Apple’s newest top iPhone is struggling to sharpen close objects. The manufacturer himself admitted this in a developer presentation at WWDC 2021. Until now it was unclear where this so-called Minimum Focus Distance (MFD) was for Apple smartphones; the group did not specify them in the technical documentation.
More distance is better
While the wide-angle camera of the iPhone X still manages to correctly autofocus down to a distance of 10 cm, the iPhone 12 Pro Max only measures 15 cm due to the integrated sensor shift optics for image stabilization. For the iPhone XS Max and the iPhone 12 Pro, it remains at 12 cm. When using the telephoto lens, it is 40 cm for the iPhone X, XS Max and 12 Pro, while the 12 Pro Max is 50 cm. All of this comes from the “What’s new in camera capture?” – Video that the group published last week.
The higher MFD on the iPhone 12 Pro Max has specific effects on use. This can make it difficult to sharpen objects that are too close, which every user has probably already noticed. For example, Apple mentions the scanning of relatively small QR codes that require the user to get close with the camera – the focus may fail completely here. This can be circumvented by increasing the distance and manually zooming in on the object to be captured.
API helps – but developers have to work
In iOS 15 there is a solution that can partially automate this process; However, developers will have to implement them manually. You can use several new API functions to calculate how much distance there has to be so that an object is completely captured in the search and guide the user accordingly or preselect the zoom level, which motivates him to increase the distance.
The new process should be implemented by developers who regularly have QR codes scanned in their apps; But such functions are also very useful for alternatives to the camera app. Knowing about the Minimal Focus Distance also helps the latter to adapt various other features in their apps – why Apple is only now providing the values remains unclear.