Apple’s iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max brought some great camera improvements with them when they arrived last month, but they were definitely not infallible.
There has been a growing discontent about the way the front-facing camera, in particular, has a tendency to artificially smooth skin to the point of looking, well, odd.
Apple isn’t adding any particular filter, but that didn’t stop everyone latching into the effect and calling it “Beautygate.” While companies like Samsung do add a filter to make people look “better,” Apple has not followed suit.
The results people are seeing is a byproduct of the way Smart HDR works, a feature that makes images look altogether smoother because they are pulling additional light from darker shadows, making things appear smooth and lacking in definition. As we now know, this was happening because Smart HDR was choosing the wrong frame from which to make its calculations, choosing a frame with a longer shutter speed than was required, resulting in a brighter, smoother image.
The good news here is that all of this is software-based, and we’ve been expecting Apple to fix it in a future update. That update is almost here, with The Verge confirming that iOS 12.1 will fix the issue, making sure that the correct frame is used when Smart HDR works its magic.
Apple’s iOS 12.1 is currently rattling through the beta releases and is likely to arrive sooner rather than later. We haven’t been able to test the latest developer beta, released just yesterday, on an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max, so if you have, please do let us know how your images are turning out in the comments.
We expect this to be the end of beautygate, at least once the update is out and available for everyone who wants it.