Oversaturated, unnatural iPhone color

Unless edited, my iPhone 11 pictures come through with colors that are much too bright and saturated. This is particularly noticeable with blue subjects. The pictures can be toned down using the edit feature on the iPhone but this is an extra set of clicks. I usually just upload directly with the iNaturalist iPhone app. Does this concern others? I was considering getting an iPhone 13, but I am reading it also does this kind of “color correction.” Do others have this experience or concern?

I have the same issues with my Samsung S21+. Like you said, editing improves it. I just don’t always feel like doing that.

All phones (and even digital cameras) do this to some extent, though some reflect reality better than others. Are you using the automatic settings on your phone when taking pictures? Often, the automatic settings are okay when you need a quick shot, but you can probably get better results by taking pictures in manual mode. There should be a way to adjust your settings and take pictures in manual mode so that it takes photos with the parameters you set (focus, white balance, exposure, etc.). Start with a test shot and adjust your settings so the picture looks as close to reality as you can get it. You’ll still have to adjust the focus/exposure yourself every time on the camera, but that’s probably easier than editing every single photo afterward.


Yes, unfortunately Apple has jumped on the auto-enhance bandwagon and all iPhones from iPhone 11 up automatically apply various filters whether you want them or not. This will result in oversaturated blues and greens, lifted shadows, oversharpening, etc. This auto-enhancement is built into the photo processing at the chip level and can’t be disabled. Apple calls the feature “deep fusion”. The only way to avoid it is to shoot in RAW mode (which doesn’t do post-processing), which means each photo will be a whopping 20-25 MBs. In order to switch to RAW mode, you either need to upgrade to an iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 13 (and enable Apple ProRAW in your camera settings) or buy a camera program like Halide which specifically supports shooting in RAW.


I just started using iPhone 13, upgraded from XR.
Huge differences, I’m still figuring it out.
I just posted an observation of Haircap mosses. One is very bright, “normal “. The darker photo was shot at -2 exposure. Luckily, it is an onscreen option.

I have an iPhone 13 Pro which I got last fall. I haven’t seen any issues with color and I haven’t tinkered with any settings on it. Maybe the default settings have been changed causing the extreme saturation?

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My Google Pixel’s default camera app automatically enhances. Magenta can look pink or purple, purple can look magenta or blue. Sometimes, flowers of the same species with the same purple will look blue in one part of the picture, magenta in another. This isn’t as dramatic as I’ve seen, but when I took the pictures, I was paying attention to the fact that this was all the same hue of purple:


When the purples look pink, the greens often look yellowish, but when the shift is not consistent for the whole image, I do not know how to adjust properly for accuracy. Flowers with a very specific and consistent purple look like they have a whole range of pinkish and blueish hues on iNat.

I have a third party camera app which has the option of not enhancing, my old digital SLR also is true to the hues. The saturation seems a little low but at least it more closely represents pigments saturation can be increased more accurately manually.

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I’ve had quite a time adjusting to the three lenses. I’ve had it three days and it’s going to take a few more! Learning curves seem steeper with age.


The “Deep Fusion” feature on newer iPhones can be disabled, though apparently only indirectly. See this page: https://9to5mac.com/2022/03/22/how-to-use-deep-fusion-on-iphone-cameras/


I agree with @joedziewa I use a third party app ProCam 8 with my husband vetted for me. It gives true color. My husband says the standard wide camera does the best.

This is an interesting article. Also now knowing the term “deep fusion” I can do more searching. It seems like this feature is responsible for some other things I dislike with the iPhone such as the fact that it always tries to make everything sharp in closeups, when I actually want the background out of focus. I have an SLR and use it sometimes, but the iPhone is obviously more convenient. I am experimenting with changing some of the iPhone camera settings to see if it helps.

I get frustrated trying to focus for close-up/macro items on my iPhone 13 Pro ( it was dropped a couple times, which does happen to most of us). It can take a long time and much patience to have the right focus kick in, and then - it jumps to a new spot :sob:.

Have you experimented with Portrait Mode? I do not use it much, but I know some people really like how it handles backgrounds.


Do you have the HDR option turned on? It may be turned on and be overdoing the saturation and contrast as a result.

Check that and turn it off if it is on.


Hold up a leaf or something at the right distance, and hold your finger on the screen on that. A box should flash after a second or two. That locks in focus (and should also lock in exposure).

Then you can recompose and just move the camera back and forth to fine tune the focus.

There are also 3rd party apps that give manual focus control.


The iPhone 13 is like carrying around a brick. I’m surprised I haven’t yet dropped mine when trying to photo a plant while holding the plant in position with the other hand.

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:face_with_diagonal_mouth: previously , I had a an iPhone 11 Pro Max; it was quite unwieldy and just too big for my size hands. My eyes liked the big screen, tho.

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I have a Galaxy S21 and while it takes very good macro (like the Androids tend to do) for a phone, the S21 will also often do this oversaturation thing. It will also do this “halo” effect where the subject is in focus but the surrounding background is slightly blurred around the edge of the image. It is a bit off putting. The phone has all the bells and whistles for “dark mode” and autofocus but it often creates more problems. I am amazed when my light sheet is blowing in the wind and the phone still gets a focused image of a dimly lit micromoth with flash on. The low light mode allows more natural color but dark, but much better than any of my old phones.

I think my Galaxy S6 took the best natural looking macro photos and was the easiest to use. The newer phones are getting a bit too cumbersome and complicated for quick and easy shooting.

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Mine is brand new, and securely in an Otterbox case! I drop phones regularly and always get a tough case…at the cost of the phones now…The problem you describe is not from dropping the camera.
I have had problems with the focus as well, jumping lenses! I’m getting better about checking for the closeup icon, bright yellow helps, and getting the live feature off. And I’ve started to use my macro clip on lens. I suppose much patience will be needed. I’ve been missing photos of quick moving subjects, how frustrating, indeed!
I don’t have an answer. I think my option is to get back out there and keep at it until something becomes more natural. I’m sure we’ll catch on!

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Do you use the camera in the iNaturalist app or the native iPhone camera app?

Yes, that is off. I have turned off many features at this point. It could be helping.