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How to Blur Background on iPhone Photos and Images

How many times has the unwanted background ruined your nearly perfect shots and you were left wondering if there is a neat way to blur the background on iPhone photos? Fret not, you are not alone to have come across this situation. Well, the good thing is there are multiple ways to switch the focus away from the background so that the subject can shine bright. If that’s what you are looking for, let me help you master this much-needed photography hack!

Pro Tips to Blur Background on iPhone Images

In this detailed guide, we have talked about four ways to blur a picture on iPhone. It’s worth pointing out that these hacks support even older iPhone models. So, even if you are not on the bleeding edge of technology, you will be able to take advantage of these tips to get rid of the background from a photo on your iOS device. 

Use Portrait Mode to Blur Background on Your iPhone

Not for nothing, the iPhone’s Portrait mode is considered to be a DSLR killer. What makes it a handy photography tool is the ability to let you capture photos with sharp focus and a blurred background. Bear in mind that not all iPhone models support Portrait mode.

Here is the list of the iPhones that support Portrait mode:

  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7 Plus

Do note that iPhone SE 2020 and iPhone XR do not blur the background while capturing pets and inanimates. It only blurs if you are capturing a person’s photograph.

Let’s find out the steps to capture a blurred photo using Portrait mode on iOS!

  1. Open the Camera app on your iPhone and choose Portrait
  2. You should see multiple lighting effects such natural light, studio light, contour light, stage light, stage light mono, and high-key light mono. Now, choose the desired light effect as per your need.

Select Portrait mode on iPhone

  1. Make sure your object is placed between two and eight feet from the camera lens. Also, ensure that light is enough as Portrait mode doesn’t always work in low light. 
  2. Check if the focus is on the object and the background is blurred. 
  3. Tap the Shutter button and you are good to go!

Use Portrait mode on iPhone

How to Change Background Blur in Portrait Photos on iPhone

You can also adjust the strength of background blur or for that matter choose a different lighting effect even after you have snapped a portrait shot. Should your need warrant enhanced control over the bokeh effect, be sure to get the most out of this efficient way to blur background on iPhone photos. Keep in mind that this feature is supported only on the latest iPhone models including:

  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  1. To get going, open the Photos app on your iPhone > head over to the photo captured in Portrait mode.
  2. Now, tap on Edit at the top right and then choose f/number at the top left.

Edit Photo captured in Portrait mode

  1. Use the Depth slider below the photo to adjust the blur strength. 

Edit Photo captured in Portrait mode

  • A low f/number increases the blurriness of the picture and a high f/number decrease the blurriness of the image. In case you are not happy with the result, you can revert the changes. 
  • To revert the changes, tap on ‘Portrait’ written in yellow at the top center of the image. It will turn off the depth effect and bokeh effect will be removed. You can also switch back to bokeh effect by tapping ‘Portrait’ again. 

Blur Background on Your iPhone Without Using Portrait Mode

What if you are using an older model of iPhone that doesn’t support Portrait mode? Worry not as you can still blur photos on iPhone, thanks to an ever-reliable tool called “Auto Focus”.

  • All you need to do is just bring your iPhone closer to the subject and tap on the screen to activate Auto Focus.
  • Once Auto Focus is activated on, make sure the focus is on the subject. Then hit the shutter button. 

Blur Background on Your iPhone Without Using Portrait Mode

Add Vignette Effect to Photo to Blur the Background on iPhone

The stock photos app comes with a built-in feature called ‘Vignette’ that allows you to blur the photo on your iPhone. But before blurring the photo using ‘Vignette’ on your iOS device bear in mind that the subject must be in the center of the image. Let me show you how to bring this nifty hack into effect:

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone and navigate to the image you wish to edit.
  2. Tap on Edit at the top right corner. 
  3. Tap on the Effects icon from the bottom of the screen and swipe left horizontally to scroll through the available effects to access Vignette. 

Add Vignette Effect to Photo to Blur the Background on iPhone

  1. Next, use the slider to blur the background of the picture. 
  2. When you are pleased with the result, be sure to tap Done to save the changes.

Add Vignette Effect to Photo to Blur the Background on iPhone

Blur Background on iPhone Using Third-Party Apps

There is a possibility that the built-in features of the iPhone don’t meet your expectation or perhaps you are faced with an incompatibility issue. Bother not, there are plenty of third-party apps available on the App Store that allow you to blur a picture on iPhone with ease.


Focus is one of the well-known photo editing apps for iOS. You can use this app to turn your normal photo into DSLR quality irrespective of the camera you have taken the photo with. The large apertures create real bokeh effects which are possible only with DSLR cameras and expensive lenses. 

Use Focus App on iPhone

Install: Free


Snapseed is an app for professional photo editing developed by Google. It comes with a host of top-notch editing tools including the ability to blur photos on iPhone. Not to mention, it’s completely free. So, you can unlock all of its goodies without having to shell out any bucks.

Snapseed App on iPhone

Install: Free

There you go! So, that’s how blurring the background of images on iOS works. Now that you’ve got a good hang of these super handy photography hacks, make the most of them to enhance your shots so that they can look pleasing on social networking sites or send the shutterbugs for a blitzkrieg. Oh yes, also shoot your feedback down below in the comments section.

Also Read:
How to Change Picture on Photo Widget in iOS
How To do a Reverse Image Search with an iPhone


Rajesh is a full-time tech nerd with a huge penchant for discovering nifty hacks, rounding up time-saving tips, and troubleshooting annoyances. He has worked for several noted websites including Indian Express and iPhoneHacks. Despite being deeply locked inside Apple's walled garden, he loves tinkering with Android and Windows devices. When he is not dealing with the physical keyboard, you may find him scrolling through Reels/Shorts or engrossed in a deathmatch to be the last one standing.

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