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How to turn off Macro mode on iPhone Pro

Tired of your iPhone camera constantly switching to Macro mode? Read this.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer and  Christina Darby, Associate Editor
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor


Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Apple's iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max have impressive camera setups that are incredibly fun to use. The cinematic video mode, with its dynamic focus-panning, is enough to make you feel like a creative pro.

In addition to the fancy video mode, Apple also added the option to take Macro photos -- that is, close-up shots of objects -- starting with the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max; it's a feature that was carried forward to the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max.

Also: How to take great macro photos with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max

iPhone models that can take macro photos have the feature enabled by default. That means when you open the camera app and start to frame your photo, the phone automatically recognizes it's getting close to an item and will switch to Macro mode without you doing a thing. It's a nice feature to have, but it can be jarring and it might not always be what you want or how you want to take the photo. 

Apple eventually added a button (starting with iOS 15.1) that can enable or disable Macro mode on demand, directly in the Camera app. 

How to turn on the Macro Control button

1. Update your software

Before you find the new setting, make sure you've installed iOS 15.1 (or a newer version). You can do that by opening the Settings app and going to General > Software Update


Make sure your software is up to date by going to settings, then general, and click on the "software update" option. 

Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNet

2. Turn on Macro Control

After updating your iPhone (if needed), you need to turn on the Macro Control button by going to Settings > Camera and scrolling to the very bottom of the page. Slide the switch next to Macro Control to the On position. 


Turn off Auto Macro to stop your camera from jumping all around when trying to take a photo. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

How to take a Macro photo with the new Macro Control button 

Now that your iPhone's camera will no longer automatically detect and switch lenses to take a Macro photo, how do you take one on purpose? Glad you asked. 

Also: How to AirPlay to a TV

Open the camera app, make sure it's in Photo mode, and frame the shot as you normally would. In the viewfinder you'll see a new macro button (it looks like a flower). When the button is yellow, Macro mode is turned on and available. When it's not yellow, you're taking regular photos. 

Macro Control on iPhone 14 Pro Max
Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/ZDNET


What can you expect from the results of a macro photo?

Macro shots allow you to capture subjects as close as two centimeters away. Still macro photos, with enough lighting, can capture finer details like the whiskers of your furry friend to the droplets on a flower petal. 

For a little inspiration, check out the finalists from Apple's Macro Shot on iPhone Challenge.

Do the iPhone 13/iPhone 14 and iPhone 14/13 Pro have the same cameras?

While both the iPhone 13/14 and 13 Pro/14 Pro offer multi-camera setups, the difference in the cameras lies in their rear lenses. The iPhone 13 has a dual camera system -- including an ultra-wide and wide lens. 

Also: iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro: Is it worth the upgrade?

If you're looking to shoot from further away or capture more candid moments, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro have an additional telephoto lens and, of course, the capability to shoot macro photography.

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