realign them for a slightly better result. For best results, place your iPhone on a tripod when recording in night mode.
Night mode is only available for iPhone 11 and higher.
QuickTake is now available on iPhone XR and XS
QuickTake is Apple’s continuously running video functionality. You can quickly start recording a video even with your camera in standard photo mode. This will reduce the delay caused by switching from photo to video.
This feature was previously limited to iPhone 11 or better, but iOS 14 is retroactively adding the feature to the iPhone XR and XS. Just launch the camera app and hold the volume up or shutter button. To lock the picture, press and hold the shutter button, then swipe right.
Use Volume Up for Burst instead of QuickTake
By default, pressing the volume up button in the camera app starts a QuickTake video. On older devices, the volume up button takes a normal photo.
If you have a newer iPhone, you can now choose to enable QuickTake or Burst when you hold the volume up button. To activate Burst, simply switch on the “Use volume for burst” option under Settings> Camera.
To start a QuickTake video, press and hold the volume down key. This setting affects iPhone XR, XS, and later devices.
A new menu with camera settings
Changing the camera settings previously involved tapping small icons at the top of the screen. iOS 14 put all of these settings in a single menu alongside the new exposure compensation controls.
If you have an iPhone XR and XS or later, you can access these settings by tapping the down arrow at the top of the screen.
It’s unclear why Apple limited this change to only the last two generations of iPhone while older devices share the same user interface. Maybe next year iPhone X owners!
Further photographic improvements to follow?
The successor to the iPhone 11 has been delayed this year. Usually, Apple announces the new phone along with the iOS 14 update and it will be released about a week after the event.
This year’s iPhone event is expected in October, so we won’t have to wait long to hear about the improvements to this year’s models. It would be nice if Apple introduced night mode for all lenses this time.
Want to learn more about iPhone photography? Read our ultimate guide to the iOS camera app.
CONNECTED: How to Use the iPhone Camera App: The Ultimate Guide