With the iPhone XS and XS Max out in the wild, issues are starting crop up related to some of the pair’s new features, particularly when it comes to camera performance.
At first, reports came out that said the Pixel 2 XL’s camera captured more detail in images when directly compared to the iPhone XS’ camera, but this latest problem seems to be an entirely different issue altogether.
A variety of iPhone XS owners have taken to Reddit to complain that images shot with the iPhone XS feature what seems to be a skin smoothing effect. Worse yet, there’s currently no toggle to disable this effect, nor a slider that allows users to control its strength.
Some users have even gone so far as to compare the effect to Snapchat’s smoothing filter. Canadian YouTuber ‘Unbox Therapy’ (Lewis Hilsenteger) even put together an entire video focused on the problem.
It’s unclear what’s actually going on, but the skin smoothing seems to be happening when taking an image normally, as well as when the camera is set to ‘Portrait Mode.’ I ran a few tests myself and the iPhone XS does indeed seem to be applying some sort of smoothing algorithm to the subject’s skin.
Further, it also happens when snapping a selfie normally, whether smart HDR is on or off. Admittedly, the smoothing effect isn’t quite as noticeable when the images are viewed on a computer screen, as opposed to the iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max’s display.
Below are a few images you can check out yourself for comparison.
The left image was shot with the iPhone XS Max, while the right was taken with the iPhone X.
The skin smoothing is clearly visible in the left image taken with the iPhone XS. Both shots were snapped with the iPhone XS’ and iPhone X’s selfie camera.
The left image was taken with the iPhone XS Max, while the right image was snapped with the iPhone X. In this image pairing, smart HDR is turned on with the iPhone XS Max.
These photos were also shot in standard mode and not in Portrait Mode. Further, the pictures were shot with the rear camera on both devices.
The image on the left was shot with the iPhone XS Max, while the one on the right was taken with the iPhone X. In this case, Smart HDR is turned off with the iPhone XS Max. Both images were also shot with the iPhone X and iPhone XS Max’s rear camera.
According to 9to5mac, Apple reached out to photographer Abdul Dremali after seeing his post in the ongoing r/iphone reddit thread focused on the problem. Dremali says that the company told him that it is “working on this issue actively.”
MobileSyrup has reached out to Apple for comment on the skin smoothing effect, as well as to find out if this is a planned iPhone XS feature.