How To: The 7 Best New Camera Features in iOS 11 for iPhone

The 7 Best New Camera Features in iOS 11 for iPhone

There are a ton of new features in iOS 11, but some of the best ones, in my opinion, are in the Camera app. They're not huge features, but they're much appreciated to anyone who's ever taken a Live Photo or portrait, or even to those who've needed to scan a QR code quickly.

While some of the new photo-friendly features are geared specifically to iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X users, who get the benefit of a dual-lens setup, the rest of these Camera upgrades are items most of us can enjoy in iOS 11. And these new features range from new filters and effects to better file size management and more lively photos all around.

1. You Can Scan QR Codes Finally

The first new update to the Camera app in iOS 11 is the addition of a built-in QR code scanner. QR codes aren't exactly popular within the US, but you will find them every so often when out and about. And when you do find them, you'll be able to scan them directly with the Camera app instead of having to download a third-party app to do so.

Not only will the Camera app be able to scan QR codes from billboards, posters, and flyers, but it'll also be able to scan QR codes from other mobile phones or tablets, as well as on computer screens. You don't have to make the QR code fit perfectly within a square or right under a red line (like you do on Android) — it'll scan just fine as long as the QR code is visible no matter what angle it's scanned from.

As seen on NYC MTA bus stops (left) and calling a number — it's a real number, I swear! (right).

If for some reason you don't like the Camera scanning QR codes automatically, you can disable this in Settings -> Camera, where you can toggle off "Scan QR Codes."

2. There Are New Compression Methods

Perhaps the most appreciated feature will be the new compression methods for photos and videos. According to Apple, your photographs and videos shall remain at the same quality and clarity, while using half the amount of storage space as before. This should prevent users from running out of storage space as quickly while being able to save more memories than ever before.

For videos, there's HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Coding) at H.265 instead of H.264, and for photos, there's HEIF (High-Efficiency Image File Format). To make sure you're taking use of this, just to go to Settings -> Camera -> Formats and make sure "High Efficiency" is checked. Videos will be saved as HEVC .MOV files, while images will be saved as .HEIC instead of .JPG.

Right now, these new formats are only for devices with the Apple A10 chip, so for iPhones, that means the iPhone 7 models. Older devices with the A9 chip can decode them.

3. You Can Edit & Add Effects to Live Photos

Taking photographs has always been difficult, especially if you're taking a pic of more than one person. The shot you got was the shot you were stuck with (unless you happen to have the time to take a bunch, or used Burst to give you more choices).

But then Apple introduced Live Photos, which completely changed the way Apple users were able to share moments and memories with one another. It didn't matter if Uncle George wasn't smiling or if Aunty Ellen closed her eyes, you could always hold down on the picture itself and find a moment that looked perfect. However, Live Photos didn't come with any tools to edit or play around with the animation aspect.

Seriously, Apple has done spectacularly with the new editing tools and effects in iOS 11. You can now pick the still image in a Live Photo, trim the animation, add loop, bounce, or live exposure effects, and even share them more easily. We've already gone through these new features in detail, and they're seriously impressive. You can take a look at everything we've found in the article below.

Picking a new Live Photo still (left) and the new Bounce effect (right). Images by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

And while you may think these are more Photos features, don't forget you can access all these great features from the Camera app too.

4. Portrait Mode Got More Functionality

While the iPhone 7 Plus is the only device with a dual-camera setup, it's a fairly popular device. Owners of the 7 Plus should be happy to hear that Portrait mode is getting an impressive upgrade. Starting with OIS (optical image stabilization) to flash finally being enabled, as well HDR compatibility.

The blurred out background effect of Portrait mode should now look much better at nighttime since you'll be able to use the LED flash. If HDR (high-dynamic range photography) is enabled, then your iPhone will combine images to get you the most vibrant and detailed shots possible.

WHT news intern Jake without HDR enabled (left) and with (right).

We have a complete and thorough examination of the new Portrait mode available at the link below, so be sure to check that out if you own an iPhone 7 Plus.

5. There Are Fresh Camera Filters

Filters seem to be all the rage these days; Everyone's going crazy for them, from Instagram to Snapchat to WhatsApp and Kik Messenger. While Apple doesn't exactly have the same sort of silly and festive filters in their Camera app, they do have filters that change the mood and feel.

While some of the new filters look very similar to the old ones that were there, only with different names, they are slightly better. The new filters include Vivid and Dramatic, along with a couple of variances that either increase or decrease the warmth of the picture. Less blue for a warmer picture, more blue for a cooler picture. We also see a couple of old filters such as Chrome and Instant disappear in iOS 11.

Filters available in iOS 10 (left) and in iOS 11 (right).

6. The Camera Has Its Own Settings Now

Previously, the Camera app's settings were lumped in with the Photos app (listed as "Photos & Camera"), but now the Camera finally gets the appreciation it deserves with its own separate option in the Settings.

7. There's a Hidden Level for Overhead or Skyview Pics

If you tend to take a lot of top-down or straight-up photos, you'll be excited to know that the Camera app now has a built-in level to help you get the best possible shot. It's not on by default, so you'll need to enable it in the settings. Once you do, you'll have a set of crosshairs that will align into one set that will show you that you're perfectly parallel to the ground.

We might see more improvements and updates in future iOS 11 updates, so be sure to check back and see what else Apple has to offer in the near future. Until then, share your thoughts and comments on the camera changes with us in the section down below!

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover photo and screenshots by Kevin M./Gadget Hacks (unless otherwise indicated)

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