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Halide app update brings macro photography to older iPhones

Have an old iPhone? Don’t worry, you can still access the iPhone 13 Pro’s fancy new macro lens.

The Halide 2.5 app update brings macro photography — that is, extreme close-ups — to iPhone 8 and above. To access the mode in the app, users simply press the “AF” button to switch between autofocus and manual focus, where macro mode lives, then press the flower icon.

Previously, macro photography could only be achieved with the use of additional physical lenses, which can cost up to $100. The Halide app is free to download, but it costs $2.99/month or $11.99/year to unlock all the features like macro mode.

“As you enter macro mode, clever things start happening in Halide,” Ben Sandofsky, the app’s co-founder, said in a blog post. “To start, Halide looks at your available cameras and switches to the one with the shortest minimum focus distance. Then it locks focus to the closest focus. You can tap anywhere on the screen to adjust focus; unlike our standard camera mode, we configure system focus to only seek objects very close to you.”

Halide also offers something called Neural Macro, which is an editing feature that enhances images for even sharper and smoother results. Since this crops the image, users also have the option to undo the crop by opening the photo in their camera roll and hitting “Edit” and “Redo”.

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For those who want control of a macro mode but no editing, the app also allows shooting in RAW mode only or RAW + JPG mode, which saves both file types.

For those new to iPhone photography who don’t want to spend over $1,000 on an iPhone 13 Pro for the updated lens, Halide offers an affordable and technically impressive solution. The updated app is now available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad.