Apple says glossy iPhone XS selfies were a bug, promises a fix in iOS 12.1

The notch on the new iPhone.

Enlarge / The notch and front-facing camera on the new iPhone. (credit: Samuel Axon)

When we reviewed the iPhone XS and XS Max, we found a number of small things to quibble about in our generally positive review. Among them was the fact that Apple's self-styled "computational photography" approach involves the software doctoring the photos you take in ways that are not transparent to you and that may not produce the effect you want. That issue was at the heart of a minor scandal surrounding the phone's launch that some dubbed "Beautygate."

Users who took selfies with the front-facing camera found that the resulting images looked a little bit glossed over. Skin was unrealistically smooth, with blemishes and details missing—similar to what you'd see with a beauty filter. Some users took to forums to speculate that Apple did this deliberately because these kinds of filters are popular in one of its largest markets (China) and in social messaging apps like Snapchat.

However, Apple has told The Verge that the behavior is in fact a bug and that a fix is coming in iOS 12.1.

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