iPhone 6s: Improve Low Light Camera Performance

iPhone 6s: How to Improve Low Light Camera PerformanceHere’s a tutorial on how you can quickly improve the image quality of your low light shots with the iPhone 6s camera. In essence, the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6 are pretty similar in terms of picture quality. In some cases however, the new “Live Photos” feature can actually make things worse for the newer iPhone. This is due to the technical background of the new feature, which aims to algorithmically provide you with a short movie clip of every photo you take – apparently at the cost of some of the noise reduction capabilities or internal resolution. So don’t worry, your iPhone 6s camera is probably alright, even if it’s taking noisy images in difficult lighting conditions!

How to improve photo quality on the iPhone 6s

The culprit, as explained above, is the new “Live Photos” feature. By disabling it temporarily, we can increase the image quality with difficult lighting, such as backlit scenes or a mix of cloudy skies and reflective surfaces. Dimly lit outdoor and indoor areas benefit from this little tweak as well.

A little photography background on this issue: Your iPhone camera records with a certain shutter speed, which varies depending upon whether “Live Photos” are enabled. If the iPhone does not have to record an actual video, it can mix and match and adapt better to the situation at hand, effectively taking a little more time to capture the additional information needed to provide a high fidelity image.

The difference is quite significant, as seen in the test of our colleagues at 9to5Mac (image courtesy of 9to5mac.com):


How to disable “Live Photos” to increase your image quality

To disable the “Live Photos” feature simply open up your “Camera” app, look for the circular icon that is tinted yellow in the toolbar at the top, then tap it and you should see “LIVE OFF” displayed as on the screenshot above.

Here’s another annotated screenshot for additional guidance:

how to turn off live photos