How To Take 48MP Photos With The iPhone

Some of the latest iPhones can take 48MP photos, but this is deactivated by default. Here’s why…and how you can take them.

There’s a famous phrase about photography that most people love when they hear: “The best camera is the one you have on you.”

I’m not sure who said it (maybe it was Steve Jobs), but the phrase is so beloved because it’s true. You might have a terrific camera that costs tens of thousands of dollars, but if you don’t have it on you when a great photo opportunity comes up, it doesn’t matter how good that camera is.

Of course, most of us do have a camera on us at all times today, thanks to our smartphones. There is probably not a smartphone sold today that doesn’t have at least one camera on it. And no matter if it’s Apple or an Android manufacturer, smartphone makers trip all over themselves to brag about how great their cameras are.

For years Android phones have offered cameras with high megapixels (MP), which vastly outnumbered the MPs available on an iPhone. But with the release of the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max in 2022, Apple finally updated its rear camera to 48 MP.

However, that 48MP capability is turned off on most iPhone 14 Pros. Here’s why – and how to enable 48MP photos on the iPhone 14 Pro series.

How To Take 48MP Photos With The iPhonePin

Why Is the 48MP Option Turned Off On iPhone?

It may surprise many, but Apple actually has the 48MP capabilities of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max’s rear camera turned off by default. To be clear we are talking about the “Main” 48MP lens on the iPhone 14 Pro’s triple lens rear camera (the other two lenses being a 12MP ultra wide lens and a 12MP telephoto lens.

Since Apple has the 48MP sensor deactivated by default, the “main” lens instead shoots photos at 12MP.

But why would Apple disable the 48MP sensor?

The simple fact of the matter is most people who take photos don’t need to take them at a MP resolution of anywhere close to 48MP. There are a few reasons for this:

  • First, most people view the photos they’ve taken on small screens – their phones and laptops. On such small screens, you just don’t need to zoom into a photo so much that it would be worth capturing detail in 48MP. You probably aren’t going to look at a photo larger than 1x or 2x, so you wouldn’t probably notice any difference between a 12MP image and a 48MP image anyway.
  • Second, 12MP photos take up a lot less space than 48MP photos. The average 12MP photo takes up about 3.6MB of space. But the average 48MP photo can take up from 50MB to 100MB.

That means if you are snapping 48MP photos with your iPhone 14 Pro, every 10 photos can take up a whopping 1GB of storage space – on both your iPhone and in your iCloud photo library.

Considering most people won’t even notice or benefit from these space-hogging 48MP photos, Apple defaults the main read camera to 12MP photos.

Of course, the iPhone 14 Pro series does let you shoot in 48MP. But unless you are a pro photographer, you really don’t need to. Still, if you want to enable 48MP photos on your iPhone 14 Pro you can…

How To Take 48MP Photos With The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max

In order to take 48MP photos on your iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max you need to enable what Apple calls “Apple ProRAW.” Apple defines it as: “Apple ProRAW combines the information of a standard RAW format along with iPhone image processing, which gives you more flexibility when editing the exposure, color, and white balance in your photo.”

And with the iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max, you can take ProRAW photos in 12MP or 48MP. Here’s how to set the camera to take the higher 48MP photos:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Camera.
  3. Tap Formats.
  4. Toggle the switch by “Apple ProRAW” to ON (green).
  5. Tap ProRAW Resolution.
  6. Select 48MP.

You’ve now enabled 48MP photos on your iPhone 14 Pro. But do keep in mind you will eat through more storage space taking 48MP shots. Apple says each 48MP ProRAW image is approximately 75MB in size.

Michael Grothaus

Michael Grothaus is an American author and journalist with a flair for exploring the intersection of technology, creativity, and digital culture. With a background in film, journalism, and creative writing, he brings a unique perspective to the world of mobile technology. His work has been featured in renowned publications like Fast Company, The Guardian, and Engadget. At KnowYourMobile, Michael leverages his extensive knowledge to guide readers through the complexities of mobile devices, helping them make informed choices in the fast-paced tech landscape.

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