Use camera modes on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

Find out 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, iPad and iPod touch 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 between photo, video, time-lapse, slo-mo, square, Portrait and pano modes.

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



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

Your camera will focus and adjust the 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 creates a depth-of-field effect that keeps your subject sharp while blurring the background. You can use Portrait mode with iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone SE (2nd generation), iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 7 Plus. 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 further 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. Once you’ve taken your photo, tap Edit and choose from Studio Light, Contour Light, Stage Light or Stage Light Mono. And with iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone SE (2nd generation), iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, 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 favourite social platforms.

On iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone SE (2nd generation), iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro, tap the arrow  to access Square mode and other options.



Use Pano mode to capture a wide-angle landscape by moving your device slowly. 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 that 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 move your camera slowly in a straight line from one side of your shot to the next. Try to keep the arrow on the yellow guide bar while moving it.



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.

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.

If you have an iPhone 13 model, you can add depth of field to your videos with Cinematic mode. And to speed up your video or slow it down on all devices, try Slo-mo or Time-lapse modes.

Cinematic mode

With Cinematic mode, your iPhone 13 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, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max. Find out more about using Cinematic mode on your iPhone.


Make your favourite moments last longer 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 when you want it to.


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 takes photos periodically until you tap the shutter button again.

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