BAY Mac’s Help Desk

With Steve Paris

Helping you get the most out of your Mac, iPhone & iPad

Q: I’ve heard about the iPhone X’s new depth of field camera effects when taking photos, but it doesn’t seem to work for me. 

A: This new feature – which is only available on iPhone X and above – is a clever way for your phone to analyse your shot and allow you to blur out the background or change the lighting to focus on the foreground. It’s all done in software, but if you’re used to taking photos with an older iPhone model, you won’t find this functionality in your device’s Photo mode.

Instead, there’s a new option to its right called Portrait. With it selected, your iPhone may offer you some text input like ‘Move further away’, or ‘More light required. Flash may help’, as you’re framing your shot.

You can still take the photo, but it will be a ‘regular’ one, not a ‘portrait’ one.

Portrait photos are designated with the word Portrait top left of the screen when you browse through your image library.

The magic happens when you Edit it. You now have two new tools: various lighting effects and an ƒ-stop slider (used to blur out more or less of the background).

Although impressive, the effect isn’t always perfect, but it’s a fun feature to play with. Do note that the iPhone XR can only take portraits of faces. The other (more expensive) models don’t have that restriction.

Steve Paris is an internationally published writer, an Apple Certified Trainer, and through his new website:, provides consultancy, training and troubleshooting services to the Swansea area.

You can email him at or contact him on 077-8866-0407.





All Articles