The selfie smoothing controversy, dubbed "beautygate" when users discovered it, can make iPhone XS selfies appear void of detail compared to previous iPhones and other top Android devices. Indeed, the photos looked as though they were taken with some kind of "beauty mode" effect, which some phones come with as an option. Beauty mode photos tend to have facial details and imperfections blurred out.
The main controversy was that there was no way of turning off the supposed "beauty mode" on the iPhone XS.
You can check out some selfies we took with the iPhone X and iPhone XS Max to see the effect in action. In the image below, it appears like my face has been painted in the iPhone XS Max selfie:
Rather than a "beauty mode," Apple said the smoothing effect comes from the new Smart HDR feature, which is designed to even out shadows and flatten highlights by taking the best of multiple photos taken at various exposures and settings, and combining those photos into a single image.
To mitigate the excessive smoothing that iPhone XS users - and now iPhone XR reviewers - have reported, Apple says it'll adjust the Smart HDR feature to pick out "a sharper base frame."
The fix is reportedly coming in iOS version 12.1, which is currently in public beta but has no official release date yet.
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