iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro: How to Record Dolby Vision HDR Videos

iPhone 12 Pro Max Camera

With the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro series, Apple added Dolby Vision HDR recording to the devices. While there are a few flagship Android smartphones out there that can record HDR videos, none of them can do so in Dolby Vision format. If you have just gotten a new iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max, check out this guide to know how you can record Dolby Vision HDR videos on your iPhone.

iPhones have always been known for its video recording capabilities and by adding Dolby Vision recording support, Apple has once again leapfrogged its competition. The bigger deal is that on the iPhone 12 series, one can record as well as edit 4K Dolby Vision videos without any issues. This is something that’s not possible on other Android smartphones.

The iPhone 12 series by default records videos in Dolby Vision. While these videos are a treat to look at, I will strongly recommend most users to switch it off. Continue reading this article to know why. But before you start recording Dolby Vision HDR videos on your iPhone, you should first know what Dolby Vision video actually is.

Read: The 10 Best iPhone 12 Features

What is Dolby Vision?

Dolby Vision is a high dynamic range 4K video format that has been developed by the Dolby team known for its Dolby Surround certification. Without going into too many specifics, Dolby Vision videos have a higher dynamic range, better and more vivid colors, better tone definition, higher brightness, and more. Compared to HDR10+ video format, Dolby Vision has one key advantage: it stores dynamic metadata of each and every frame in a video. This allows Dolby Vision videos to be mastered in up to 12-bit color depth, while HDR10 is limited to 10-bit color depth. Apart from recording a video in Dolby Vision, you must also have a display that’s capable of playing back Dolby Vision videos.

You can check out a Dolby Vision video sample today:

How Can One Watch Dolby Vision Video?

Don’t be surprised if you are not able to tell the difference in quality when watching a Dolby Vision video. This is because you must watch the video on a device or TV that’s capable of playing back Dolby Vision videos. Most high-end TVs from LG, Panasonic, Philips, TCL, Sony, and Hisense do support Dolby Vision video format. The only notable exception here is Samsung which supports the HDR10+ format.

A number of Apple products already support Dolby Vision. This includes the Apple TV 4K, iPad Pro 11-inch and 12.9-inch, and iPhone 8 and newer. However, it is only on the iPhone X and newer iPhones that you will be able to truly enjoy Dolby Vision videos as OLED panels have better brightness levels and contrast.

What to Know Before Recording Dolby Vision Videos on iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro

  • iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 can record Dolby Vision videos at a maximum resolution of 4K 30fps.
  • iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max can record Dolby Vision videos at 4k 60fps.
  • You can also record Dolby Vision videos from the front camera.
  • Dolby Vision videos are stored in HEVC format on the iPhone 12.
  • You can directly edit Dolby Vision videos on your iPhone 12 using iMovie.
  • Dolby Vision videos will occupy slightly more space compared to regular videos.
  • All major social medial networks do not support HDR video playback.

Do remember that since Dolby Vision videos are HDR videos, their editing process is different as well. If you drop a Dolby Vision video shot on your iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro to Final Cut Pro or any other editor, you will end up seeing a video that’s completely overexposed. Plenty of other apps might also have issues with Dolby Vision videos. This is why I will strongly recommend users to only use Dolby Vision recording on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro when shooting scenes with a lot of contrast or too much light.

iPhone 12 back

How to Record Dolby Vision Videos on iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max

Step 1: Open the Settings app and scroll down to Camera.

Step 2: Inside Camera settings, tap on Record Video, and then enable the HDR Video (High Efficiency) toggle.

iPhone 12 Dolby Vision

Do note that you will not get an option to enable/disable HDR video recording on the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro series from within the Camera app.


Have you recorded Dolby Vision HDR videos on your iPhone 12 yet? If so, were you impressed with its quality? Drop a comment and let us know!