iPhone SE 2022 review: A whole lot of phone for 429
The iPhone SE is Apple’s budget-friendly iPhone and pairs an older design with newer hardware. The third-generation iPhone SE is now up for preorder and continues this working formula.
It’s now 429 — a slight price bump over previous models — in an identical build with a home button and just a single camera lens. But it’s upgraded on the inside with a newer processor and support for 5G. And I’ve spent six days with it to see who needs to upgrade and determine who the budget iPhone is for.
iPhone SE 2022
The iPhone SE gives you the performance of a much more expensive phone in a compact size, and has enough power and features to be future-proof for years to come.
The who, what and how
Who this is for: If you’re looking for your first smartphone or holding onto an older iPhone (first-gen SE, 6, 6S, 7 or 8), the iPhone SE delivers plenty of performance, the ability to take great photos and a compact size for 429. Those who want a more modern device with a larger screen can look at the 599 iPhone 11 or a refurbished iPhone.
What you need to know: At 429 the iPhone SE gets you the power and performance of the iPhone 13 in a smaller build with a 4.7-inch display and just a single camera. It’s not for someone who wants the most versatile photography experience or a screen for bingeing a TV show season on the go. You do get modern performance, which bests nearly all other budget phones and stretches the potential life of this phone.
How this compares: The iPhone SE performs just as well as the iPhone 13, thanks to the same processor being used at a fraction of the price. It lets you complete nearly any thinkable task on the phone. When compared to another budget phone like the Pixel 5a with 5G, the SE is quicker to open apps and feels more fluid for intense tasks like gaming. The onboard cameras meet the level of iPhone quality with most shots, but there’s not a dedicated Night mode, which is disappointing. You’ll need to use the flash, which doesn’t deliver the greatest shots in low-lighting conditions and can lead to overexposure of a shot or extra noise in an image. The Pixel 5a with 5G wins out with a dedicated Night Sight mode, which uses software for clear, crisp shots in those conditions. It’s not a wash, though; the iPhone SE is a mostly compromise-free experience and delivers what you expect from an iPhone at a budget price.
Classic iPhone design with a 4.7-inch screen
The iPhone SE sticks with a classic iPhone design that’s identical to the second-generation and truthfully resembles an iPhone 8. It’s a glass front and back with aluminum sides. The 4.7-inch Retina HD display is surrounded by bezels with a home button below the screen for easy unlocking through Touch ID. Like on the second gen, the home button is an electronic one powered by a haptic motor — so when the phone is dead or off, the button won’t click in.
Fear not, there are a few options that won’t break the bank for replacing a broken iPhone with a used or refurbished model.
Used iPhones: A guide on where and how to buy one
The iPhone SE is comfortable to hold and can easily be used with just one finger. That’s refreshing and can’t be said about the iPhone 13 Pro Max. And holding it next to an iPhone 13 Pro Max makes it seem downright miniature.
The back glass is upgraded here for added durability. Apple says it’s the same glass found on the iPhone 13, and that should help prevent it from cracks and scratches. The SE is IP67 rated against water and dust resistance, and it survived a full dunk into a glass of water.
Apple didn’t opt to add MagSafe wireless charging support here. This proprietary charging tech debuted on the iPhone 12 but ensures proper alignment with compatible wireless chargers, thanks to magnets. While we get that Apple is using a similar design style — and likely the same parts — it would have been nice to see this added in for more wireless charging options.
The 4.7-inch Retina HD screen is unchanged, and that’s not really a bad thing. It’s still a classic LCD display, so it won’t offer the same vibrant colors and deep contrast points as an OLED in an iPhone 13 or even the Pixel 5a with 5G. Still, though, it’s been great for navigating iOS, watching TikToks, typing on the fly and watching shows.
The iPhone SE’s screen is a bit small for taking in a full-length film, however, and it’s hard to get fully immersed, especially if you’re coming from a larger device. It’s also only a 60Hz refresh rate screen, which means you won’t get the same smooth scrolling experience as you’ll enjoy on 120Hz phones like the iPhone 13 Pro and Google Pixel 6. The SE’s display also looks dated compared to more borderless screens that opt for a notch or pinhole.
Lastly, since this is the same build, second-generation iPhone SE cases and iPhone 8 cases fit this device just fine.
Same camera lens, new smarts
The 2022 iPhone SE features a primary 12-megapixel lens on the back, and that’s unchanged from the second gen. With Apple’s A15 Bionic chip inside, this lens works with a new image signal processor that speeds up shooting photos or recording videos and adds in new processing modes (Smart HDR4 and Deep Fusion). Both aren’t necessarily evident but lead to clearer images and let the SE better identify what you’re trying to capture in a shot.
All of this works to make this 12-megapixel a sharpshooter. You’ll need to work to set up a shot right, though — given that it’s only a wide lens, if you want to capture more, you’ll need to move back physically. And while it has digital zoom, we’d recommend physically getting closer to an object to avoid blur. It’s quick to shoot, generally able to capture a photo in under a second for most conditions.
The iPhone SE can still shoot Portrait mode with a single lens, but it’s just for people. That means no photos of pooches, cats or inanimate objects. It still performs well on the SE, and it’s gotten better at figuring out when to start the effect on. There is a noticeable improvement over shots from the second-gen SE, and the latest iPhone SE is on par with the Pixel 5a with 5G for these shots.
Photographic Styles, which first premiered on the iPhone 13, have arrived on the iPhone SE These let you customize how the iPhone shoots, whether you want to up the vibrancy or lower the contrast. It’s a filter on steroids, and it doesn’t slow down the SE. It’s fast to capture an image in your desired style, and in some cases, it’s faster at capturing the shot with a Photographic Style than an iPhone 13.
The latest iPhone SE is quicker at identifying the FOCUS (or multiple focuses) to be ready to capture an image within an instant. Processing is faster than the second generation, but coming from an iPhone 8 or even an original iPhone SE will deliver some pretty big boosts.
It doesn’t have every feature, though — there’s no Night mode on the iPhone SE, and it shows with lower-light photos. Rather than extending the capture time and using AI to boost the scene’s lighting, the iPhone SE uses software and a standard LED flash to light the scene. This leads to longer capture times, and it’s not instant for capturing nighttime shots. You can still get a good result, but it’s not as good as other phones even in this price range. The Pixel 5a with 5G does a much better job at capturing these shots. It extends the capture time in its Night Sight mode and uses software to make them look dynamically lighter without reducing the image quality.
Above the screen on the front is a 7-megapixel FaceTime camera that leaves you with color-accurate selfies and crisp details. It can even take Portrait mode selfies and is excellent for video calls.
iOS here is just as smooth as any iPhone 13
The iPhone SE is powered by the Apple-made A15 Bionic chip, which is the same processor found in the iPhone 13 line. This 429 iPhone allows you to open apps fast, edit images and multitask without the device heating up or slowing down. It’s the uncompromised iPhone experience, and that’s a critical mark to meet at this price.
I had no issues FaceTiming while completing other tasks, whether it was playing a game or even editing a photo in Afterlight. I could also take advantage of Live Text within the camera. If you’re holding the iPhone SE at a sign in front of a store, you can quickly grab the name, address and phone number. You can tap on it, highlight it and interact with the text. It doesn’t slow down at all.
I also ran the premium flagship through Geekbench 5, which measures general performance. The latest iPhone SE clocks in with a 1,727 single-core and a 4,680 multi-core score, which surpasses the previous iPhone SE and is in line with the iPhone 13 family.
Under-the-hood upgrades give Apple’s classic design yet another lease of life
The iPhone SE (2022) is faster and better-connected than its predecessor, and at the most attractive price currently possible for a new 5G iPhone. However if you’re looking for a better iPhone deal with bigger screens, better cameras, and a bigger list of modern specs, the new SE might not be for you.
- Powerful for the cost
- A 5G iPhone that’s still affordable
- Thin and lightweight design
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If you like your iPhone affordable and retro, Apple’s iPhone SE 2022 edition might be the best iPhone for you.
It keeps the SE series design language firmly rooted in 2017 – that was the year Apple launched the iPhone 8, the design of which Apple employed for 2020’s SE 2, and has stuck with for this new phone.
In 2020, Apple took that chassis and upgraded the CPU to an A13 Bionic, the rear camera to a 12MP wide, and introduced ‘monocular depth estimation,’ which improved Portrait Mode photography for the front and rear cameras. It was a nifty AI-infused trick that worked like a charm on faces, but nothing else.
All those things you loved from the iPhone SE (2020) remain in the iPhone SE (2022). There’s been no change to the thin and light body, no reintroduction of the 3.5mm headphone jack, no removal of the Touch ID. The Liquid Retina display is untouched. The cameras. a 12MP rear and 7MP front. are the same, too.
The difference, and it is bigger than you think, is the new A15 Bionic, the very same Apple Silicon you’ll find in Apple’s iPhone 13 line. It’s a powerful mobile CPU that. to date. beats even Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU (in Geekbench scores).
It’s a lot of power and headroom for a tiny, 4.7-inch screen smartphone that doesn’t even have a depth sensor on the front. Still, the A15 Bionic is up for anything, from shooting and editing 4K videos to playing intense action games like Call of Duty and PUBG.
The A15 is a system on a chip, which means the graphics processing is integrated, and that in turn means better image processing. Even though it still has the same camera as its predecessor, the iPhone SE (2022) is capable of timelapse night photography (though you’ll need a tripod).
Inevitably though, there are limits to what’s on offer here compared with Apple’s flagship phones. All the A15 Bionic-sporting iPhone 13 phones support the new Cinematic mode video (bokeh-effect), but there’s no such video control on the new iPhone SE.
Speaking of things missing from this new phone. The iPhone SE (2022) follows Apple’s new packing strategy: No more power adapter or wired earbuds in the box.
From an environmental perspective, this makes a lot of sense. It is unfortunate, though, that the price rose 30 to 429 at the same time Apple pulled these accessories. Accounting for inflation, however, the price might be considered roughly the same as it was two years ago. I don’t expect that argument to fly everywhere.
Battery life is 12 hours, which is notable considering the more powerful CPU and eye-brow singeing 5G connectivity, but it’s not in the same league as the handsets in the iPhone 13 family.
It’s hard to wholeheartedly recommend the iPhone SE 2022, when you can spend a little more for the iPhone 13 mini, which has a bigger, brighter, and shaper Super Retina XDR OLED screen, another camera, Face ID, and a fresher design (and you can pick up some of the lower-end iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 options for a similar premium).
Even so, there is still something charming about the look and feel of Apple’s aging iPhone design. And getting all that performance and 5G for under 500 is nothing to sneeze at either.
For Apple devotees, the brand can set the pricing and options agenda for its iPhones, safe in the knowledge that it doesn’t have to engage in a race to the bottom against lower-end Androids.
The iPhone SE (2022) carries on that tradition in mostly fine form. However, it changes nothing aesthetically about the last model but builds on it with Apple’s latest chip and mobile connectivity technology. whether that’s enough for you is a personal decision.
However if you’re looking for a new iPhone that offers and costs more, allow us to point you to the iPhone 13 series, which comprises the iPhone 13 itself, the iPhone 13 mini (the iPhone SE consistently outsells the mini line), the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
iPhone SE price and availability
The iPhone SE (2022) has gotten a price hike over its predecessor to 429 / £419 / AU719, but it still qualifies as Apple’s cheapest 5G phone. The iPhone 13 mini starts at 699 / £679 / AU1,199 and the iPhone 12 mini starts at 599.
However, it is more than a little frustrating that Apple insists on offering a phone with just 64GB of storage to start. The phone shoots up to 4K, 60fps video. Where are all those files supposed to go? Apple’s iPhone 13 line now starts at 128GB across the board. That’s the standard Apple should’ve followed here. The issue is compounded because the iPhone SE (2022) tops out at 256 GB of storage (579 / £569 / AU969), though there’s also a 128GB option for 479 / £469 / AU799.
If you’re considering a 256GB iPhone SE at that price, then you really should start thinking about one of the iPhone 13 models.
The previous iPhone SE started at 399 / £389 / AU679, and while asking for a little more for a 5G phone with the newest processor is not a big ask, consumers will notice the packaging is a bit smaller and lighter. The environment will thank Apple, but some consumers might be miffed that there are no longer wired earbuds and power adapters included with the device. That’s the same for the iPhone 13 series, but the omission still might sting for budget-conscious iPhone consumers who now have to buy the accessories separately.
It’s worth noting that you have just three color choices for the retro-looking device: Midnight, Starlight, and Product RED. Our test unit is a lovely and very deep blue Midnight.
Pre-orders for the phone started on March 11 and the device is now on sale (as of on March 18).
There is familiar and then there is familiar. Apple’s iPhone SE (2022) is such a well-worn look that I instinctually took to it, even though I know it’s not a look that’s ‘in’ right now.
The aluminum enclosure is smooth, clean, and, in our test model, gleaming Midnight. It looks black indoors, but the blue shines through in the sunlight.
The glass back and front are perfectly smooth, and it’s almost quaint to see a single relatively tiny, 12MP wide-angle camera on the back in this age of ever-expanding camera blocks. The sapphire glass lens cover’s distance from the backplane can be measured in a millimeter (maybe two).
There are almost no edges on the whole 5.44-in. by 2.65-in. by 0.29-in. 144g frame; know some people still complain about the sharp edges on the iPhone 13 and the new Samsung Galaxy S22 line; you’ll have no such issues here. Along the left edge are the volume buttons and a sleep/silent switch, while on the right are the power button and the SIM slot (which also supports eSIM). The bottom edge features the speaker grilles, microphone, and Lightning port.
The front features the aging 1344 x 750 pixel Liquid Retina Display, which looks great on its own, but literally pales in comparison to, for instance, the iPhone 13 mini’s 5.4-inch edge-to-edge Super Retina XDR display OLED screen.
Above the screen is the 7MP FaceTime and selfie camera, which sits next to a wide, shallow speaker grille.
Below all that is our old friend, the Touch ID home button. We’ve been living with Face ID, home-button-free iPhones for so long, that our reintroduction was a bit bumpy. I literally forgot how to use an iPhone with a home button to start with, although, it was a little like riding a bike, and I soon got back in the Touch ID groove. I remembered how much I liked the way the button felt as it read my fingerprint or faked a physical button press with expert haptics. It’s time for the Touch ID button die, but it serves its purpose well here on the iPhone SE.
For what it’s worth, Apple’s Touch ID remains one of the most effective biometric authorization technologies I’ve ever used. Register a finger once and the reader will see it every time, in virtually any position.
The iPhone SE (2022) is also water and dust resistant, with IP67 certification. I (accidentally) dropped the entire handset in water and it survived.
There is no 3.5mm headphone jack on the phone, but it does have a Lightning charging port, which could accommodate a pair of Lightning of earbuds. Those aren’t included, sadly, but the phone does work perfectly with wireless Airpods if you have them. There’s also a USB-C to Lightning port charging cable in the box.
If you’re upgrading from an iPhone 5S the iPhone SE’s 4.7-inch screen might feel like an upgrade, but in a world of monster-sized displays, 2,000,000:1 contrast ratios, and adaptive refresh rates, its 60Hz LCD luster might feel out of step.
Comparing the SE’s display to the best screens out there seemed pointless, though. if you want more, you will pay more (on any platform and from any handset manufacturer). In isolation though, the display looks good. across a wide variety of tasks from photography and videography, to web browsing, gameplay, and video, it looked good.
The screen can struggle in direct sunlight, but indoors, it’s still a winner.
I’ve seen iPhone 8 handsets drop to the floor and crack faster than you can say screen protector, and while you might assume that the iPhone SE, which shares much of the 8’s DNA, would be similarly inclined, but might be wrong.
Both the front and back of the iPhone SE (2022) are built from the same glass that’s on the back of all iPhone 13 phones. Sadly though, the SE doesn’t get Apple’s Ceramic Shield technology, so if you buy this phone, it still makes sense to spring for that silicone case.
Our phones are increasingly also our cameras these days, and any handset that skimps in this area is asking for trouble. Even though the iPhone SE (2022) is graced with just two lenses that are the same as those on the SE 2020, it manages to take photos that are pleasing to the eye, color-accurate, and often beautiful.
The rear 12MP, f/1/8 wide lens is now backed by the A15 Bionic’s image processing and supported by Smart HDR 4 and Deep Fusion (introduced with the A13 Bionic and present in the last iPhone SE).
I took the phone out to test the cameras, and was pleased not only by the image quality they delivered but with the speed. There’s optical image stabilization which meant I didn’t always have to plant my feet and stand perfectly still to grab a good-looking shot (video is supported by optical image stabilization, as well).
In Portrait mode you can adjust a faux-aperture setting to control the depth of field effect, throwing more of less of the background behind your subject out of FOCUS. I was a bit frustrated, however, that the iPhone SE Portrait Mode photography is still limited to people. you can’t shoot bokeh shots of dogs, plants, or anything else without a face.
iPhone SE 3 review top features: Good for 5G, but pay a little more for iPhone 11 and be happier tbh [Video]
The third-generation iPhone SE recently arrived with several updates that make it an appealing option for first-time iPhone users, or users on a budget. Although it costs slightly more than its direct predecessor, it’s the most cost-conscious brand new iPhone model that Apple sells.
In this hands-on iPhone SE 3 top features video, we take a look at what’s new, compare it to the previous-generation iPhone SE 2, and discuss some not-so-good features as well. We also consider why it may be better to consider purchasing an iPhone 11 instead, which can be had for just 70 more. Be sure to subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for more iPhone SE 3 videos.
Table of contents
- Same boring design and colors
- No Night Mode
- Same 7MP front-facing Camera
- No MagSafe
Small size and physical Home button
The design of the iPhone SE 3 could be seen as a negative, but some people no-doubt prefer the design of this phone due to two things: the smaller form factor and the physical Home button with Touch ID. I don’t have to explain why a smaller iPhone is desirable – my favorite smartphone of all time is the iPhone 13 mini – but the idea of a physical home button may appeal to those who have trouble mastering the gesture-based system that iOS has become. Besides that, I think the pandemic reminded many of us about the value of having Touch ID available for biometric authentication.
Video: iPhone SE 3 Top Features
But it’s not just about battery life or raw speed. The A15 provides other benefits, such as support for Smart HDR 4, Photographic Styles, and Deep Fusion. The image signal processor in the A15 also improves video quality, elevating the look of skin tones and yielding reduced noise in low-light scenarios.
If you’re a second-generation iPhone SE owner who’s considering upgrading, you’re definitely not going to notice massive performance improvements, but the A15 is noticeably faster, paves the way for improved battery life, and unlocks new photo-centric features.
G cellular connectivity
5G cellular connectivity is a welcomed new addition to the iPhone SE 3, which lacks the overhyped millimeter-wave connectivity but supports far more useful low- and mid-Band 5G spectrum. For as much as Verizon and others hyped mmWave, I’ve never been able to obtain a connection since the launch of the iPhone 12 in my local area, as it requires users to be within spitting distance of a mmWave cell tower.
But low-Band 5G is quite useful, especially in rural areas, and faster mid-Band 5G spectrum – the so-called sweet spot of the 5G layer cake – provides faster speed and the ability to travel over longer distances and penetrate walls. In other words, don’t feel like you’re missing out on so-called “true” mmWave 5G found on the iPhone 13, because in most cases it wouldn’t be available to you anyway.
Increased battery life
Even with the same dimensions and design, the iPhone SE 3 has improved battery life over its direct predecessor. Working alongside a slightly larger battery with updated chemistry, the A15’s efficiency improvements yield two more hours of video playback and 10 additional hours of audio playback.
If you’re coming from an older iPhone, such as the iPhone 6s, you’ll be even more impressed. Apple notes that the third-generation iPhone SE offers four more hours of video playback than the iPhone 6s.
Smart HDR 4 and Deep Fusion
The iPhone SE 3 features the same wide-angle camera as the iPhone SE 2, but it nonetheless receives two key photography-related upgrades with Deep Fusion and Smart HDR4.
Smart HDR 4, the forth-generation of Apple’s intelligent HDR, applies individual adjustments to both subjects and the background for contrast, color, and noise. It does so by combining the best parts of separate exposures into a single photo.
Deep Fusion, which debuted with the iPhone 11, is enabled by the 16-core Neural Engine on the A15 Bionic. An image processing system that utilizes advanced machine learning, Deep Fusion, unbeknown to the user, captures nine photos and fuses them together, picking the best of each. It then performs pixel-by-pixel photo processing on textures, noise, and details. In most cases Deep Fusion should result in reduced noise and increased detail, especially on high-texture areas such as sweaters, animal fur, etc.
Debuting with the release of the iPhone 13, Photographic Styles allow you to apply specific styles during capture while preserving skin tones, and it lets you preview the look prior to capture. Users gain access to four different customizable styles: rich contrast, vibrant, warm, and cool. Tone and warmth settings can be customized for each style, and each setting remains persistent.
Although the iPhone SE 3 sees a 30 price increase compared to the iPhone SE 2 that was released back in 2020, I still think it’s a reasonable price for a smartphone with Apple’s latest system on a chip and 5G cellular capability. Granted, you can get an iPhone 11 for 70 more, which provides a dual-camera system with ultra-wide camera. If you’re big into photography, the iPhone 11, at 499, is a compelling option, as it has a significantly better rear and front-facing camera system with support for 4K video capture and a 6.1-inch display with Face ID.
Beyond that, the next cheapest iPhone that Apple sells is the iPhone 12 mini at 600. In my opinion, if you’re shopping for an iPhone SE at 429, the jump in price to the 12 mini, a smartphone with a history of battery life issues, isn’t really in the cards.
Same boring design and colors
I included design on my list of top features for the iPhone SE 3 because some people really enjoy the smaller form factor and physical Home button. But for those of you who are primarily attracted to the iPhone SE 3 due to its price, the old long-in-the-tooth iPhone 8-era design can be seen as a negative. The screen, at 4.7-inches, is smaller than the iPhone mini, and it genuinely feels cramped to use, while the large bezels make the device feel ten years old.
On top of that, the colors of the iPhone SE are pretty boring, too. The colors might have different names – starlight and midnight – and slightly different hues, but I wish Apple would experiment with less pedestrian colorways.
No Night Mode
Of all of the camera features left out of the iPhone SE 3, Night Mode is the most practical. By using longer exposures, Night Mode allows you to take photos in low light with less noise. I don’t consider Night Mode to be a “pro” feature, or even an advanced feature. Anyone who shoots photos with their smartphones would benefit from better low light photos, so it’s unfortunate that it wasn’t included in the iPhone SE 3.
Same 7MP front-facing Camera
The iPhone SE features the same 7MP front-facing camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture as the 2nd-generation iPhone SE. While that was a great improvement over the abysmal 1.2 megapixel front shooter found in the original iPhone SE, selfie cameras have improved a lot over the last several years.
The iPhone SE 3 was rumored to support Apple’s MagSafe technology, which is one of the best innovations in smartphones in years. MagSafe, which debuted with the iPhone 12, is a magnetic quick-attach technology that’s used by Apple and third-party accessory makers. There are MagSafe-enabled chargers, which charge faster than standard Qi chargers, MagSafe battery packs, MagSafe-enabled wallets, and, of course, MagSafe cases.
The iPhone SE follows the tradition of its predecessors pretty well. It gives us the latest and greatest system on a chip inside an older budget chassis. Performance is on par with current-generation iPhones, but the iPhone SE 3, despite its adoption of 5G, lacks many of the creature comforts of modern smartphones.
The iPhone SE 3 will make brand new iPhone users and people coming from older iPhones happy. But in 2022, this body style and small 4.7-inch display are feeling downright ancient. And if photography and videography are important measuring sticks for you, then the iPhone 11 is a much better device in that regard.
iPhone 11 vs iPhone SE 3
With the way Apple supports older hardware – the original iPhone SE is running iOS 15 for crying out loud – I wouldn’t worry too much about having an A13 Bionic that’s several years old.
What do you guys think? Sound off down below in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев with your thoughts.
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The Best iPhone Camera Settings for Video in 2023
If you’re in the market for the best “bang for the buck” video camera, your search stops here! Why? Because the best video camera on the market is already in your That is … if you know the best iPhone camera settings for professional video.
iPhones today are packed with features and capabilities that — even just a few years ago — were unheard of in such a small form factor. With HDR video, multiple lenses, 4K recording, and seriously impressive processing features, there’s not much reason to invest in a high-end video camera anymore.
However, with so many features at your disposal, there are also a lot of settings to consider. We’re here to help! So let’s open the Camera app and run through the best iPhone camera settings for video in 2023.
Your resolution settings refer to how crisp your image is. Typically resolution is measured by how many pixels are displayed on the screen. There are more terms and nuances surrounding resolution than we can get into, but here’s a quick rundown: Standard definition is around 480p, while HD starts at 720p. 1080p is considered Full HD, and 4K is considered Ultra HD.
Since the iPhone 6S was released in 2015, every iPhone all the way up to the brand new iPhone 14 pro max has been able to record super crisp 4K video. 4K video means a lot of pixels, offering you the flexibility to crop and reframe footage if you’re editing in post-production. Unfortunately, 4K video also means a lot of data to store (150-440MB per minute depending on your framerate).
The good news is that most of your viewers aren’t going to notice the difference between 4K and 1080p footage. Think of 4K as a tool that can help you in the editing process. So, instead of shooting 4K for every shot, only use it when you want to capture as much detail as possible, or when you plan to drastically crop your shot for close-ups.
Enabling 4K video on your iPhone is easy: Open the Camera app, switch the camera mode to Video, and look to the corner of your screen. If you’re shooting in 1080p, you’ll see an HD label. Just tap HD to switch to 4K video.
For best image quality:
Shoot 4K at 24 FPS (we’ll get into FPS next). It’s the highest resolution available on iPhones and you’ll get lots of detail in the image.
For faster workflow:
Shoot HD most of the time for high-quality video that saves on storage. Then, bump it up to 4K if you plan to do heavy editing later.
Frame rate settings
Your frame rate (also called frames per second or FPS) refers to how many images are displayed in each second of a video. Your frame rate settings can change the look of your video, though not necessarily the quality. 24 FPS is the film industry standard for frame rate and is typically used in movies. 30 FPS is what you probably see most often: It’s the default setting for lots of devices and cameras, and it creates a natural motion blur. 60 FPS offers a super crisp experience for viewers (but it can look a bit unnatural).
You can quickly and easily change your frame rate settings in the Camera app. When you’re in video mode, just tap the number displayed next to the resolution. Depending on your phone and version of the Camera app, there will be different options for FPS. On my phone, I can choose between 30 and 60 FPS if I’m shooting in HD. If I’m shooting in 4K, I can also choose 24 FPS.
iPhones also let you shoot HD slow motion in either 120 or 240 FPS. Just keep in mind that you’ll see a significant drop in video quality so I recommend only using this mode to shoot some eye-catching b-roll.
For best image quality:
Shoot in 4K at 24 FPS. Your video will have a cinematic look viewers love with better low-light performance.
For faster workflow:
Stick to 30 FPS for most of your video shooting. Go with 60 FPS (and up) if you’re capturing action or sports, and 24 FPS if you’re feeling ✨Hollywood.✨
Simply put, exposure is how bright your video is. Photos or videos that are overexposed will look nearly white, and underexposed ones will be dark and shadowy. Both result in a loss of detail (not to mention an unappealing visual).
Exposure is simple to control in the iPhone’s native camera app, and there are two ways to do it. The first option is to tap your phone screen while you’re recording, right on the area you want to adjust, and the focal point will shift to that area. The app will adjust the entire image’s exposure to match that area. You’ll also notice a sun icon next to the yellow box, which you can pull up or down to fine-tune the automatic exposure.
The other option is to tap the arrow icon on the side of the frame. A dial will appear on your screen letting you adjust the automatic exposure sensitivity for the entire frame (aka exposure compensation). Exposure from 0.3 through 2 will brighten the image, and.0.3 through.2 will darken it. You’ll also get a helpful indicator at the side of the screen that lets you know if your shot is over- or underexposed.
Aside from these automatic exposure features, the native iPhone Camera app doesn’t offer many tools for adjusting this setting. That works for most people, but can be frustrating to deal with if the lighting conditions for your video keep changing — especially for advanced videographers who understand how ISO and shutter speed/angle affects an image. Luckily, there are supplementary camera apps that unlock the iPhone’s camera and introduce manual camera controls. One of these is Switcher Studio.
Switcher Studio is an iPhone camera app that lets you manually adjust and lock ISO and shutter speed (measured in milliseconds), and even lets you shoot in multiple bitrates (up to 96 Mbps), resolutions (720p, 1080p, 4K), and frame rates (23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 47.95, 48, 50, 59.94, 60). The settings are easy to use, easy to learn for beginners, and let you create the exact image you want — without fighting constant automatic adjustments.
For best image quality:
Download an app like Switcher Studio for precise control over your exposure. Leave the guesswork behind.
For faster workflow:
If you’re pressed for time and don’t care about image quality, use the iPhone’s native camera app and its auto exposure.
Color temperature is another important setting to keep in mind when shooting video because it determines whether your scene looks normal or unnaturally orange or blue.
Every light source — natural light or studio light — has a color temperature, and the sun’s color temperature changes depending on the time of day and weather conditions. You can probably see for yourself whether light is cool or warm, but color temperature is measured in kelvins. Lower numbers are “warmer” while higher numbers are “cooler.” For example, 3200 K is warm and looks orange (think “golden hour” sunlight). 6500 K is cool and looks blue (think overcast daylight). Bright, midday sunshine is right around the middle, about 5600 K.
When shooting a video, you can control the color temperature by color balancing — typically done by adjusting the white balance. The white balance tool helps adjust all of the colors in a shot to match what your eyes see in person. With the right white balance, something that looks white in-person will also look white in your shot (as opposed to orange or blue), and the rest of the colors in the shot will be normalized too.
iPhones automatically set color temperature based on what it sees in the environment, and it’s usually quite good at it. However, this can also be a weakness: If your shot has multiple light sources with different color temperatures, the iPhone’s Camera app might constantly adjust the color temperature during your recording. For example, if you have a ceiling light and two lamps with different light bulbs in your shot, the look of your video could change repeatedly as the iPhone tries to determine the right color temperature.
Once again, the solution here is to use a camera app with manual camera controls. There are a number of them, including Switcher. Not only can you manually adjust color temperature (or use a gray card to set the exact white balance), but you can also adjust the image’s tint if it’s looking too green or purple. You can also still automatically white balance your shot in Switcher Studio, and then you can lock that white balance so your video has the same natural look throughout your video.
For best image quality:
Use Switcher Studio to manually set or lock your white balance.
For faster workflow:
Shoot with the iPhone’s native Camera app and allow it to automatically adjust the white balance.
iPhone cameras and multicamera video
Most iPhones today have at least three cameras: your front camera, a standard 1x and an ultra-wide.5x camera. Certain models also come with a 2x or 3x telephoto camera. These advancements have opened the world of iPhone videography — and significantly lightened the camera bag of video professionals. Now you can have a quality multiple-lens toolkit in your
- Main: The 1x camera is the classic focal length you know and love: It’s wide, but not too wide, and doesn’t warp faces or scenes. This camera is good for just about every kind of shooting.
- Ultra Wide: The.5x ultra-wide lens is, well, really wide. In fact, it’s too wide for some subjects (like close-ups of faces) because it warps and stretches the image. However, it’s great for shooting low angles of buildings and grand interiors because it adds scope and scale to the image.
- Telephoto: The 2x (or 3x depending on your iPhone model) telephoto lens goes in the opposite direction of the wide angle with it’s digital zoom, and allows you to drastically zoom in on your shot. This camera is great for close-ups of people or objects because that compressed focal length adds depth and FOCUS to the subject at hand. You also get a more shallow depth of field with this lens, which makes for those desirable blurred backgrounds you get with large sensors and wide apertures on DSLR and cinema cameras.
These are three great, versatile camera options on one device. The only drawback is that there’s no way to shoot true multicamera video in the native iPhone Camera app. However, it’s possible to connect multiple iPhones — and switch between them — with the Switcher Studio app! You can sync up to nine iOS devices to Switcher Studio, which means you have a new use for those older iPhone models you might have laying around.
You can have a main camera angle, a close-up shot, an overhead angle, a side shot — any other angles you can think of. Then, switch between angles or display multiple camera feeds on the screen simultaneously. Your completed production can be saved locally or on the Cloud, plus, if you use Switcher Studio’s Director Mode, you can save the recording of each individual angle. Then just drop them into an editor like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut to stitch them together however you like.
For best image quality:
Use the 1x camera for most shots, and the.5x and 2-3x cameras for specialty shots. If you need multicam for iPhone videography, use Switcher Studio.
For faster workflow:
Stick to just switching between the different cameras in the iPhone camera app, but you won’t have as much flexibility later.
Processing features and other tools
There are a few extra features to explore in your iPhone camera. Some see these tools as gimmicks and others swear by them — I’ll let you decide.
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. This feature does its best to equally expose shadows and highlights to retain lots of detail in the image. iPhone HDR video does this by taking multiple exposures at once and stitching them together in the final image.
Sometimes it can look incredible. Other times the image can look washed out, low-contrast, or oddly colored, especially for skin tones. Though it can be hit or miss, it’s worth testing to see if it suits your video needs.
To enable HDR on your iPhone, go to Settings, Camera, Record Video, then toggle on HDR video.
Do a test before you start recording. If HDR looks good for your shot, keep it on. If not, turn it off.
The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro introduced Cinematic Mode, which uses depth data and processing to blur the background around a subject. This setting is intended to mimic true depth of field on a DSLR or cinema camera (similar to Portrait Mode when taking a photo).
Cinematic Mode can be used to great effect … or it can look embarrassingly fake. The best way to make Cinematic Mode look good is by reducing the effect so that the blur is very subtle. Do this by tapping the small f with a number next to it (the faux aperture setting). The higher you go, the less blurry the background. I think the sweet spot is around f5.6 to f8: You’ll get a nice subtle blur, and if the iPhone’s processing isn’t perfect around the edges of your subject, it won’t be too noticeable. The great thing is that you can go back and readjust later.
Use Cinematic Mode for detail shots and when you want to separate your subject from its surroundings, but don’t go overboard.
Good composition is essential in video. You want your subject framed properly, but it can be difficult to do this without some help. A good rule of thumb is the rule of thirds — a well-known composition guideline to help photographers and videographers frame their subjects. That’s where grid lines come in, adding two vertical lines and two horizontal lines to your screen while shooting. These equidistant lines create a grid to help you follow the rule of thirds.
To access grid lines in the iPhone’s native camera app, open Settings, then Camera. Then, just “Grid” on or off as you like. Other video apps also have grid lines. Switcher Studio even offers an additional 4:3 overlay, which is great if you prefer that orientation over the usual 16:9, or if you want to ensure your subject will stay in-frame even if your video gets cropped. Switcher Studio’s grid lines are also accessible in your iPhone’s settings: Just find Switcher, then Camera Guides.
Always use grid lines. They’re a cheat sheet for good composition.
Let’s Wrap This Up
Believe it or not, your iPhone is your secret weapon for professional video, and if you follow this best iPhone camera settings guide, you’ll be amazed at the professional video quality you can achieve.
However, your iPhone’s native camera app will only take you so far. Even a beginner videographer will soon outgrow automatic settings, and that’s where Switcher Studio comes in. When you download the Switcher Studio multicamera software for iOS devices, you unlock your iPhone’s true professional video power! Not only do you get manual controls and high-quality recording in the app, but also custom graphics like lower thirds and premade animations. You can produce your entire video in minutes without ever having to export footage to a computer for tedious post-production editing. Switcher Studio is a flexible experience that’s simple to learn, but grows with you as your video production skills advance.
Download Switcher Studio on the App Store today or start here with a free 2-week trial before subscribing.