Why You Should Turn Off Your iPhone’s Macro Mode

Photo: Kicking Studio (Shutterstock)

Has this happened to you? You turn on your iPhone’s camera to take a photo, only to see something strange: Your phone seems to be switching between camera lenses on its own, throwing off your ability to take your picture. After all, how can you properly frame a shot when the lens keeps changing?

One reason this happens is because of your lighting conditions. If you try to use your zoom lens when there’s not enough light, your iPhone will instead switch to the main (also known as wide) camera and digitally zoom in. If you swap between lightning conditions, you can see this in action. It’s a weird quirk of iOS, but it doesn’t explain why the camera lens shifts when you use the wide camera, not the zoom lens. Some iPhones don’t even have a zoom lens, only a wide and an ultra-wide.

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Macro Mode switches your iPhone cameras automatically

The issue stems from the iPhone’s Macro Mode, which is included in the iPhone 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max, 14 Pro, and 14 Pro Max. It has good intentions: The feature, as Apple designed it, automatically switches to the ultra-wide camera when it senses you bringing the camera up close to a subject. It then intelligently takes a photo with additional detail looks like it came from the wide lens. That way, you’re not actually getting that iconic “ultra wide” look.

This can be a great way to get shots of close up subjects, but it makes things confusing when you’re moving between subjects and see your camera switching without notice.

How to disable Macro Mode on your iPhone

If you think you’d want to use this feature for close-up shots, but want to turn it off just this once, you can tap the Macro (yellow flower) icon that appears in the corner of the viewfinder. When you do, your iPhone will switch back to the main camera, and the Macro icon will turn gray. However, the next time you use the camera and it detects a close-up subject, Macro Mode will turn back on.

If you want to make sure Macro Mode stays off, but keeps the icon in the corner should you ever want to turn it back on, go to Settings > Camera > Preserve Settings, then hit the toggle by “Macro Mode.” However, if you want to turn off Macro Mode for good, you can head to Settings > Camerathen scroll to the bottom and disable “Macro Mode.”

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