How to Turn on HDR Video Recording on iPhone

Person recording a video on an iPhone
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A key headlining feature of modern iPhones is their ability to shoot HDR videos. But since HDR clips take up more space and most people don’t have compatible displays to watch them in their full glory, the HDR feature is off by default. Here’s how to enable it.

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It’s a high-end feature that allows for better color reproduction in any given scene. When HDR is enabled, your iPhone is able to record a wider gamut of colors, and more accurately balances the contrast of the frame’s darkest and lightest areas. On top of this, the iPhone’s HDR capability supports Dolby Vision, which helps the target screen make the most out of all the extra visual data.

To enable HDR video on your iPhone, first, open the “Settings” app, and then scroll down to the Camera option.

Visit Camera settings on your iPhone

Next, select “Record Video.”

Visit Record Video settings on iPhone

Finally, toggle on “HDR Video (High Efficiency).”

Enable HDR video recording on iPhone

Note: On the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini, HDR videos are capped at 30 frames per second. The higher-end iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max can go all the way up to 60fps. However, this might change on newer iPhones running different versions of iOS.

Before switching on HDR videos, keep in mind that they are recorded in the “High Efficiency” mode. This means that they’ll be stored on your phone in the HEVC format instead of in the more broadly compatible MP4 file type. However, your iPhone can automatically convert HEVC videos to MP4, so you don’t have to worry about doing that yourself before sharing HDR videos.

As far as playback is concerned, most latest-gen phones and computers, including iPhones (iPhone X or above) and MacBooks (2018 or later), can play HDR videos without any hassle. On incompatible screens, your HDR video will play in the normal, lower-quality standard.


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RELATED: HDR Format Wars: What’s the Difference Between HDR10 and Dolby Vision?