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What is Deep Fusion? Here’s everything you need to know about Apple’s powerful camera software and why it is so important inside modern iPhones…



Key Takeaways: What is Deep Fusion on iPhone?

  • Deep Fusion is Apple’s image processing technology for enhancing photo quality in low-light conditions, using machine learning for detailed pixel optimization.
  • It was introduced with the iPhone 11 series and works by capturing and merging nine images into one to improve textures, details, and reduce noise.
  • The technology operates automatically in certain light conditions, requiring no user input, and is available on iPhone models starting from the iPhone 11 to the latest releases.
  • Deep Fusion is just one example of machine learning inside iPhone. Apple’s consumer-facing AI project is due to launch inside the iPhone 16 series.


Apple knows that camera performance is important to its users. This is why, over the course of the last several years, the company has invested billions in bulking out the camera performance, both still and video, aboard its flagship Pro and Pro Max models.

Deep Fusion is just one of the things that makes the iPhone’s camera so damn impressive. In this guide, you’ll learn all about what Deep Fusion is, how it works, and why it is such an important component of your iPhone’s camera.

The actual technology behind Deep Fusion is immensely complex, you’d need an engineering degree to understand it, but as always we’ll simplify the technology, explaining how it works and why it matters in a manner that anyone can understand.

Let’s dig in…

How Deep Fusion Works

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Unlike a standard photo taken by a smartphone, which typically involves snapping a single image, Deep Fusion activates even before you press the shutter button.

It utilizes Apple’s computational photography techniques to capture a series of images at different exposures.

As soon as you tap the shutter, Deep Fusion has already taken four short images and four secondary images.

Once the shutter is pressed, one long-exposure image is captured. The system then analyses these multiple images, down to the pixel level, selecting the best from each and assembling them into a single photo.

Deep Fusion prioritizes the short-exposure images, which are less susceptible to motion blur, to maintain the highest level of detail possible.

The Role of Apple’s A-series Chips and the Neural Engine

The computational prowess needed to execute the complex process of Deep Fusion is rooted in the A-series Bionic chips, starting from the A13 Bionic chip introduced in the iPhone 11.

In the newer models, this power is further enhanced by more advanced versions of the chip, such as the A15 Bionic chip present in the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Teamed up with Apple’s Neural Engine, these mighty Bionic chips act as the silent heroes behind your every photo.

Every time you press the shutter button, an intricate dance of technology begins, orchestrated by these potent processors. In a split second, faster than a blink of an eye, they sift through multiple layers of information, analyzing each pixel.

But the Neural Engine and the Bionic chips don’t just analyze these images – they understand them via machine learning.

They make smart choices about how to optimize each pixel for clarity, texture, and noise reduction.

This not only elevates the detail and overall quality of your photos, but also ensures that the process is virtually instantaneous – there’s no Deep Fusion button or setting, it just happens automatically in the background.

So, when you press that shutter button, what you get is not just a simple snap, but a photo meticulously crafted by a powerful marriage of hardware and software, giving you the best image possible, each and every time.

The Impact on Your Photos

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Deep Fusion Image Example From Apple

The result of Deep Fusion’s intricate processing is an image with dramatically enhanced detail and texture.

Fabric patterns, skin tones, and other fine details are preserved and enhanced. Noise is minimized, and even in medium to low light conditions, photos maintain a striking clarity.

In essence, Deep Fusion is like having a professional photo editing studio in your pocket, working behind the scenes each time you take a photo.

It optimizes your images without requiring you to manually adjust settings or spend time in post-processing. It’s part of what makes Apple’s iPhone cameras, from its Pro Max and Pro models to its basic non-Pro models, so great at point and shoot image capture.

Deep Fusion FAQs

What is the difference between Deep Fusion and Smart HDR?

Both Deep Fusion and Smart HDR are image processing techniques used in iPhones to enhance photo quality, but they work in slightly different ways:

  • Smart HDR: This technology has been around for a while and is available on a wider range of iPhone models. It captures multiple exposures at different light levels and combines them into a single image with better overall exposure, balancing highlights and shadows. It’s ideal for everyday photos taken in various lighting conditions.
  • Deep Fusion: This is a more advanced technique introduced with the iPhone 11 series. It utilizes a more complex process that analyzes individual pixels across multiple exposures. It goes beyond exposure balancing and aims to capture finer details and textures, especially in areas with mixed lighting. Deep Fusion is typically activated automatically in medium-to-low light environments where capturing detail is crucial.

What is the best quality setting for iPhone?

There isn’t a single “best” quality setting for all iPhone photos. The optimal setting depends on the specific situation and your priorities:

  • High Efficiency (HEIC): This is the default setting on most iPhones. It offers a good balance between image quality and file size, making it suitable for everyday use.
  • High-Quality (JPEG): This setting produces larger file sizes but offers slightly better image quality, especially noticeable when zooming in on photos. Choose this if storage space isn’t a major concern and you prioritize maximum detail.
  • Apple ProRAW: (Available on iPhone 12 Pro and later models) This format captures uncompressed image data, offering the most control for professional editing. However, ProRAW files are very large and require additional software for editing.

For more information, please check out our guide on iPhone Photography Tips and Tricks.

How do you take pictures without Deep Fusion?

Deep Fusion activates automatically in low-to-medium light scenarios. There isn’t a direct way to disable it within the camera app. However, here are a couple of workarounds:

  • Ensure good lighting: If possible, try capturing the photo in brighter conditions where Deep Fusion might not be triggered.
  • Use Burst Mode: Taking a burst of photos increases the chance of capturing a frame that wasn’t processed by Deep Fusion. You can then choose the best image from the burst later.

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