Arriving Monday, Oct. 24, the major new feature in iOS 10.1 is reserved only for iPhone 7 Plus owners. Portrait Mode automatically blurs out the background while keeping the subject of the photo in focus.
How it works
The wide angle and telephoto lenses on the iPhone 7 Plus work in tandem to help create the feature.
The special effect is reserved only for the larger iPhone 7 because of the camera that features both a telephoto and wide-angle lens.
Combining the dual lenses along with advanced machine learning allows the iPhone to capture an image with the subject sharp and in focus while the background is blurred.
The look is also known as the bokeh effect, and it’s usually been reserved for high-end and expensive DSLR camera. But that’s no longer the case.
Taking a photo
The on-screen instructions will help guide you.
Once you update an iPhone 7 Plus to iOS 10.1 over-the-air or through iTunes, head to the stock Camera app. Then slide on over to the Portrait setting.
Unlike other types of photo or video modes, there will be a number of different on-screen instructions that will tell you how to frame a shot. You may need more light or even to get closer or move further away from a subject. As a rule, any subject usually needs to be within 8 feet to get a shot.
To help the overall experience, you can even see a real-time preview of the subject with the Depth Effect. When ready, just tap the shutter button to capture the image.
Just like with high dynamic range shots, you can select to keep both the Portrait Mode photo and regular image without the depth effect. That option can be found in Settings, Photos & Camera. Since I have a 256GB iPhone, I’ve selected to keep both versions of the photo. But anyone with a 32GB might think twice about that to help save space.
Any well-lit and still subject looks great.
I’ve been using Portrait Mode since the first iOS 10.1 beta and have come away really pleased. While the feature is still officially in beta mode, the results for the most part have been spectacular.
Along with taking portrait-type shots, I’ve gotten some great results taking snaps of pets and still objects. It’s far from perfect, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the feature improves over time.
Even though I’ve taken some relatively nice photos with well-lit subjects indoors, the feature really shines with still objects and people outside.
If you’re still in the market for an iPhone 7 and are on the fence about what model to purchase, Portrait Mode alone is enough for me to recommend the larger iPhone 7 Plus to virtually anyone, especially users who rely on the handset as their go-to camera.
Let us know in the comments if you have any questions about how to shoot pictures with the feature.