iOS 15 may update the iPhone camera: fewer green flares

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The latest version of Apple’s iOS 15 beta seems to make subtle improvements to your photos by addressing the green lens reflections that can appear in exterior photos (through 9–5 Mac). There was news of the feature uploaded to iOSBeta subreddit by Reddit Doubleluckstur, and Limit was able to see it in action by testing the public beta version of the iPhone 12 Mini.

Many iPhone users feel the green spots, and while taking a picture, it looks like nothing has changed – the reflection is still visible in the viewfinder. But when you go to see the final picture, the flare doesn’t show up anywhere (in some cases; we’ll get to it in a moment). It seems to be the result of all the post-processing of the image, as the reflection appears in the alternate (and less processed) frames that are available if you use Apple’s Live Photo feature.


The green dot appears in the viewfinder and in the Live photo, but the still image was not processed.

Left: Live photo frame with reflection. Right: treated frame, without reflection

So far, it’s a little unclear which iPhone models will handle the processing. In the Reddit chain one user reports also sees a green dot deletion on their iPhone XS the other says it doesn’t work on their iPhone 8 Plus. 9–5 Mac speculate that the feature may be limited to phones with an A12 Bionic processor or later (i.e. XS and XR forward). The feature, which is only available on newer phones, may not be surprising: some features of iOS 15, such as Live Text or Portrait mode for FaceTime, The A12 Bionic is already listed as a requirement.

Of course, with this discovery, people tried to chase it and find its limitations. Reddit User -DementedAvenger- published examples of a torch that is still visible on top of trees or fault-tolerant window screens, and torches that came from the bathroom light instead of the sun. I was also able to replicate his example of wood as well as acquire my own interior torches (although it is worth noting that they are not the same green bubbles that occur so often in the sun).

You can still get flares if you really try, especially indoors.

You will see a flare on the right side of the tree.

Another limitation is the video: I didn’t find scenarios where the torches appear in the final video differently than in the viewfinder. Of course, removing lens reflection from 30 or 60 frames per second from 4K material would be a little more computationally intense and would have a greater chance of looking a little weird, so it’s not necessarily surprising that the feature seems to be just a photo so far.


The Gif package turns it white, but the reflection is still clearly visible in this video.

As always with beta features, the features we see here may be different with the next release or have been removed altogether. Still, it looks like Apple is at least trying to get rid of the green lumps that can appear in images from time to time, and that would be welcome to see in the final version of iOS 15.

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