One of the earliest controversies to hit the iPhone XS was a strange issue popularly known as “Beautygate.” Owners and reviewers noticed that the device and its Max counterpart would taken overly smooth selfies, similar to the beauty filter found in Android smartphones.
Folks were naturally upset about this since Apple has always stayed away from such gimmicks. The company has now come forward and confirmed that the issue really does exist. Not only that, it’s also going to fix the bug through a software update.
Apple Explains Beautygate Bug
Yes, it turns out Beautygate was a bug all along. Some experts claimed that the problem was by design. They might still be right since there’s a chance Apple is just calling this a bug to save face. It told The Verge that Smart HDR in the iPhone XS was selecting the wrong base frame for HDR processing all along.
What Smart HDR should have done is choose a frame with a short shutter speed to freeze motion and preserve detail. What actually happened was that it chose a frame with a longer shutter speed, meaning more exposure to light. Making things worse is the fact that the front camera doesn’t come with optical image stabilization.
The lack of OIS translates to blurrier shots at the same shutter speed as the iPhone XS’ main cameras at the back. This, in turn, means there’s less detail in the resulting image. The loss of detail made it look like the selfies were smoother than they should be.
The good news is that this isn’t a hardware issue. Apple can fix it through a software update and will do so in iOS 12.1, due to arrive soon. The build is currently in beta testing. Once it rolls out, the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR will all pick the sharpest base frame they can find for HDR processing.