Tech

The Halide app update brings macro photography to older iPhones

Have an older iPhone? Don’t worry, you can still access the iPhone 13 Pro’s fancy new macro lens.

The Halide 2.5 app update brings macro photography — aka, extreme closeup shots — to the iPhone 8 and higher. To access the mode in the app, users just have to tap the “AF” button to switch from auto to manual focus, where macro mode lives, then tap the flower icon.

Previously, macro photography could only be accomplished with the use of additional physical lenses, which can cost upwards of $100. The Halide app is free to download, but it does cost $2.99/month or $11.99/year to unlock full features like macro mode.

“Entering Macro Mode, smart things start to happen in Halide,” said Ben Sandofsky, the app’s cofounder, in a blog post. “To begin, Halide examines your available cameras and switches to whichever one has the shortest minimum focus distance. Then it locks focus at that nearest point. You can tap anywhere on screen to adjust focus; unlike our standard camera mode, we configure the focus system to only search for objects very close to you.”

Halide also offers something called Neural Macro, which is an edit feature that upscales images for even sharper and smoother results. Since this does crop the image, users also have the ability to revert the crop by opening the photo in their camera roll and tapping “Edit” and “Revert.”

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For those who want the control of a macro mode but none of the editing, the app also allows for shooting in just RAW mode or RAW+JPG mode, which saves both types of files.

For those just starting out in iPhone photography and unwilling to drop more than $1,000 on an iPhone 13 Pro for the updated lens, Halide offers an affordable and technically impressive solution. The updated app is available now on the App Store for iPhones and iPads.

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