Apple describes Beautygate iPhone XS bug, says it will be fixed in iOS 12.1

Bug in the Smart HDR system caused photos taken with the front camera to have a smoother appearance than intended
A quirk in iOS is making people look better than they actually are.

24 October 2018

Shortly after the release of the iPhone XS, users began to notice that photos taken with the front-facing camera have a somewhat softer appearance than those taken with previous iPhones. It’s almost as if Apple is intentionally applying a beauty filter – a popular optional feature in a lot of camera apps.

In speaking with The Verge ahead of its iPhone XR review, Apple acknowledged the issue – dubbed Beautygate – for the first time. What’s more, it identified the bug and said a fix is coming in iOS 12.1.

According to Apple, the Smart HDR system is choosing the wrong base frame from the several exposures it takes and composites into a single final picture. Instead of taking a sharper, shorter-exposure image as the base frame, it chooses one with a longer shutter time, thus making the final composite image less sharp. This explains why the strength of the effect varies from one test to the next (as the amount of blur on the longer-exposure shot would vary), and why we see the problem on the iPhone XS but not the iPhone X (which does not have the Smart HDR processing system).

Apple said this will be fixed in iOS 12.1; going forward, the Smart HDR system will choose the sharpest frame as its base image when using the selfie camera. It’s not yet clear if this fix is in the current iOS 12.1 beta or not, but we expect the final release of iOS 12.1 to come very soon.

IDG News Service

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