Apple’s new Depth Control feature

Alejandro Apple- Depth Control in iPhone
Alejandro Apple- Depth Control in iPhone

In 2019, Apple showed Portrait Mode Depth control in iPhone with a comical new ‘Alejandro’ advertisement. Apple was continuing its ad campaign focusing on the Portrait Mode and Depth Control features on the iPhone XR and XS. The ad “Alejandro” focuses on using Depth Control to remove someone from the background of an image.

How to Use Depth Control in iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and iPhone XR?

In 2018, in iPhone X, one could use Portrait Mode in the camera app. Although later, Apple made an important improvement. Now, you can use depth control on your iPhone Xs/Xs Max and iPhone XR while clicking a picture and even after taking a photo. Thus Apple has taken iPhone photography to the next level by introducing more advanced bokeh effects and adding depth control to portrait mode photography. Here is how to use depth control on your latest iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and iPhone XR.

If you are new to your device and want to know what depth control can do, it can adjust the strength of blur behind the subject captured even after taking a photo in Portrait Mode.

As a first step Launch the camera app on your iPhone.

Apple camera
Apple camera- Depth Control in iPhone

You can also use 3D Touch to bring up the Portrait Mode option on your iPhone Xs/Xs Max.

  • Now select Portrait Mode from the carousal given above the shutter button → Tap on the button seen (f 5.0) in the top right corner of your phone screen.
  • A measuring line appears at the bottom of the picture you want to capture. This is a depth measurement line, where wider aperture means more blur and smaller aperture means less blur.
  • You can slide right to add more blur (smaller f-stop value) or slide left to bring less blur (larger f-stop value).

Note that you can use the Depth Control slider on any of your devices, as long as they’re running iOS 12. This means that you can shoot on an iPhone XS, but edit on your iPad. The slider is marked with numbers, running from ƒ1.4 to ƒ16. These correspond to the aperture settings on the lens. Adjusting the aperture on a bigger camera affects the amount of background blur. This slider simulates that.

  • All you really need to know is that moving this slider changes the amount of blur. The default is ƒ4.5, and this is usually about right.
  • When you have adjusted the blur effect, tap the shutter button to capture a subject in portrait mode.
  • If you want to change with the blur effects, you don’t need to capture an image a second time.
  • Just Tap on Edit button.
  • Again you will see that depth control interface, which allows you to edit your image.
  • When you have achieved a perfect blur effect, tap on Done.
  • Thus depth control is a significant feature to use. Apple has improved this, and there will be other improvements in its next line-up.

Shooting with the Portrait Mode on iPhone XS

Shooting with the Portrait Mode on iPhone XS
Shooting with the Portrait Mode on iPhone XS

First, put your camera in Portrait Mode, by swiping the screen. To get a good portrait, you must get the subject between about two feet and eight feet away. If you’re snapping an actual portrait, this is a natural distance. On-screen instructions will guide you if you go outside these limits. You can also preview the Portrait Lighting filters when shooting, but that’s optional.

Then, just shoot. The image will be captured and processed, and you can go ahead to the next stage — editing. But be aware of the following points if you want to make your Portrait Mode shot as good as possible.

On the iPhone XS and XS Max, Portrait Mode works with the 2X telephoto camera. This means you’ll have to stand a little further back, but it also means that the result will be more flattering. Because you’re not pushing the camera up in the subject’s face, their face won’t be so distorted.

Make sure you have great light. The iPhone XS camera has incredible low-light performance, but Portrait Mode really likes light. Also, the 2X camera is less sensitive, so needs more light.

Portrait Mode works for any photo, not just portraits. However, if the iPhone XS recognizes a face in the photo, it will lock onto it and generate a super-detailed HD Portrait Map. This captures double the detail of the regular 3D map, and even captures stray hairs around the face.

To toggle Portrait Mode on and off, tap the yellow Portrait label at the top of the screen. You can also adjust the Portrait Lighting on this screen, and its result will depend on the amount of Depth Control blur you add. Sometimes, the photo is marked with the Portrait label, but the Depth Control sliders refuse to appear. In this case, use an app like Slør to make the blur edit.


This is everything to know about Apple’s new depth control feature in iPhone.