Apple has made massive improvements to the iPhone XS camera in terms of both hardware and software. While the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max feature a larger sensor with bigger pixels, they also come with an improved processing algorithm for improved details, contrast, and dynamic range. However, a processing change on Apple’s behalf particularly for selfies has annoyed a lot of iPhone XS owners.
iPhone XS owners are complaining about selfie photos having excessive skin smoothing effect. This results in selfie photos taken from the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max having a very artificial look. This is similar to what Samsung, Vivo, Oppo, and Huawei do on their devices as well. In devices from these OEMs, this feature is usually called the beauty filter and there’s an option to increase/decrease its effect, though there’s no way to completely disable it.
On the iPhone XS, however, there’s no such option to reduce this beauty filter effect for selfies. The rear camera also tends up apply a certain degree of this beauty filter on faces of people but this can be toned down to a great degree by turning off the Smart HDR feature.
The side effect of this beauty filter is that it makes people look smoother than it actually is. It also removes all blemishes and spots from one’s face. While this may please selfie lovers, a lot of iPhone XS owners are annoyed by this change especially since there’s no option to turn this off.
The beauty filter-like effect can be a side effect of Apple’s post-processing algorithms working to heavily reduce noise which ends up wiping or smoothening out a lot of details from textures. This is the most likely explanation for the beauty filter-like effect since it is present across all photos irrespective of whether it is a selfie or not.
This change is not a part of iOS 12 since it is only applicable for the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. The iPhone X running iOS 12 continues to capture selfie photos without applying a gracious amount of sharpening effect on one’s face.
Maybe given how annoyed iPhone XS owners are by this change, it is possible Apple will end up offering an option to turn off this beauty filter or reduce its effect with iOS 12.1 update.