Apple will probably make it easier, but until then…
Like many photographers, I’m pretty excited about having a 48 megapixel main camera sensor on the new iPhone 14 Pro. That’s almost as cool as it coming in a color that ends in urple. That 48 megapixels of photo resolution is only available when using RAW capture, and changing the Apple ProRAW resolution involves a trip deep into the iOS Settings app to change between 12 megapixels and 48 megapixels.
I made a quick video to show how the settings work and also an iOS shortcut to make the process quicker. More on that below.
iOS Shortcut to Change Camera File Format
Thankfully Apple makes it possible to jump directly to specific points in the iOS Settings through a URL scheme, and I’ve created an iOS shortcut that will bring you directly to the camera formats screen.
Once you install that shortcut, you might find it useful to add it to your home screen, perhaps in a photo apps folder if that’s how you organize things.
Why Not Use 48 Megapixels All the Time?
One logical question is why you wouldn’t always photograph at the highest resolution possible. There are a couple of reasons, both of which hinge on the fact that for most applications, you really don’t need that many pixels. All those incredible photos made with the best iPhones up until mid-September 2022 were made with fewer pixels, and they certainly didn’t suck. A 48 megapixel ProRAW file is about 75-80mb which is significantly (about three times) larger than a 12 megapixel image in the same format1. Although storage space has gotten cheaper, it still adds up. The camera app is also a bit less responsive when using the biggest format, again, likely due to the size of the images captured and how quickly the phone can process that data through the image capture pipeline (what Apple is now calling the Photonic Engine).
I expect that Apple will add a control within the camera app for changing resolution in a future update to iOS 16, but until that happens, here’s how you can change the ProRAW resolution on your iPhone 14 Pro.
- For many situations you don’t really even need RAW format. Capturing in HEIC (or JPG) will be even more efficient. But if you’re here reading this article, I suspect you’re a savvy photographer who has chosen to RAW for a good reason. ↩