Halide is one of the best photography apps on the iPhone, and the company has just updated its app with a new macro feature designed to perfectly complement the new macro mode that Apple added with this year’s iPhone 13 Pro models.
But the Halides 2.5 update doesn’t just add support for the iPhone 13 Pro’s existing macro feature, which Apple made. It takes things a step further and also adds a macro mode to older iPhones using Apple’s Neural Engine for “AI-based detail enhancement”, which uses a neural network to squeeze extra details out of the close-up even when you harvest.
The “official” macro mode on the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max uses the new ultra-wide lens that Apple offers on its more premium models, which – unlike the ultra-wide on the regular iPhone 13 models or older iPhones – adds a autofocus mode that allows you to shoot in ultra-close-ups.
Halide mimics this effect in two ways: first, it determines which camera lens on your device can focus closest, and then the app offers “sub-millimeter” focus control to get the perfect image. It then uses the aforementioned “Neural Macro” feature to scale up the image, allowing for sharp photos, even when cropped 2x or 3x.
To use macro mode in Halide, you must first update your version of the Halide 2.5 app from the App Store. Then press the “AF” button to deactivate autofocus, which displays the manual focus menu, where you can tap a new flower icon to activate macro mode.
I was able to briefly test a beta of the new update on my iPhone 12 Pro, and the results are quite impressive. It’s still not quite on par with the iPhone 13 Pro’s macro features – there are still limits to what the older hardware is physically capable of doing – but it’s definitely a better solution than just keeping your phone close to your subject and hoping at its best and a fun tool to play with. And even though I do not have an iPhone 13 Pro convenient to test with, Halide says that its macro mode also improves the function for even better macro shots.
The new macro mode add-on works on any iPhone that offers Apple’s Neural Engine (which includes the iPhone 8 and all subsequent releases) and is a free update for Halide owners. The Halide itself can be downloaded for free from the App Store with a free trial of seven days and can be purchased for either $ 2.99 per. Month or $ 11.99 per.