How to get the most of out the iPhone 7 Plus’ Portrait Mode

With the release of iOS 10.1, Apple’s heavily touted iPhone 7 Plus Portrait Photography mode is now available to all Plus owners, following a brief beta released a few weeks ago.


In typical Apple fashion, while various Android manufactures have offered similar ‘bokeh’ depth-of-field features over the years, the California-based company has taken this software feature and developed a way to create the same effect with the iPhone 7 Plus’ dual shooter.


This mode makes use of the 7 Plus’ 56mm-equivalent telephoto lens. Unfortunately, more often than not, the features only works well while shooting in bright, well-lit conditions Some argue that the bokeh effect is closer to that of a standard prime 50mm portrait lens, though regardless of your opinion regarding the feature, under perfect conditions, the 7 Plus has the ability to shoot incredible photos.

Here’s how it works: You’re looking at the photo via the 7 Plus’ main lens, but its wide-angle shooter is also operational in Portrait Mode, just like it is when utilizing 2x zoom.



The secondary lens measures the distance between what it’s able to see and what the telephoto lens is able to view, creating a nine-point depth map.

This map is then utilized to create the artificial depth-of-field mode the feature is known for. Unfortunately, unlike similar, though less effective features present in Android devices, the level of blur cannot be altered. There are also no zoom options available whether digital or optical, as well a Live Photos, the ability to use a flash or even filters.


  1. To access Apple’s fancy bokeh mode, open the iPhone 7 Plus’ camera app, then slide the camera wheel over to Portrait Mode.
  1. Next, line up the shot you want to take within a distance of 243 cm (8 feet) from your subject. The face and body detection then automatically identifies your subject. While the feature works on more than just people, it tends to add a blur effect around objects that doesn’t always look great (see the above photo).
  1. Once you’ve met Portrait Mode’s required distance and light conditions (if there isn’t enough light, then the 7 Plus will display a notification. Once everything is set properly, “depth effect” show up on the screen, allowing you to finally snap a photo.
  1. That’s it, you’ve snapped a Portrait mode shot. Apple considers the feature in beta mode, so it does run into occasional issues. Sometimes activating the feature takes longer than expected, even when conditions are ideal. In less frequent cases, the camera app also crashes.