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What is portrait mode?

portrait mode from an iPhone 7 Plus circa 2016
Portrait mode from the iPhone 7 Plus circa 2016

Portrait mode is the capability of a phone or tablet to apply a depth-of-field feature to a photo. By detecting a person in the foreground and blurring the background, the result is a focused portrait.

Apple introduced the concept of portrait mode first with their iPhone 7, iOS 10.1 on October 24, 2016. The feature has since been included on every subsequent iOS device starting in 2017.

Additionally, the 12-megapixel wide-angle camera on both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus included optical image stabilization, a larger ƒ/1.8 aperture and a new 6-element lens enabling brighter, more detailed photos and videos any time of day, while a wide color capture allowed for more vibrant colors with more detail.

Portrait mode was released in beta and rolled out into production later in 2016.

Android soon followed with their own version of portrait mode first seen on the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. These devices were released October 19, 2017.

Google Pixel 2 portrait mode – circa 2017

Similar to portrait mode, Headshot uses an auto-background blur and removal technology in their iPhone and iPad app. Additionally, you can replace the background with a solid color of your choice, custom border and multiple output format options.