Apple iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 12 Max camera 3
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Apple’s iPhone 13 series could debut autofocus on the ultra-wide camera.
  • This would follow in the footsteps of Android OEMs like Huawei, Samsung, and OnePlus.
  • Autofocus on an ultra-wide camera enables better quality shots, more flexibility, and a macro mode.

Apple introduced an ultra-wide camera on all its iPhones back in 2019, with the iPhone 11 series debuting the feature. The ultra-wide snapper has returned with the iPhone 12 family, but it looks like Apple is taking inspiration from Android OEMs for a rumored ultra-wide upgrade.

According to veteran Apple tracker and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (h/t: MacRumors), the Cupertino company will finally add autofocus capabilities to the ultra-wide camera of the iPhone 13 series. More specifically, the analyst says only the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max models will be getting autofocus support. But Kuo reckons that all iPhone 14 models will get autofocus on the ultra-wide snapper.

Either way, the addition of this feature would be a significant upgrade over the iPhone 12 series, which has relied on fixed-focus ultra-wide cameras.

Ultra-wide cameras with autofocus are common in the Android flagship space, with the likes of Asus, Huawei, OnePlus, Samsung, and Xiaomi all offering this feature. In saying so, the Pixel 5 and LG V60 were two high-profile Android flagships that lacked this feature. Nevertheless, this is definitely a case of Apple playing catch-up in this regard.

Why does this matter?

Motorola Edge macro mode 1

An ultra-wide camera with autofocus yields a number of benefits over a fixed-focus shooter. For starters, you can expect more consistent, higher quality ultra-wide shots, as the camera is able to automatically keep the scene as sharp as possible.

Another benefit of ultra-wide cameras with autofocus is that you can take more creative shots, as you’re able to tap anywhere to focus (i.e. foreground or background). Meanwhile, fixed focus ultra-wide cameras tend to focus on the distance, making it tough to take snaps of something in the foreground.

Finally, an autofocus module on the wider camera also enables macro shots without the need for a dedicated macro camera. And we’ve seen Android players like Huawei, OnePlus, Motorola, and Samsung all offer this mode via their ultra-wide snappers. Macro shots via ultra-wide cameras tend to be of higher quality than the same shot taken with a dedicated macro camera, owing to macro cameras having low-resolution sensors and no autofocus.

So we’d expect Apple to tout almost all of these benefits if it is indeed bringing autofocus to the iPhone 13 family. What else would you like to see from the iPhone 13 series? Let us know via the poll above.