Apple has confirmed that iOS 12.1 will include a fix for the “beautygate” issue affecting the front-facing camera on the iPhone XS. The issue causes users’ skin in selfie shots to appear to be overly “smoothed-out.”
Soon following the release of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max back in September users began complaining that the device appeared to be smoothing out a subjects’ face in selfie shots. Many users reported the effect resembled that of a beauty filter or poorly applied “Photoshopping.” In some instances, the subject’s skin was changed to an unnatural colot in the selfie shots.
Apple has confirmed to The Verge it will be including a fix for the issue in the upcoming iOS 12.1 release. The bug causing the issue was in the HDR camera system.
Essentially, Smart HDR was choosing the wrong base frame for HDR processing when you took a selfie. Instead of choosing a frame with a short shutter speed to freeze motion and preserve detail, it would sometimes choose a frame with longer shutter speed. The front camera also does not have optical image stabilization, so it takes blurrier shots at the same shutter speed as the rear, stabilized camera. The result is a loss of detail that looks like smoothing on the front camera.
Apple on Monday released the fifth developer beta of iOS 12.1, meaning the update should be released to the public in the near future.