Living With the iPhone 11 Pro Max: Deep Fusion Arrives….Sort Of

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[Correction- Deep Fusion is available in the iOS 13.2 beta, not 13.1.2. I just happened to be waiting to update to 13.1.2 when I saw reports that the beta with Deep Fusion had released. While some reports say that 13.2 has been released, it is not available on the Apple Developer Page yet.]

Apple’s new Deep Fusion photography mode has arrived early for the new iPhones 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, courtesy of the iOS 13.2 Developer Beta that was released earlier today. Based on this quick follow-up to iOS 13 ans 13.1, it seems that Apple is handling this new photo enhancement mode similar to how they approached Portrait Mode a few years ago, likely targeting a mid to late Fall release.

In the meantime, if you have been a part of the iOS 13 Developer Beta, just make sure you have the iOS 13 beta profile loaded on your new iPhone and you can immediately download and install the update. If you were in the Public Beta, you will need to be sure that freely-available profile from Apple’s Public Beta site is loaded on your iPhone and then download iOS 13.2 update when it arrives. Based on past Public Beta releases, this could mean anywhere from tomorrow to a week from now. The sooner it comes out, the better Apple likely feels about Deep Fusion.

I am downloading the new beta as I write this, so I haven’t been able to go hands-on with Deep Fusion yet. However, there are a few things I know about it that are worth sharing right now. First off, like Night Mode, it won’t work with the iPhone 11 or 11 Pro Max’s Ultra-Wide Angle Lens, as it lacks 100% Focus Pixels and stabilization. Hopefully this shortcoming will be addressed in next year’s iPhone.

Secondly, Deep Fusion is going to work in the area between where Night Mode is triggered and brightly lit situations. This means it will likely cover a lot of your basic photo opportunities, especially indoors. It will be used a lot on the Telephoto Lens, as it is a little slower than this year’s upgraded Wide Angle Lens. Because of how fast it is, the Wide Angle Lens won’t use it quite as much. Note that, unlike Night Mode, you won’t know that Deep Fusion is doing it’s thing, which I’m a little disappointed to learn. It is completely and totally in the background.

Last, and this is definitely disappointing, you have to turn off “Photos Capture Outside the Frame” under Settings-Camera for Deep Fusion to work.

Your phone’s Camera app will still show you a preview of what you can capture with the Ultra-Wide Lens on the edges of a Wide Angle shot, but with this setting turned off, you can no longer zoom out or re-frame a shot after the fact. This is unfortunately a result of the same shortcomings of the Ultra-Wide Lens that I outlined above. Anytime Photos Capture Outside the Frame is turned on, Deep Fusion is off.

Hopefully Apple will give us some easy ways around this. Allowing this mode to be toggled from the Camera app would be nice. The ability to tie this setting to a Shortcut would be good enough for me. Unfortunately, neither is available today. Also, when I asked Siri to “Open Camera Settings” to get me to the page faster, it opened the Photos Setting, instead. I understand this is where most will want to go, but Apple should always honor such a specific request by the name of an app.

I will report back once I have some photo evidence of Deep Fusion’s prowess to share [and once the beta that has it is actually released].


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