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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