iOS 15 could fix the worst iPhone camera flaw

iPhone 12 Pro Max cameras
(Image credit: Future)

One of iOS 15's new features may have the ability to improve iPhone photographs by using post-processing to remove the ugly green flares sometimes seen in pictures.

This discovery came from user Doubleluckstur on Reddit's r/iOSBeta page (via The Verge), who used an unknown iPhone running the iOS 15 developer beta. This would make for a great quality of life improvement to all iOS 15-compatible devices, including the upcoming iPhone 13. However users on older iPhones may find they're unable to use it, even if they can update to iOS 15, according to other users who've tried to replicate the trick.

The flares, image artifacts caused by bright lights causing reflections within the lens, will still appear through viewfinders when lining up a shot. However, looking at the final image on screen, or later in the Photos app, will show the effect to be reduced or removed. This effect seems to work worse with certain backgrounds, like leaves, mesh screens or artificial light sources.

iOS 15 lens flare reduction

The corrected image from the Reddit post. (Image credit: u/Doubleluckstur via Reddit)

If you've taken a Live Photo, then the main image chosen by Apple's software has the flare reduced the most, while the other frames receive less processing. The feature doesn't seem to alter video at all for the time being.

iOS 15 lens flare reduction

A frame from the same image's live photo. (Image credit: u/Doubleluckstur via Reddit)

So far this feature has been confirmed as working on the iPhone XS, the iPhone 11 series and the iPhone 12 series. Older phones don't seem to be capable of this from what's been seen so far. This tracks as all these devices use the Apple A12 Bionic chip or newer, a requirement for other features in the iOS 15 beta.

Features that appear in operating system betas aren't guaranteed to make it to the stable release version. We hope that this one sticks around until iOS 15 is officially released to the public this fall, alongside the iPhone 13. Flares like these are a common problem for iPhone photographers, and removing it would be a huge benefit.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.