How to Use Your iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max Camera

By Novak Bozovic / September 18, 2021

If you’ve already checked iPhone 13’s camera specs, you know that plenty of goodness awaits. Aside from upgraded internals, iOS is now equipped to handle additional photography modes, expanding your range of options. With that said, we’re sure that you want to get the most out of those upgrades. So, let’s talk about how to use your iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max camera.


Keep in mind that we’ll focus on photography modes that are unique for the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max models only. So, if you have a different iPhone 13 model or an older iPhone generation, know that this article’s content won’t reflect what’s available on your device.

What Camera Lens Are Found in iPhone 13 Pro & Pro Max? 

The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max offer three cameras on their backside. Each of those cameras has received a nice upgrade over the previous generation. Here's a quick recap of their most important specs.

  Telephoto Ultra-Wide Wide
Focal Length 77 mm 13 mm 26 mm
Aperture f/2.8 f/1.8 f/1.5
Focus Pixels YES YES (New) YES
System 6-elements lens 6-elements lens 7-element lens
Stabilization OIS N/A Sensor-shift OIS

As you can see from the table above, the three lenses your iPhone has are - telephoto, ultra-wide, and wide. Compared to the previous year, they come with increased sensor sizes, capable of capturing more light. In simple terms, your photo should look better than ever before, especially in low-light conditions. 

However, thanks to improved camera components and software refinements in iOS, the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max now come with several modes unique to those models. To learn more, make sure to keep on reading. 

What Camera Modes Are Reserved for iPhone 13 Pro & Pro Max? How to Use Them?

The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max come with a range of camera features/modes unique to those models. They are - macro photography, improved night mode, and cinematic mode (available via telephoto lens). You can access and use them via the Camera app on your iPhone.


Below, you’ll find additional information on the photography modes that are unique to the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. However, don’t forget to inspect the Camera app closely, where you’ll find other modes as well, shared with other iPhone models.

Macro Photography

The 'Macro' mode now comes built into the Camera app. It uses your iPhone 13’s ultra-wide lens, which is now capable of focusing at 2cm. That means that you can bring the subject very close to your phone’s camera, resulting in crystal-clear images. Therefore, this mode is great when you need to capture very small objects. 

It's also worth mentioning that the 'Macro' mode is available when taking photos and recording videos. That also includes slow-motion and time-lapse videos, which is a huge step forward compared to what the previous iPhone generation brought.

How to Shoot in Macro Mode? Launch the Camera app and pick 'Macro' using the top-placed row of photo/video modes. Alternatively, this mode will automatically turn on once you switch to the ultra-wide lens by tapping on '0.5' in the 'Photo' mode. 

Night Mode (Telephoto)

Previously, the 'Night' mode wasn't available on all iPhone Pro cameras/lenses. However, you can now use this mode even via the telephoto lens. This marks the first time the 'Night' mode is available across all cameras on any iPhone Pro model. 

That means that you now have plenty of freedom when shooting in low-light conditions. And more importantly, you can now switch between different lenses seamlessly, whether you use the Camera app or some third-party photography app. 

How to Shoot in Night Mode? Launch the Camera app while in a dark room. Switch between different lenses by tapping on '0.5,' '1,' or '3.0' – above the row of camera modes. Then, tap on the yellow-colored 'Night Mode' button in the top-left corner of your iPhone's screen. Pick a duration in seconds and shoot. 

Night Mode Portrait

When shooting portraits in 'Night' mode, iOS relies on the LiDAR scanner, which is still limited to 'Pro' models only. And when it comes to the iPhone 13 lineup, you can expect improvements in how much light your camera can capture. 

So, thanks to both hardware and software improvements, you can now shoot portraits in 'Night' mode while switching between your iPhone's camera seamlessly. And on top of that, you can expect much faster focusing than before, leading to sharp images. 

How to Shoot Portraits in Night Mode? Launch the Camera app and pick ‘Portrait.’ Switch between lenses by taping on '0.5,' '1,' or '3.0' in the bottom-left corner. If you’re in a dark room, you’ll see 'Night' mode adjustments in the top-left corner.

Cinematic Mode (Telephoto)

As previously reported, the 'Cinematic' mode is reserved for all iPhone 13 models. However, since only the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max come with the telephoto lens, that means that shooting in Cinematic mode using the telephoto lens is an exclusive 'Pro' feature. 

Using 'Cinematic' mode, you can record videos whose focus shifts dynamically, creating an effect often found in high-end cinematography. Your iPhone will do all the work, which means that the 'Cinematic' mode is fully automated. However, you can also play around with focus shifting while editing your videos. 

How to Shoot in 'Cinematic' Mode? Launch the Camera app and pick ‘Cinematic.’ Then, start recording (works best when you have clear foregrounds and backgrounds). Your iPhone will shift the focus automatically, but you can also shift or lock it manually by tapping on the screen. 


Want more tips and tricks on using your new iPhone? Well, make sure to check TechNadu's latest iPhone 13 articles, where you'll find a sizable selection of news, tutorials, and guides!

That would be all on how to use your iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max camera. In case of any questions, let us know via the comments section below. And finally, thanks for reading!

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