Have you ever gone into your iPhone’s cam­era set­tings? If so, then they prob­a­bly went into a stu­por — what do all these terms mean and how to use it?

In this guide, we will under­stand all the fea­tures in order to get the most out of our cam­era and learn how to shoot like a pro with iPhone!

This is what the Cam­era sec­tion looks like in iOS 14.8.1 set­tings

Go to Set­tings, then open the Cam­era sec­tion. Here we are met by such a menu.

Well, shall we go in order?

Here we can choose between High Per­for­mance and Most Com­pat­i­ble Cam­era Cap­ture.

High-per­for­mance cap­ture saves space by reduc­ing file size and sav­ing them in HEIF for­mat for pho­tos and HEVC for video.

The most com­pat­i­ble for­mat does not com­press files and saves them in JPEG/H.264 (photo/video) for­mat.

In most cas­es, you won’t notice a dif­fer­ence between the two options. But, if you are pho­tograph­ing some­thing with a lot of detail, such as hair, pets, or paint­ings, a high-per­for­mance pho­to will look grainy at very close mag­ni­fi­ca­tions.

By default, the iPhone cam­era works with High Per­for­mance Cap­ture.

How to decide?

If detail is impor­tant to you, shoot in the Most Com­pat­i­ble For­mat.

If you need to save space on your phone, select High Effi­cien­cy For­mat.

Please note that 4K video at 60 fps and 1080p video at 240 fps require sup­port for High Effi­cien­cy.

The next item on the list is Video Record­ing. Here you can pay atten­tion to sev­er­al impor­tant points.


How to choose a res­o­lu­tion?

The num­bers 1080 and 720 in 1080p and 720p rep­re­sent the ver­ti­cal res­o­lu­tion of the screen, or height in pix­els. The more pix­els in an image, the clear­er it will be.

So a screen res­o­lu­tion of 1920x1080 (two mil­lion pix­els when mul­ti­plied) will be twice as sharp as a res­o­lu­tion of 1280x720 (less than one mil­lion pix­els).

Mean­while, the “p” in 1080p and 720p stands for pro­gres­sive scan (or non-inter­laced), a for­mat for dis­play­ing, stor­ing or trans­mit­ting mov­ing images that has been used on com­put­er screens since the ear­ly 21st cen­tu­ry. This for­mat can be con­trast­ed with tra­di­tion­al inter­laced.

4K is the high­est video res­o­lu­tion on an iPhone, but this file will take up the most space: it will be about 4 times heav­ier than if you record it at 720p.

Frames per second*

* in Eng­lish “frames per sec­ond” — fps (frames per sec­ond)

When we record video, not only the res­o­lu­tion is impor­tant, but also the num­ber of frames per sec­ond.

What is the dif­fer­ence between 24, 30 and 60 fps?

In short: the more frames per sec­ond, the smoother the video.

  • 24 fps

For a long time, 24 frames per sec­ond was the stan­dard frame rate. When they start­ed mak­ing movies, they used this fre­quen­cy, and over time, the pic­ture from the film acquired its own char­ac­ter­is­tic style. At this fre­quen­cy, what is hap­pen­ing in the frame looks very mov­ing and real­is­tic, as if for real.

It is at this frame rate that most fea­ture-length films are shot today.

  • 30 fps

30 frames per sec­ond is six frames more than 24 frames. This means that the device needs to process 25% more of the cap­tured image in the same amount of time. Due to the increase in the num­ber of frames, the pic­ture seems to be smoother.

This is the most com­mon frame rate on TV and the Inter­net. It is used for live broad­casts — sports events and con­certs, as well as for soap operas. Many apps like Insta­gram use 30 frames per sec­ond.

  • 60 fps

If you shoot video at 60fps, it will be slowed down to 24fps or 30fps in post-pro­cess­ing to cre­ate a smooth slow motion effect.

If you try to do the oppo­site, i.e. shoot a video at 30 fps and bring it down to 60 fps, it will look like chop­py slow motion because you will miss the extra frames.

If you try to con­vert a video shot at 30 fps to 60 fps video, you will miss the extra frames

Since this fre­quen­cy gives the video the effect of slow motion, it is used to make the pic­ture more cin­e­mat­ic, to high­light the dra­mat­ic moments in the film, and to work with the slow-mo effect — slow motion. Also, this fre­quen­cy is wide­ly used in some HDTVs and in some games.

How to decide?

Depends on your needs and pos­si­bil­i­ties.

720p, 1080p and 4K are in ascend­ing order of qual­i­ty. The high­er the qual­i­ty and the num­ber of frames per sec­ond, the more space the file will take up.

A low­er frame rate looks more flu­id, while a high­er frame rate looks smoother. How­ev­er, it is impor­tant to remem­ber that a high­er frame rate does not always guar­an­tee bet­ter video qual­i­ty.

720p HD, 30fpsc — takes up the least space, but the qual­i­ty is the low­est of the pre­sent­ed;- 1080p HD, 30 fps — takes up more space, but the image will look bet­ter. This fre­quen­cy is often used today on the Inter­net, includ­ing on Insta­gram;— 1080p HD, 60 fps — takes up even more space due to the frame rate; slow motion effect — the pic­ture will look smoother; — 4K, 24 fps — takes up more mem­o­ry than 1080p; cin­e­ma effect — the pic­ture looks more mobile, like real life;— 4K, 30 fps — a smoother pic­ture than 24 fps + this fre­quen­cy is often used today on the Inter­net, includ­ing on Insta­gram;— 4K, 60 fps — takes up the most space, but 4K gives high qual­i­ty, and 60 fps makes the pic­ture dra­mat­ic and smoothest.

If you need a cin­e­mat­ic effect that is char­ac­ter­ized by the mobil­i­ty and real­ism of the pic­ture, then choose 24 fps. If you want to add dra­ma and depth, choose 60 fps.

It is worth not­ing that 1080p at 30 fps is set in the iPhone cam­era set­tings by default and, in gen­er­al, is not easy — it is a bal­ance between qual­i­ty, smooth­ness and file weight.

Also, in gen­er­al, it’s not easy for our eyes to tell 1080p from 4K from a com­fort­able view­ing dis­tance. Of course, cin­e­mas require the max­i­mum, but since most of the video is cur­rent­ly viewed on phones, tablets or lap­tops, this may be overkill for you too.

We rec­om­mend using 4K res­o­lu­tion at 30 frames per sec­ond. If you have enough mem­o­ry on your phone to choose the best qual­i­ty and if you don’t need a dra­mat­ic or cin­e­mat­ic effect, this res­o­lu­tion is per­fect for you.

And final­ly, if you just want to cap­ture mem­o­ries and still save mem­o­ry on your phone — choose 720p, 30 fps.


What is PAL video for­mat?

Phase Alter­nat­ing Line or PAL (Phase Alter­nat­ing Line) is a video for­mat stan­dard used on tele­vi­sion in most of Europe, as well as in Africa and Aus­tralia.

The alter­na­tives to PAL are NTSC, used main­ly in the USA, Cana­da, Korea, Japan, etc., and SECAM, used in France, Rus­sia, Poland, and oth­er coun­tries.

Why do we need PAL for­mat when shoot­ing video on iPhone?

In short. Let’s say you’ve made a video and it’s sup­posed to be shown on TV in Aus­tralia. If you shot a video in arti­fi­cial light­ing con­di­tions, then the PAL for­mat will help to avoid flick­er­ing lights.

The fact is that in the Unit­ed States, the fre­quen­cy of alter­nat­ing cur­rent sup­plied to homes is 60 Hz. There­fore, there is no flick­er when record­ing video at 30 or 60 frames per sec­ond under arti­fi­cial light­ing.

But in most coun­tries, the fre­quen­cy of the sup­plied cur­rent is 50 Hz. As a result, in video, when shoot­ing at 30 or 60 frames per sec­ond under arti­fi­cial light­ing (for exam­ple, lamp­light), we can see flick­er­ing.

If you pay atten­tion, then when you turn on the PAL for­mat, you will have 1080p and 4K for­mats at 25 fps. This helps to avoid flick­er­ing.

Auto frequency (weak light)

This fea­ture helps if you are shoot­ing in low light.

When shoot­ing video in a dim­ly lit room, the phone auto­mat­i­cal­ly reduces the frame rate to 24 fps to improve image qual­i­ty.

Fixing camera modes

Ingo­da cam­eras can switch between them­selves, which looks like a small glitch when record­ing video. This func­tion helps to avoid auto­mat­ic switch­ing.

We return to the menu of the Cam­era sec­tion and turn to the set­tings for slow motion video. Every­thing is sim­ple here.

720p HD, 240 fps is the default

We have already fig­ured out that 1080p is bet­ter in qual­i­ty than 720p due to the larg­er num­ber of pix­els.

Videos record­ed at 120 or 240 fps are then slowed down to 24 fps, so remem­ber: the high­er the frame rate, the slow­er the motion will be. Some math: 120 is 4 times slow­er, and 240 is 8 times slow­er.

Stereo sound is a mul­ti-lay­ered and three-dimen­sion­al sound. When we watch a video with stereo sound, it seems that it comes from sev­er­al direc­tions at once.

Videos with stereo sound are more immer­sive because they sound big­ger and bet­ter.

The pres­ence of stereo sound means that two sep­a­rate audio chan­nels are present in the video. When you watch a video with stereo sound on an iPhone, you can hear it com­ing from two places: from the speak­er at the top of the screen and from the bot­tom of the smart­phone.

When should you not use stereo?

If you are film­ing a video of some­one speak­ing direct­ly to the cam­era from a fixed posi­tion. And also, if you most often watch the cap­tured videos in one ear­phone, for exam­ple, because you do not want to lose vig­i­lance in trans­port or when dri­ving.

What’s the mat­ter?

The stereo sig­nal is trans­mit­ted on two dif­fer­ent chan­nels and the data may dif­fer in each chan­nel. An alter­na­tive to stereo sound is mono sound. It enters the cen­ter and car­ries the same infor­ma­tion in each chan­nel.

If you have a sin­gle per­son speak­ing in your video from a fixed point, and their speech is the main pur­pose of shoot­ing, it is bet­ter to turn off the stereo sound. Although in most cas­es the stereo sound is imper­cep­ti­ble, some­times the sep­a­ra­tion of the audio is strong­ly felt.

Camera mode

If you acti­vate this fea­ture, the Cam­era app will save the last mode you shot in, be it Video or Por­trait, instead of auto­mat­i­cal­ly reset­ting to Pho­to mode.


This fea­ture saves your fil­ter, aspect ratio, light­ing, or depth of field set­tings after you close the cam­era app.

Exposure compensation

This fea­ture saves your expo­sure set­ting, and an indi­ca­tor appears in the upper left cor­ner to remind you of the cur­rent changes. Click on it and a slid­er will appear in front of you, with which you can adjust the expo­sure.

Live Photo

You can turn off Live Pho­to tem­porar­i­ly when tak­ing a pic­ture, but the Cam­era app turns the fea­ture back on auto­mat­i­cal­ly.

Click the slid­er next to Live Pho­to under Save set­tings to dis­able Live Pho­to per­ma­nent­ly.

If you enable this fea­ture, the vol­ume but­tons can be used to take a series of pho­tos. To do this, you need to press and hold either of the two but­tons and you can take many pho­tos with­out unnec­es­sary move­ments.

If the func­tion is dis­abled, then hold­ing one of the vol­ume but­tons starts record­ing video.

Turn this fea­ture on and go to the Cam­era app. If you point the main cam­era at any QR code, a noti­fi­ca­tion will appear — click on it and you will be able to fol­low the link that is linked to this QR code.


Turn on the Grid fea­ture to make it eas­i­er for you to use the rule of thirds.

On the left, the Grid func­tion is off, on the right, it is on

Rule of thirds — this is the prin­ci­ple of com­po­si­tion, which divides the image into thirds (hor­i­zon­tal­ly and ver­ti­cal­ly) so that we get nine parts — nine rec­tan­gles. Accord­ing to this rule, the pic­ture will be more har­mo­nious and well-com­posed if we place impor­tant parts of the com­po­si­tion along the lines or at their inter­sec­tion.

Front camera mirror

When you take a pho­to with the front cam­era, the final pho­to is a mir­ror image of what you orig­i­nal­ly saw on the phone screen.

If you pre­fer to see the final image as what you nor­mal­ly see in a mir­ror reflec­tion, enable this fea­ture.

But keep in mind that oth­er peo­ple who see you and your face in a non-mir­ror image may find these self­ies a lit­tle weird because they’re just not used to see­ing you upside down.

Display out of frame

When you enable this fea­ture, you can see what is out­side the frame when tak­ing a pho­to. This is use­ful when it is impor­tant to cap­ture cer­tain details.

On the left, the Show Out of Frame func­tion is off, on the right, it is on

Faster shutter capture

Of course, we want every­thing to work as quick­ly as pos­si­ble. What’s the catch? To take a lot of shots quick­ly, iPhone may reduce the qual­i­ty of each pho­to. Thus, you pri­or­i­tize speed over qual­i­ty.

If you dis­able this fea­ture, your iPhone will take bet­ter qual­i­ty pic­tures, just not as fast as before.

Smart HDR

HDR or High Dynam­ic Range — extend­ed dynam­ic range. When you shoot in HDR mode, instead of one pho­to, the cam­era takes three: an over­ex­posed pho­to, an under­ex­posed pho­to, and anoth­er one with a nor­mal expo­sure.

The best parts of each shot togeth­er cre­ate an image with greater depth of field and more vibrant col­ors.

How­ev­er, these pic­tures take up more mem­o­ry on your phone.