Stop iPhone HDR from Saving Two Photos

Sep 1, 2011 - 4 Comments

Stop iPhone HDR from taking and storing two pictures

iPhone’s HDR mode takes great pictures, there’s no doubt about that. What is not so great for avid photographers is that when you have HDR mode enabled, the iPhone will store two versions of all photos you take, which at 5 megapixels a pop can quickly consume an iPhones available storage. For some situations, the two photos look so similar that they just look like duplicates too.

The solution is to stop iPhone from saving both the normal and HDR exposures:

  • Tap on “Settings” and scroll and tap on “Photos”
  • Under the “HDR (High Dynamic Range)” option, slide the “ON” button to “OFF” next to “Keep Normal Photo”
  • Close out Settings

From here on out, if you have choose to take an HDR photo, only the HDR exposure will be saved. As before, if you aren’t using HDR then the normal picture will still be saved. This makes a lot more sense to me and I’m slightly confused why storing the duplicates is the default option.

Disabling this feature prevents duplicate image storage and will save you a lot of storage space over time. Admittedly, this will be much less necessary when iCloud rolls out this fall since the photos will be stored automatically in iClouds free 5GB plan, if you use it at least.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks

4 Comments

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  1. Ray says:

    I kind of think the opposite, normal is better than HDR with the iPhones camera. Hopefully the next 8MP will be even better ;)

  2. Tinman says:

    Be careful if turning off the saving of two photos. Since there is a delay between the capturing of the two images used to create the HDR photo if there is movement the HDR image can come out poor to unusable whereas the non-HDR image is fine. If you turned off the saving of both photos you would never be able to get to the usable image.

  3. Devy says:

    “iPhone’s HDR mode takes great pictures, there’s no doubt about that.” That’s an overstatement, as HDR is an algorithmic way to blend in multiple images at different exposure settings, there are definitely times where it doesn’t blend in right. I personally experienced that there are more times in low-light condition where HDR would introduce artifacts like “ghosting” and losing sharp edge details than what HDR is good at: expose correctly in partial area of the photo. So leaving an normally exposed photo would at least give you a change to see and compare. Oh yeah, since 3 images are blended in, HDR is about 1.5x-3x bigger than the normal one. Plus what Tinman says is true. Using HDR means you have to hold it a bit longer for iPhone to shoot 3 images – when that’s a slower shutter speed in low-condition, you odds of smearing the photo / ghosting due to premature movement is pretty high!

  4. [...] be sure to have “Keep Original” left on so that you can decide which picture is the [...]

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