iPhone 13 portrait mode video could be biggest camera upgrade yet

iPhone 13 renders by Ian Zelbo
(Image credit: Ian Zelbo / Twitter)

Good news could be on the way for keen smartphone videographers — because the iPhone 13 will reportedly feature a new mode that will seriously level up its video-shooting skills.

According to Everything Apple Pro on YouTube, relaying rumored details from leaker Max Weinbach, the iPhone 13 will get a new video portrait mode. This would seemingly be based on the portrait mode that's already available for still photos on recent iPhones, within Apple's own camera app. 

While plenty of third-party iOS camera apps offer portrait video, they're nowhere near as widely used as the default app. Adding portrait-mode video to the Camera app in the next iPhone would be a big change for the average iPhone user, and would simplify things for power users already used to the effect.

Portrait mode video is already something used in professional sports broadcasts, such as the NFL, which makes close-ups on the players look that much more immersive. A soft-focus background really makes the subject pop, and we can see this feature going viral quickly. 

Other Android phones have offered portrait mode video, such as the OnePlus 9 Pro, but its introduction on the new iPhone should have a much bigger impact. 

The introduction of portrait-mode video this year wouldn't be all that surprising. For starters, iOS 15 is introducing a portrait-mode style background blur option to FaceTime, similar to existing features in Google Meet and Zoom. Therefore, it stands to reason that Apple could transfer this software to its camera app with relatively little difficulty, compared to doing so from scratch.

We've heard previously that Apple is supposedly introducing a new ultrawide camera lens to the iPhone 13 Pro models, one that will also apparently introduce autofocus. Combined with the other big rumored change — larger sensors — the iPhone 13 should easily take the iPhone 12 Pro Max's spot as the best of the best camera phones available right now.

Although there seem to be a lot of similarities between the iPhone 12 and the upcoming iPhone, rumored new features such as this one point the way to how Apple could innovate even without making big changes to the iPhone's exterior features and hardware and help retain its position as one of the best phones.

It's not that long until we find out if the rumors are true. With iPhones normally unveiled in September, it's likely only three more months until the iPhone 13 (or iPhone 12s, as it may be named) appears.

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.