The New & Improved Camera Features of the iPhone XR

When it comes to technology, we can all rely on one thing: change! Doesn’t it always feel like companies release brand new models with better bells and whistles? And usually right after we’ve committed to a big technology purchase!

Apple is notorious for doing this, especially with iPhones. But if you’re in the market for a smartphone upgrade and you love snapping photos with your phone, it would be worth taking a look at Apple’s iPhone latest camera improvements.

Last September, Apple released two new iPhone models: the Xs and Xs-Max. Both of these phones now have dual camera lenses, but they are definitely on the pricier side. A more affordable option, and the one we will highlight in this post, is the iPhone XR.

We’re going to talk about some of the new iPhone XR’s latest camera features, and tell you how each of these can improve your pictures.

Improved Image Display

One of the most noticeable differences between older phones and the new iPhone XR is the display. The screen reaches from edge-to-edge, and corner to corner.

The color-accurate LCD makes your photos as close to true life as they can get.

Apple also improved the construction of these new phones with water and dust-resistant sealing. You don’t want to drop it in a swimming pool, but you can take photos in the rain without worry.

A Phone That Learns

The new iPhones combine two cutting-edge technologies that work together to learn more about you, what you look like, and how you use your phone.

First is Apple’s Neural Engine — a tiny, but powerful chip inside the phone that allows it to “learn” in real time.

The second is the True Depth Camera System. Apple describes this technology as a super-fast photo assistant inside your phone, automatically stabilizing and adjusting your images as you take them.

Two examples of popular features using these technologies involve how your phone looks at your face with the reverse, or front-facing camera!

Face ID recognizes you to unlock your phone and bypasses manual login to apps and websites. And the more you unlock your phone with FaceID, the better your phone recognizes you.

For example, your phone learns facial movements, or that you occasionally wear glasses or a hat, and responds accordingly. Not only is this a time saver, but provides an extra level of security.

Expressive Memoji in Text Messaging starts with you creating your own “animated face.” When you choose the “Memoji” icon just below the iMessage text box, your phone recognizes and adds your own expressions and voice in a recorded message. It’s much like sending a photo or short gif video.

Memoji Guide

But don’t worry! This technology doesn’t mean your phone is constantly watching you, or tracking your movements and reporting them to Apple. These features simply help add convenient shortcuts and a new texting feature.

A Smartphone with an Even Smarter Camera

The combination of the iPhone’s new technologies results in a camera that rivals those of professional photographers. In certain photo modes, you have the ability to manually set lighting and depth of field.

Enhanced Portrait Mode
While iPhone 7Plus, 8Plus, and X models added Portrait Mode to the camera, Apple greatly enhanced its features in the iPhone XR. Portrait Mode also works on the front-facing camera, so you can take portrait selfies.

When in Portrait Mode, you can change lighting effects and depth of field with your subject in the viewfinder, saving you from editing photos later. This is only true if your phone has the latest version of iOS, so be sure to update if you are using older models with Portrait Mode.

Lighting effects
Portrait Mode includes three default Lighting Effects: Natural, Studio, and Contour Light. When the camera detects a person, two more choices appear: Stage Light and Stage Light Mono.

To change the lighting effect prior to taking a photo, tap on the light box at the bottom of the viewfinder and drag to your desired setting.

Depth of field
Apple calls this feature Depth Control and you change it while you ready your camera shot. This effect is also known as Bokeh, a Japanese term meaning “blur quality.” Photographers create this effect by softly blurring everything behind the primary subject.

To create this effect in your photos:

  • Slide the camera image control to Portrait Mode.
  • Tap the circled “f” icon in the top right corner of the screen.
  • Focus in on your subject then slide the Depth Control scale just above the white shutter button. The lower the “f” number, the blurrier the background.
iPhoneXR Portrait Mode Guide
We took a screenshot of a PTO Team member to show you what the viewfinder tools look like in Portrait Mode.

One drawback of the iPhone XR is Portrait Mode only works on human subjects. If you want to take portraits of your pet, or flowers in your garden, you’ll have to use the other camera modes, or upgrade to the iPhone Xs.

Have fun experimenting with some of the new features. You’ll see the payoff in higher quality photos. For more help with Portrait Mode, click here.

Better Low-Light Detail
Apple improved the camera sensor assists for better low light photos. Larger pixels allow more light in, while deeper pixels keep the photo constant

Better Action Shots
The improved camera sensors are also faster, providing zero shutter lag for clearer action shots.

If you’re looking for some general tips on taking better photos, read this previous post, or check out the iPhone Photography School.

Easier on Your Wallet and Fits in Your Pocket

You may be wondering if it makes sense to pay even more for your next smartphone.

If you enjoy taking lots of photos with your phone, the new iPhone’s camera improvements could take the place of an expensive DSLR camera. You can actually save money while carrying an amazing camera with you in your pocket or purse all the time.

You also get the ease of sharing your photos via the cloud directly to editing apps and built-in photo storage.

If your plan allows for a trade in, consider snatching up the newest iPhone model for the fun and adventure if its advanced technology.

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