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How to Enable Portrait Mode on iPhone 15 Photos After Capture

If you’re an iPhone user, particularly one who enjoys capturing precious moments involving children or pets, you’re likely familiar with the Portrait mode conundrum. Portrait mode adds a delightful, soft bokeh effect to your photo’s background, emphasizing your subject. This is especially handy when your toddler or feline friend is up to something endearing. However, the slight delay in switching from the standard camera mode to Portrait mode can sometimes cause you to miss those fleeting moments.

The good news for iPhone 15 owners, including the iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro, and 15 Pro Max, is that you can now apply Portrait mode to pictures taken in standard camera mode after capturing them. You can even alter the focus to highlight a different subject or part of the frame. Here’s how it works (tested on an iPhone 15 Pro running iOS 17.0.2).

To start, it’s important to note that not every photo can be transformed into a Portrait mode photo. The phone must record depth information to apply the portrait effect afterward, and it doesn’t do this for every photo. The iPhone 15 automatically stores depth information when it detects a face, a cat, or a dog in the frame. It also saves depth information when you tap the frame to focus on a subject.

You’ll notice that it’s working when you see an f-stop icon in the bottom-left corner of the frame while taking a photo. You can tap the icon to preview the portrait effect while capturing the photo, but it’s not necessary. Just take the photo as you usually would, and you’ll have the option to apply Portrait mode later.

Assuming that the depth information was saved, follow these steps:

  1. Open your photo in the Photos app.
  2. Tap the “Portrait” option in the top left of the photo. You’ll see that “Portrait Off” is selected.
  3. Tap “Portrait,” and a blurred background will be applied to your image.

But there’s more to explore. If you want to refine the results, follow these steps:

  1. Tap “Edit” to open the editing window. From here, you can use the f-stop slider to adjust the intensity of the background blur.
  2. You’ll also notice a yellow autofocus box indicating the focal point in your image. To change the focus to a different area, simply tap anywhere in the frame.
  3. Once you’re satisfied with the results, tap “Done” to save the image. If needed, you can always revert to the original by reopening the photo in the Photos app and undoing any changes.

A couple more notes: This feature works with the phone’s main, telephoto, and selfie cameras. It’s also compatible with Live Photos, although depth information is only preserved for the cover frame of your Live Photos burst. This means you can apply Portrait mode to a Live Photo, but only the key frame will exhibit the blurred background effect. If you choose a different frame where everyone is looking at the camera, Portrait mode cannot be applied. Unfortunately, we can’t have it all.

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