Third-Party Camera App Halide Enables Portrait Mode on iPhone XR for Pets and Objects

The developers behind the iOS camera app Halide have stated they are planning to release a version of the app that enables Portrait Mode on the iPhone XR for subjects other than just people.

The iPhone XR’s camera offers many of the same features as its more expensive siblings, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, but it falls a bit short in the Portrait mode department. Currently, the iPhone XR’s Portrait mode is limited to people and doesn’t work for animals or inanimate objects. However, help could be on the way from the developers of popular iPhone camera app Halide.

According to a Reddit post from one of the developers of Halide, they currently have Portrait mode working on pets within the app. The post reads: “with some more tooling,” they’ll likely be able to release a version of the Halide app that enables iPhone XR Portrait mode that should work on other subjects as well. However, Halide developers say iPhone XR Portrait mode seems to be “more temperamental in some settings” than the iPhone XS.

Additionally, they note that the depth map on the iPhone XR is lower resolution than the dual-camera iPhones, but that it “seems usable,” meaning it might not work if there’s not enough variance in relative distance of objects. This also opens up the possibilities where third-party apps should be able to enable a form of Portrait mode for more than people.

“And would you know it, we have Portrait Mode working on pets!” reads the post. “We think with some more tooling, we’ll be able to ship a version of our app that enables portrait mode for all sorts of things. It seems it’ll be a bit more ‘temperamental’; in some settings it won’t work if there’s not enough variance in relative distance of objects, but a can of soda water on my desk worked just fine… This means third party apps should be able to enable a form of Portrait mode for more than people, which is exciting! Note that the depth map is way lower resolution than the dual camera setup, but it seems usable.”

It’s not certain when you’ll have the option of capturing these portraits with Halide, but this should open the door to taking portraits with other apps as well. It’s also a reminder that Apple’s own approach isn’t necessarily set in stone and could change through software, even if it’s unlikely to have the XS‘ sheer flexibility any time soon.

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