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How to disable this super annoying camera feature on the iPhone 13 Pro

Tired of the camera on your iPhone 13 Pro or 13 Pro Max constantly switching to Macro mode? Read this.


Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

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

In addition to the new video mode, Apple also added the option to take Macro photos -- that is, close-up shots of objects -- for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max

However, when the phones were first released, there wasn't any sort of button to switch into Macro mode. Instead, the phone would recognize that it was getting close to an item and automatically switch to Macro mode. 

The problem: you don't want this jarring automatic switch interrupting your quick, creative snap. 

As the reviews rolled in and users expressed their annoyance, Apple quickly confirmed that a future update would include a toggle to disable Auto Macro mode switching. And with the release of iOS 15.1, Apple made good on its promise. 

How to turn off Auto Macro mode


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

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

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

2. Once your iPhone is updated, turn off Auto Macro mode by going to Settings > Camera and scrolling to the very bottom of the page. Slide the switch next to Auto Macro to the Off position. 

How to take a Macro photo with automatic switching turned off

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. 

Open the camera app, switch to the ultra-wide camera -- it's the 0.5 option in the app -- and then get really close to the item you're trying to photograph. 

In my basic testing, it doesn't appear that you can get as close with manual Macro mode as you could previously, but the results are still impressive.

How to use Macro Control Mode

All of this isn't to say that Auto Macro is useless. If you still want to utilize the magnified shots that Macro mode delivers (and with the iPhone's suggestion), you can also turn on the Macro Control toggle within the camera settings. 

Simply go to Settings > Camera > and turn on Macro Control

What exactly does this control toggle do? When taking your next close-up picture, get up close to the subject and the Camera app will display a macro button -- a flower encapsulated by a yellow circle. Tap the button to turn off the automatic switching or tap again to turn it on -- the choice is yours. 

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

Macro shots allow you to capture subjects as close as 2 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.

Should I turn off Macro Mode or use Macro Control?

If you're a photography buff or wanting to unleash your inner creative, you may want to opt for Macro Control so you can play around with the advanced feature. If you purchased the iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max for a routine phone upgrade or for reasons aside from the camera updates, the automatic shift to Macro mode when simply trying to take a close-up of your morning cup of coffee may call for you to turn the mode off completely. 

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

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


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