Now we get to do that again: Halide 1.11 will let you take
Portrait mode photos of just about anything, not just people.
We do this by grabbing the focus pixel disparity map and running
the image through our custom blur. When you open Halide on iPhone
XR, simply tap ‘Depth’ to enable depth capture. Any photo you take
will have a depth map, and if there’s sufficient data to determine
a foreground and background, the image will get beautifully
rendered bokeh, just like iPhone XS shots.
You’ll notice that enabling the Depth Capture mode does not allow
you to preview Portrait blur effect or even automatically detect
people. Unfortunately, the iPhone XR does not stream depth data in
realtime, so we can’t do a portrait preview. You’ll have to review
your portrait effects after having taken the photo, much like the
I’m so glad Halide offers this, but I can see why Apple hasn’t enabled it for non-human subjects in the built-in Camera app. It’s hit or miss. But when it hits it can look great. What you want to do is let Halide handle the focus blurring; if you don’t like the result, disable “Depth” for that shot in Halide.
With frequent updates and support for the latest iPhone hardware, Halide has established itself as an essential app for serious iPhone photography. Doesn’t hurt that it’s a beautiful app, either.