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Halide’s Macro Mode – bringing close-ups to every iPhone

The built-in Camera app on iPhone and iPad is pretty good, especially if you’ve got the new iPhone 13 Pro that can shoot close-up Macro photography. But Halide has long been our favorite pro camera app, offering a wealth of manual controls to anyone who outgrows the standard camera – and with its latest update, Halide users can now shoot Macro photos on any iPhone. Not just the latest and greatest.

If you’re not familiar with the term, Macro lenses allow you to focus on extremely close objects – anything from two inches away on the iPhone 13 Pro. This gives much better results than simply shooting from further away and zooming or cropping into the subject. When used well, it can produce incredible details that you might miss with the naked eye.

Apple has pushed this as a big differentiator on its new devices – and it is – but with a little ingenuity, similar results can be achieved without splashing a grand on a new phone.

Captured on an iPhone 12 Pro using Halide

Halide’s new mode might not be able to match Apple’s own Macro smarts in every situation, but it certainly opens the playing field to older devices and offers quite a few benefits of its own. Unlike Apple’s automatic-at-every-step-of-the-way approach, Halide offers a dedicated mode for the more purposeful photographer.

You can also manually set the focal depth – to the exact millimeter! – and choose which lens to use. Its clever “focus peaking” system helps you keep exactly the right parts of the subject crisp, and on the iPhone 8 and beyond a feature called “Neural Macro” will automatically upscale images for sharper and smoother results in full 4k resolution.

Captured on an iPhone 13 Pro using Halide

Halide is a free download, and anyone who paid for the original app (before last year’s Halide Mark II was released) gets this latest update entirely free. New users will have to subscribe for full access to all these tools, but an annual subscription will only set you back $1/month.


If you’re interested in more details from a photography standpoint, we’d highly recommend reading Halide’s big explainer post that shows even more examples of Macro in action.