The iPhone 13 Pro has an upgraded camera with both an improved telephoto lens, Cinematic Mode for capturing portrait videos, and a macro photography feature that lets you shoot extreme close-ups. The macro effect is incredibly cool. But Apple didn’t give iPhone 13 Pro owners a whole lot control over shooting macros. That’s about to change.
At launch, the 13 Pro’s camera simply switched modes automatically when you got close enough to an object, and did so with a visible shift that was pretty jarring (and a little janky for Apple software, to be quite honest). In iOS 15.1, Apple introduced a little more control over macro mode in the Settings app, letting you toggle the Auto Macro feature on or off. But that still wasn’t ideal, because then you had to switch to the ultra-wide camera manually and then zoom in to get a macro shot—not quite as seamless as it should be, and the effect wasn’t quite the same as the auto macro in my testing.
So Apple went back to the drawing board and with iOS 15.2, rolling out sometime in the near feature, you’ll be able to switch to macro mode directly within the Camera app as the universe intended. The new option, first spotted by 9to5Mac, just rolled out in the developer beta 2 of iOS 15.2. After installing the beta, I found it much simpler to use than either of the previous implementations of macro mode.
Simply get close enough to the object you want to shoot and look for the little flower icon to pop up on the camera preview. Tap on it, and you’ve activated macro mode. You’ll need to make sure you dive into Settings > Camera > Auto Macro and make sure the setting is toggled off before the flower will pop up.
iOS 15.2 promises to be a pretty big update. In addition to easier-to-use manual macro mode, Apple is also rolling out its Digital Legacy feature for designating loved ones as account stewards for you when you die (depressing, but necessary) and a Messages feature that will blur nude photos sent to children and give them the option to find resources to help in case of abuse. And, finally, an iOS 15.2 update to Find My will let you see unknown trackers near you to prevent the use of AirTags as stalking devices. The macro mode feature is probably the least important feature in this major update, but still a useful one. iOS 15.2 is expected to roll out in the coming weeks, and, of course, things may change slightly from the developer beta to the public release.