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iOS 15 and iPhone 13 get EXIF data and deep-learned photo subject recognition

iOS 15 and iPhone 13 get EXIF data and deep-learned photo subject recognition
(Image credit: Federico Viticci)

Ahead of the iPhone 13 release tomorrow, a couple of new photography features have been introduced in the new version of iOS – and therefore in the new family of phones (along with other iPhones capable of running it).

Users of iOS 15, including new owners of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, are going to get an update to the native Photos app that incorporates a subject recognition system based on machine-learning, meaning the more you use it, the better it’ll get.

• Read more: iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12

Apple Insider spoke to iOS developer Frederico Viticci, who used the example of a picture of a golden retriever. The phone was able to recognize this subject, and bring up information about the breed via Siri, as well as searching for images of similar subjects on the web.

The other photo-related update to iOS 15 is that it will enable users to view and edit EXIF data in the native Apple Photos app. Viticci showed off the metadata viewer, which shows all the information you’d expect – file size, shutter speed, aperture setting, ISO, focal length and so on. Users can also tweak the time and date of the photo manually in the viewer, if they so desire.

A look at the camera array on the iPhone 13 Pro (Image credit: Apple)

Some of the non-photo updates to iOS 15 include a built-in password authenticator, the ability to designate a contact as your Account Recovery Contact, and more minor fixes and additions. 

The physical updates to the base iPhone 13’s camera are fairly minor across the board, though both the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini inherit the 1.7 micron-pixel sensor from the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which in turn means that both models will gain sensor-shift optical image stabilization.

The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are gaining more substantial camera updates, with new wide, ultra-wide and telephoto cameras being featured. Low light performance is being boosted, too, with a new 1.9 micron-pixel sensor and a bright f/1.5 aperture. 

In a first for iPhones, the ultra-wide camera is also capable of macro photography. The telephoto camera, meanwhile, gains a 3x optical zoom, further showing how the best camera phones are closing the gap with the best compact cameras.

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Jon Stapley

Jon spent years at IPC Media writing features, news, reviews and other photography content for publications such as Amateur Photographer and What Digital Camera in both print and digital form. With his additional experience for outlets like Photomonitor, this makes Jon one of our go-to specialists when it comes to all aspects of photography, from cameras and action cameras to lenses and memory cards, flash diffusers and triggers, batteries and memory cards, selfie sticks and gimbals, and much more besides.  


An NCTJ-qualified journalist, he has also contributed to Shortlist, The Skinny, ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, The Guardian, Trusted Reviews, CreativeBLOQ, and probably quite a few others I’ve forgotten.