Smartphone photography has improved by leaps and bounds over the years, but if there’s one thing that’s annoyingly remained, it’s that damn green dot that randomly pops up in certain photos. However, there’s some good news for iPhone users. It appears that the latest iOS 15 beta has quietly added a feature that automatically removes unwanted lens flare in certain photos.
The feature was first spotted on Reddit (via MacRumors) but also highlighted by popular photo editing app Halide on Twitter. Redditor Doubleluckstar noted that they initially thought a photo they’d taken was “ruined/needed to be edited later due to lens flare” but later they noticed it had been automatically removed from the image. The flare was still in the live photo, however, which implies that it was removed in post-processing. You can check out the photos in the original thread or in Halide’s tweet below.
Others chimed in noting that while it appears the feature does work, there are certain circumstances where it may not. For the most part, it doesn’t appear that indoor flares or those in videos are edited out. The same goes for flares that cover a large portion of the photo or are intentional. (You can rest easy, JJ Abrams.) Instead, it looks as if the feature is attempting to recognize unintended artifacts that have become more common in the last few iPhone generations.
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Lens flares occur when bright light hits a camera’s sensor and then scatters. It’s generally considered undesirable, though they can occasionally enhance a photo. On iPhones, you most commonly see the cursed green dot in night mode portraits or photos—and often not until after you’ve taken the photo. (You can see an example of this in our iPhone 12 Pro Max review.) Is it the end of the world? No. But it is incredibly irksome if you’ve shelled out extra for a better phone camera.
The good news is it seems the feature isn’t limited to the iPhone 12 lineup. At least one Redditor noted it worked on an iPhone XS as well. However, it’ll be a while yet until this feature is readily available to the public. That’ll likely be sometime in September, once Apple launches its iPhone 13 lineup. In the meantime, if you’re feeling particularly brave you can download the iOS 15 public beta. And, if you do, there are plenty of other features you can try out while you wait.