iPhone 13 Pro Cinematic Mode: What You Need To Know

By Michael Grothaus •  Updated: 01/27/22 •  4 min read

The iPhone 13 Pro’s new feature lets you shoot movies like Hollywood pros.

Wondering about iPhone 13 Pro Cinematic Mode? Read on!

Apple’s new iPhone 13 series has officially been unveiled. The new iPhone 13 series comes in a wealth of color options and new storage options. They also feature the faster A15 chipset (but sorry, still no under-screen Touch ID) and the Pro models come with MAJOR camera enhancements.

One of those camera enhancements is called Cinematic Mode. Cinematic Mode is a new feature on the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max that allows for some pretty cool Hollywood effects without you doing more than lifting a finger.

Those Hollywood effects revolve around the rack focus – and before the iPhone 13 Pro series, you’d need a professional film camera to pull off rack focus shots. But with the iPhone 13 Pro and Cinematic Mode, rack focusing on the iPhone is incredibly easy.

iPhone 13 Pro Cinematic Mode: What You Need To Know
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What Is A Rack Focus? 

In filmmaking, a rack focus is one of the oldest tricks in the book. A rack focus is when a subject in the shot (like a superhero) is in focus on the screen. However, when the meteor lands behind him, the focus suddenly shifts to that fallen space object, blurring the superhero in the frame in the process.

This change of focus on the subject (and subsequent blurring of the original subject) is known as a rack focus (or occasionally a focus pull). A rack focus is an essential tool when the filmmaker wants to direct the focus of the audience’s gaze to something new in the same shot.

On a film set, you pull off a rack focus by manually adjusting the lens on the camera – physically rotating it so the perfect focus goes from one subject to the next. A rack focus must be pulled off perfectly or else the shot will look funny. A rack focus can be too fast, too slow, or not crisply focus on the other subject as desired.

That’s why camera crews usually have a focus puller – a crew member dedicated to only doing rack focuses. It’s a highness specialized manual talent.

Well, it was until the iPhone 13 Pro came along.

Cinematic Mode Brings Rack Focus To The iPhone

iPhone 13 Pro Cinematic Mode: What You Need To Know
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With the iPhone 13 Pro series, Cinematic Mode brings the rack focus to the iPhone. But there isn’t much manual technique of the user involved. Instead, Cinematic Mode handles almost all of the rack focus manipulations automatically.

This is thanks to the powerful computational photography processes built into the iPhone 13 Pro series. To enable Cinematic Mode on the iPhone 13 Pro, in the Camera app, tap “Cinematic” and then do the following:

Cinematic Mode is only available on the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max. It requires iOS 15 or later.

  1. Apple's iPhone 13 Mini
  2. Apple's iPhone 13 Mini
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    If you miss the days of small iPhones, the iPhone 13 Mini will be right up your street. With its extremely pocketable dimensions, the iPhone 13 Mini packs in all the same specs and features as the iPhone 13, just in a much smaller chassis. 


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  3. Apple's iPhone 13 Pro
  4. Apple's iPhone 13 Pro
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    If you want more performance and improved imaging, the iPhone 13 Pro is what you should be looking at. Featuring the most advanced camera system on the market, Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro is the perfect phone for users that demand the absolute best from their phones. 


    We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

  5. Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
  6. Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
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    It has the best camera, the best battery, one of the best screens ever put in a production phone, and it has the fastest chip on the market. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is by far and away the best phone you can buy now. Yes, it is expensive. But keep in mind that you’ll be able to comfortably run this phone for at least the next six to seven years without issue. 

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Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.
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