iOS 10 has been available to the public for about a week now, and it’s brought with it some great new features. If you’re into photography, there’s a new feature which will enable you to snap a picture in the RAW format. But using this new feature isn’t as simple as switching it on or off.

How to use the RAW file format when shooting pictures with iOS 10
Photo by Hurk / Pixabay.com

What is a RAW Image?

When you take a picture with any camera, such as the one on the iPhone 7, the image is processed and then converted into a JPEG. To do, this some of the information in the image is removed, and while most don’t care about this, if you do and you want to use the image data, you need to use a RAW file.

Shooting in RAW will basically disable your handset’s image signal processor, meaning that it will no longer adjust a picture. It will also give you control over editing the light, color, and imagery of the picture. So for the budding semi-pro or professional photographer, iOS 10 is paving the way for great photography.

RAW image capable apps and device compatibility

Unfortunately, iOS 10 is only an enabler; it does not come with apps installed that can use RAW images. Plus, before you can even get an app, you have to make sure you have a compatible device. The following devices all have a compatible 12-megapixel camera: iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, iPhone 7, 7 Plus, iPhone SE, and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro running on iOS 10.

As for compatible apps, there are many on the App Store. However, those of particular note are: Adobe Lightroom for the iPad, ProCam 4, Obscura Camera, and ProCamera.

Make room on your iOS 10 device

If you want to use this iOS 10 feature, you will have to clear some storage space. Compared to JPEG images, shooting in RAW will take up much more storage space. For example, an iPhone with 16GB of capacity could just about manage a handful of RAW images.

To be specific, if you took a picture with an iPhone 7 Plus, a JPEG would take up about 2MB of space. However, if you shot that same image in RAW, it would take up about 12-16MB. So as you see, using RAW will eat up the storage space on your device quickly, so think before you use it.

How to shoot RAW images on your iPhone or iPad

As I mentioned earlier, to use this new iOS 10 capability, you need a third-party app. Not all of the apps I have listed above are free. You may have to pay upwards of $4.99 to get the one you want. For this article, I am going to use the Manual app, which costs $3.99.

Follow these instructions to the letter.

Step 1: After downloading the Manual app onto your iOS 10 device, launch it.

Step 2: When ready, look for the settings icon. You will find it in the bottom right-hand corner of the app. Tap it to make a menu appear.

Step 3: On the menu screen, the top option is Save RAW + JPEG. Make sure this is switched to the on position.

Step 4: You will now have the option to take images in both RAW and JPEG, but if storage space is limited, you should choose to save in RAW only. So your options are save just as RAW or as RAW + JPEG.

And that is it. You now understand a little more about what RAW is and what it is capable of, plus you are set up to use it.