Apple's limitation of Portrait Lighting

Irish developer Steven Troughton-Smith discovered that old photos from portrait mode of the iPhone camera currently cannot be improved using the new portrait lighting effects Apple without resorting to look around the operating system.

Are we facing another limitation of Apple's artificial software? To prove his theory, Troughton-Smith began by transferring a portrait mode picture taken with his iPhone 7 Plus to his Mac. He then made some fast metadata changes in the file before sending it to your iPhone X. To your surprise, the Portrait Lighting interface for the trick image in portrait mode magically appeared in the photo application. In other words, what prevents us from applying those lighting effects to photos that we have taken before is nothing more than a set of metadata that we can manually change ourselves to "cheat" the system.

This you can check for yourself with any image, old or new, provided it has been taken with the iPhone 7 Plus using the old portrait mode. Open the Photos application, select one of your Portrait Mode images and press Edit. If this is an image with depth of field, you will see the yellow “Portrait” label at the top. What you won't see when you touch the Edit button is the Portrait Lighting interface, not even on the iPhone X.

As a result, the user finds that he is stuck with photos in portrait mode and without the possibility of improving them with the new lighting effects for portraits. This is especially strange knowing that the Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting images use the same depth map. It is not understood that Apple makes this distinction. The iPhone X Support depth of field photography both in the front and rear camera. On the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 7 Plus, portrait mode photos can only be taken with the dual rear lens camera because only the iPhone X has a front camera capable of detecting depth.

But what could be the reason for this artificial software limitation? John Gruber of Daring Fireball says that Portrait Lighting is limited to iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus for performance reasons, since these phones run the latest Bionic A11 chip with Apple's enhanced image signal processor and a neural language dedicated to machine learning.

According to Gruber, as is known at the moment, these effects are not enabled on iPhone 7 Plus because the performance was very low at the time of capture. Really requires the Bionic A11 chip for proper performance live through the camera and Apple decided not to include it as a function for iPhone 7 Plus because it gave the feeling more of something that was included without perfecting it completely and without achieving perfect performance; Like half a feature.

The theory is that previewing the effects of Portrait Lighting before the capture process would result in a CPU / GPU performance overload beyond what the A10 Fusion chip can support on the iPhone 7 Plus. It is easy to understand the importance of preview when using it at the moment, but there is no reason why iOS I should not update all the Portrait Mode photos in our library so that we can improve them with the effects of vertical lighting. This point is incomprehensible and maybe it could be covered by Apple with some major update of the iOS operating system version.

Apple previously limited certain iPhone functions to the latest hardware.

With Animoji, for example, the new TrueDepth camera is necessary to capture your facial movement, although the Animoji function could also have been implemented through the common front camera.

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