Halide is one of the top iPhone photography applications, and it has just upgraded its app with a new macro function, meant to compliment the new macro mode that Apple introduced with this year’s iPhone 13 Pro models.
But Halide’s 2.5 version does more than just add support for Apple’s existing macro capability on the iPhone 13 Pro. It goes a step further and includes a macro option for earlier iPhones as well, utilizing Apple’s Neural Engine for “AI-based detail augmentation,” which employs a neural network to extract extra detail from the close-up photo, even when cropped in.
The “official” macro mode on the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max takes advantage of Apple’s new ultra-wide lens, which, unlike the ultra-wide on the normal iPhone 13 models or prior iPhones, includes an auto-focus option that allows for ultra-close up shooting.
Halide mimics that effect in two ways: first, it detects which camera lens on your device can focus the closest, and then the app provides “sub-millimeter” focus control to help you obtain the perfect photo. The image is then upscaled using the aforementioned “Neural Macro” capability, resulting in sharp photos even when cropped in by 2x or 3x.
To use Macro Mode in Halide, you must first upgrade the app to Halide 2.5 from the App Store. Then, hit the “AF” button to turn off autofocus, which brings up the manual focus menu, where you may enable Macro Mode by tapping a new flower icon.
Beta version of the new update on the iPhone 12 pro results were rather astounding. It’s not quite up to the level of the iPhone 13 Pro’s macro capabilities — there are still physical limitations to what the older hardware is physically capable of — but it’s a better solution than simply holding your phone close to your subject and hoping for the best, and it’s a fun tool to experiment with. While I don’t have an iPhone 13 Pro to test with, Halide claims that its Macro Mode improves that capability for even better macro photographs.
The new Macro Mode addition is a free upgrade for Halide owners and works on any iPhone that supports Apple’s Neural Engine (including the iPhone 8 and all subsequent models). Halide can be downloaded for free from the App Store with a seven-day free trial and purchased for $2.99 per month, $11.99 per year subscriptions, or a one-time payment of $ 49.99.