Use camera modes on your iPhone or iPad

Learn how to use Portrait, pano, slo-mo, and other camera modes on your device.

Find the perfect mode for your moment

The camera modes built into your iPhone and iPad help you take the ideal photo or video. Swipe left or right on the camera screen to switch to a different mode. You can choose from photo, video, time-lapse, slo-mo, square, Portrait, Cinematic, and pano modes. You can also take a photo while you record a video or use QuickTake to record videos when you're in Photo mode.

Before you start, make sure that you have the latest version of iOS or iPadOS.

The Photo mode in your iPhone Camera app. 


Photo is the standard mode that you'll see when you open the Camera app. You use this mode to take still photos and Live Photos.

Your camera focuses and adjusts exposure automatically based on what you’re pointing it towards. You can tap a different area in the viewfinder to change the focus and exposure. If you want to keep the focus and exposure in the same spot, press and hold on the screen until you see AE/AF Lock.


With iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and later, you can use QuickTake to record videos easily in photo mode. With other iPhone models, you can press and hold the shutter button to take a quick burst of photos. Just let go of the shutter button to stop.

Portrait mode in your iPhone Camera app.



Portrait mode creates a depth-of-field effect that keeps your subject sharp while blurring the background. You can use Portrait mode on iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, and later. If you have an iPhone X or later, you can also take a selfie in Portrait mode. You can also use Portrait Mode with the front-facing camera on iPad Pro 11-inch (all generations) and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later).

To use Portrait mode, open the Camera app and swipe to Portrait mode. Move farther away from your subject if the app suggests it. When the Depth Effect box turns yellow, take the picture.

With iPhone X and later, and iPhone 8 Plus, you can make your Portrait mode images even more captivating with studio-quality lighting effects. After you take your photo, tap Edit and choose from Studio Light, Contour Light, Stage Light, or Stage Light Mono. And with iPhone XS and later, you can create a beautiful, classic look with High-Key Light Mono.

On iPhone XR, the Stage Light, Stage Light Mono, and High-Key Light Mono effects aren't available with the rear-facing camera.


Square mode limits the frame of your camera screen to a square — the optimal photo size for many social media apps. So when you take a photo, you can quickly share it on your favorite social platforms.

On iPhone 11 and later, tap the arrow to access square mode and other options.

Pano mode on your iPhone Camera app 


Use pano mode to capture a wide-angle landscape by slowly moving your device. Pano mode gives you a guide bar in the middle of the screen to help you take your photo. If you want to start the photo from the left, make sure the arrow is pointing to the right. If you want to start from the right, tap the arrow and change its direction.

Tap the shutter button, then slowly move your camera in a straight line from one side of your shot to the next. Try to keep the arrow on the yellow guide bar as you go.

Recording a video on an iPhone using the Camera app



When you go to any video mode, the shutter button turns from white to red. Tap the shutter once to start recording, then tap it again to stop. While you record your video, you can hit the white shutter button to take a still photo.

Want to edit the length of your video? Tap Edit or the edit button the edit button, then move the slider to adjust the start and stop times. Tap Done to save your changes.

Cinematic mode

With Cinematic mode, your iPhone camera can record videos with a shallow depth of field and add beautiful focus transitions for a cinema-grade look.

Cinematic mode requires iPhone 13 or later. Learn more about using Cinematic mode on your iPhone.

Action mode

With Action mode, you can capture smooth hand-held video even when you’re moving around a lot. To turn on Action mode, tap the button.

Action mode requires iPhone 14. Learn more about Action mode on your iPhone.



With slow-motion videos, your video records as normal. But when you play it back, you see the slo-mo effect. You can edit your video so that the slo-mo action starts and stops at a time you choose.


Capture footage at selected intervals to create a time‑lapse video that’s quick and easy to share. When you go to time-lapse mode and tap the shutter button, your camera periodically takes photos until you tap the shutter button again.

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