Use camera modes on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

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, 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 from photo, video, time-lapse, slo-mo, square, Portrait, and pano modes.

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

 

Photo

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

Your camera automatically focuses the image and adjusts the exposure based on what you’re pointing it towards. That way, you always start with a brightly lit photo.

You can change the camera focus and exposure to a specific area. Before you take the photo, tap the place on the screen that you want to adjust. 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

Portrait mode creates a depth-of-field effect. This effect lets you compose a photo that keeps your subject sharp while blurring the background. You can use Portrait mode with an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Maxi, Phone 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. Learn how to identify your iPhone.

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 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone SE (2nd generation), iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max 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

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 an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Maxi, Phone SE (2nd generation), iPhone 11, or iPhone 11 Pro, tap the arrow  to see more options, including square mode.

Pano

Want to capture a breathtaking landscape, but the entire view won't fit on your camera screen? Use pano mode to get a stunning wide-angle photo. 

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 and 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.

 

 

Video

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 and move the slider to adjust the start and stop times. Tap Done to save your changes.

Want to speed up your video or slow it down? Try slo-mo or time-lapse modes.

 

Slo-mo

Make your favorite 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 even edit your video so that the slo-mo action starts and stops at a time you choose.

 

Time-lapse

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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