The iPhone XS has been out for about a week now, so naturally, reviews and complaints are starting to roll in. One interesting issue being reported with the iPhone XS selfie camera is excessive skin smoothing. Either Apple didn’t realize that it is possible to have too much of a good thing, or the issue is an unintended side effect of other features in the camera.
Skin smoothing issues = “BeautyGate”
There’s a lengthy Reddit thread about the problem with the iPhone XS selfie camera. Some liken the problem to the beauty filters included in some smartphones. The Reddit thread indicates the same aggressive skin smoothing issue with the cameras on both the iPhone XS and XS Max.
One Redditor posted pictures he took using the selfie cameras on the iPhone X and iPhone XS. They show the same close-up angle of his face, so they offer an excellent comparison of the two cameras. The one taken by the iPhone XS selfie camera looks rather unnatural, especially when you see what his skin tone looks like on the iPhone X’s selfie camera.
The skin smoothing issue he referenced is also very apparent, as the iPhone X’s selfie camera captures clearer details like some of his pores. The iPhone X also showed his facial hair clearly, but the iPhone XS blurs out some of his facial hair and just generally makes his face look too flat and blurry.
YouTuber Lewis Hilsenteger from the Unbox Therapy channel also called out the overly aggressive cosmetic filter on the iPhone XS and XS Max. He dubbed the issue “BeautyGate,” continuing the tradition of attaching “gate” to every problem ever recorded with any iPhone model ever. With previous models over the years, we’ve had problems dubbed “BendGate,” “SplitGate,” “HissGate” and several others.
Skin smoothing on iPhone XS selfie camera goes beyond airbrushing
One of the complaints about the skin smoothing problem is that Apple doesn’t even inform users about how aggressive the iPhone XS selfie camera is when it comes to cosmetic touch-ups. The even bigger issue is that there isn’t a way to turn the feature off or even adjust it.
When taking a picture of themselves, many people want their photos to be touched up in some ways, like by removing blemishes or tweaking their skin tone. However, others would rather have accurate selfies. Based on the photos we’ve seen, it appears the iPhone XS selfie camera is sometimes so aggressive with the skin smoothing that many photos taken with it just look fake.
Other times, the selfie camera does exactly what it’s supposed to do, resulting in a lightly touched-up photo that looks realistic while touching up wrinkles or blemishes very slightly. Overall it seems rather hit and miss because it is possible to get a good result from the selfie camera, but some users who take a lot of selfies may find the problem rather annoying.
From what multiple tech gurus are saying, it sounds like the issue may have something to do with the camera’s ability to smooth out grainy photos taken in low light. However, it does seem a bit strange that the camera does has this smoothing-out effect in all lighting.
Apple may be able to fix the issue with an update to iOS 12. We’re hearing that the company is aware of the skin smoothing complaints with the iPhone XS selfie camera and is looking into them.