Apple Promises to Fix iPhone XS Selfie Smoothing

Posted on October 23, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in iOS with 27 Comments

I’ve fallen and I can’t selfie.

Apple will address “Beautygate,” where iPhone XS and XR selfies are overly smooth and mask imperfections in the subject.

News of the fix comes via The Verge, of course. Because Apple doesn’t have a way to communicate this kind of thing by itself.

“Apple told me that iOS 12.1 will fix a bug in its smart HDR camera system that resulted in smoother-looking photos taken by the front camera on the iPhone XS and XR,” Nilay Patel writes.

Users of the iPhone XS and XS Max immediately noticed this weird effect, which I also highlighted in my iPhone XS review.

“The iPhone XS appears to smooth out selfies so that you look younger (or at least more plastic-like) than is the case with other iPhones,” I wrote at the time. “I’ve seen all kinds of excuses/explanations for this behavior—Apple’s fan base retains its hyper-bias—but whatever. It’s real.”

And now it’s also going to be fixed. According to Patel, “Smart HDR was choosing the wrong base frame for HDR processing when you took a selfie. Instead of choosing a frame with a short shutter speed to freeze motion and preserve detail, it would sometimes choose a frame with longer shutter speed. The front camera also does not have optical image stabilization, so it takes blurrier shots at the same shutter speed as the rear, stabilized camera. The result is a loss of detail that looks like smoothing on the front camera.”

Anyway, iOS 12.1 is in beta now, so you should expect a fix for this soon.

 

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Comments (27)

27 responses to “Apple Promises to Fix iPhone XS Selfie Smoothing”

  1. Avatar

    ivan19998

    It's nice to get it fixed although I'm not selfie person.

  2. Avatar

    locust infested orchard inc

    Quote by Paul Thurrott, "Apple will address 'Beautygate'..."


    In chronological order, Locationgate, Antennagate, Scuffgate, Bendgate, Hissgate, Splitgate, Pricegate, Notchgate, Batterygate / Performancegate, and now Beautygate.


    In the face of Apple, it makes Richard Nixon look timid in comparison.

  3. Avatar

    bluvg

    But according to their response, the cause had nothing to do with "beautifying" anything, but rather an incorrect shutter speed value. Are you saying you don't believe this, and that it was a deliberate attempt to pretty-up faces?


    If it's an incorrect shutter value, I don't get the comments along the lines of "let us choose whether to beautify our photos or not." That's what filters are for, not keeping the shutter open too long.

    • Avatar

      Jeffsters

      In reply to locust infested orchard inc:

      Hey at least they don't care to fill up the comments of articles relating to Deletegate with vitriol unlike the "idolizing (spelling corrected) faithful" of that other company! Here you take Apple to task, for a reported issue on a product you likely don't use, from a company you seem to have an issue with, why I don't understand. Meanwhile looking at your posting history I see you haven't posted anything to the Windows file deletion bug articles. One hand you you seem to feel the 'everyone beautiful' a big enough issue for you to comment on, while the other, 'kiss your files goodbye' you remain silent. Say...exactly who again is the "idolizing faithful"?

  4. Avatar

    PeterC

    >>> “The iPhone XS appears to smooth out selfies so that you look younger"


    Can I suggest/request we keep this as a user selectable option. Most selfies I attempt appear to create a tsunami of chins or an eruption of nasal hair. Younger would be a boost, even if a bit plastic. I'm off to upgrade my iPhone 8 immediately. Thank you.

  5. Avatar

    Winner

    Probably they had beautification as an unannounced feature but there were so many complaints that they are calling it a "bug" and now retracting it hastily.

    • Avatar

      nbplopes

      In reply to Winner:


      Where did Apple said it was a bug?

      • Avatar

        lvthunder

        In reply to nbplopes:

        In the article it says,


        According to Patel, “Smart HDR was choosing the wrong base frame for HDR processing when you took a selfie. Instead of choosing a frame with a short shutter speed to freeze motion and preserve detail, it would sometimes choose a frame with longer shutter speed. The front camera also does not have optical image stabilization, so it takes blurrier shots at the same shutter speed as the rear, stabilized camera. The result is a loss of detail that looks like smoothing on the front camera.”


        If that is what the Apple person told the reporter then it is a bug.

        • Avatar

          nbplopes

          In reply to lvthunder:


          It's only a bug if it is not working as intended. Another thing is, can it work better in the same conditions?


          When you do HDR the Keyframe is not the one with the shorter shutter speed, but the one that is neither the darker or the lighter (the one in the middle). It's about light, not sharpness.


          I just think that the algorithm that maps the multiple exposures is not the best I've seen, neither the tone mapping. I sure hope they improve it, that seams to be more the case.

          • Avatar

            Winner

            In reply to nbplopes:

            When you do HDR the Keyframe is not the one with the shorter shutter speed, but the one that is neither the darker or the lighter (the one in the middle). It's about light, not sharpness.


            Not for the Pixels. They underexpose every frame and stack them.

            • Avatar

              nbplopes

              In reply to Winner:


              Ot maybe. But the idea of HDR is not to get neither the highlights or darkest shadows clipped. If you do that either you get noise in the shadows while recovering or they will be clipped.


              Anyway. The media already said it was a bug than it is a bug. Media and Trump go hand in hand these days. All it matter is making the headlines. The truth has given way to opinion and secrecy.


              Dont see this as a bug. Rather has something deliberate that needs to be improved. Neither have read anything from Apple about this bug. For sure they have made thousands if not millions of tests to look for the “right”

              aesthetic.


  6. Avatar

    Bob Shutts

    I agree with those who say it would be nice if Apple made smoothing an option.

  7. Avatar

    bhatech

    I have seen Rene Ritchie from iMore come up with all kind of stupid excuses for that selfie beauty mode kind of photos on iPhone Xs. That guy is just unbelievable.


    Glad to see Apple fixing it.

  8. Avatar

    maethorechannen

    News of the fix comes via The Verge, of course. Because Apple doesn’t have a way to communicate this kind of thing by itself.


    Is there really any difference? You sure can't tell from the articles.

  9. Avatar

    nbplopes

    I’m glad that they are improving this.

  10. Avatar

    jrickel96

    No way it was an accident. Really a shame since the rear camera does a great job at capturing fairly accurate, true to life images. They knew what they were doing just like Google knows what it's doing with how heavily they process the photos on the Pixel phones (the colors tend to be oversaturated).


    There's nothing wrong with that - just admit that you're doing it.

    • Avatar

      nbplopes

      In reply to jrickel96:


      They never said it was an accident or a bug. They are not even using an official channel.


      All we have its a journalist saying that it’s a bug and that someone at Apple told her something ....


      Anyone with glimpse of technical training would for sure see that it does not look like a bug but a feature that does not look like its good for a lot of people. Yet journalists are already calling this as Beurygate as if it had any resemblance to Watergate.


      It crazy.

  11. Avatar

    jbuccola

    I'm just excited about the ability (and WILLINGNESS!) to improve camera exposure in software. Let's hope Apple continues this trend and improves the camera output over time (similar to Pixel, Tesla, whatever).

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