How to Enable and Use Apple ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max

Ali Salman
Enable and Use Apple ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro

Apple announced iOS 14.3 this week and it brings a bevy of new additions to the table. While the update brings Fitness+ workout service to users, it also features Apple's new image format called ProRAW. By default, the new format is enabled but you can do so in the settings menu, which we will talk about later on. So what really is ProRAW and what differences does it make? Should you expect any major difference in picture quality? Let's dive in to see how to enable and use Apple ProRAW on your new iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Here's Everything You Need to Know on How to Enable and How to Use The New Apple ProRAW Image Format on iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

Apple's new ProRAW format made its debut this week with the release of iOS 14.3 on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. There are several aspects that you need to know before you head in and use the feature. From what it is, to how to enable and use it, be fully informed before using the feature.

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What Actually is Apple's ProRAW?

Let's start with what ProRAW really is. ProRAW is basically Apple's new image format that captures more data compared to the standard HEIC format. However, the most common image format that phones and most cameras use is JPEG. It is a common format because it has the ability to compress data and decrease the file size without really compromising the quality. Apple's HEIC format does that as well while maintaining picture quality.

However, when it comes to editing, JPEG, and HEIC format do not capture the amount of data as that of RAW. Hence, most photographers would prefer to use the RAW image format to maneuver the image later on using the software. Just as its name, the RAW format takes out unfiltered data from the camera and the photographer has a lot to play around with. You can use editing tools to fix the sky or tuning colors to make them as real as possible. However, there is a caveat associated with the RAW format - it takes more space, the file size is more than the other two formats. According to Apple, ProRAW photos take 10 to 12 times more space than JPEG or HEIC formats.

iPhone 12 Pro camera

Previously, users could download third-party apps on their iPhones to capture RAW format photos. However, now that Apple ProRAW is here with iOS 14.3, you don't need those apps. The feature is built into the main camera app and also takes advantage of Apple's computational photography features. Some of these features include Deep Fusion, Smart HDR, noise reduction, and much more. So you're basically playing around with a lot of information in a photo and you have the ability to maneuver it. RAW photos are basically unprocessed images straight from the camera. So Apple's ProRAW is not exactly raw, unprocessed photos but it has gone through Apple's computational photography. It reaps the benefits of both, control from the RAW photos plus Apple's added layer of features so you have a better start.

How to Enable ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro?

Apple's ProRAW image format was introduced with iOS 14.3 and it is only available for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. It does not work with the standard iPhone 12 models as well. If you want to enable ProRAW format on your iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, the first thing that you need to do is update to the latest iOS 14.3. Once you do that, follow the step by step instructions listed below.

1. Once your iPhone 12 Pro model is updated to iOS 14.3, launch the Settings app.

2. Now, scroll down and select Camera.

Enable and Use Apple ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro

3. Once you do that, tap on Formats.

Enable and Use Apple ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro

4. Toggle on Apple ProRAW.

Enable and Use Apple ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro

5. Go back Home and launch the main camera app and tap on RAW.

That's all that you have to do in order to enable Apple ProRAW format on iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Once the RAW icon turns yellow, it means any photo that you take will be captured in the ProRAW format. If you want to switch back to JPEG or HEIC format, tap on the RAW icon again. It will turn into a RAW icon with a strike through it.

Enable and Use Apple ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro

Since storage on the iPhone has been an issue for many, we would not recommend taking every photo in the ProRAW format. You can tap on the RAW icon and preserve some space with the standard JPEG or HEIC formats. ProRAW will chew through your memory faster than the other formats. Moreover, you can use any camera on the iPhone 12 Pro with the new ProRAW format, so there's no limitation there.

When You Should Use the ProRAW Format?

It is important to know when you should turn ProRAW on your iPhone 12 Pro. Since it takes a lot of space, you should not keep it on consistently. Hence, you have to know the right conditions. To my experimentation, I found ProRAW as most useful in dark conditions. In certain lighting conditions, you wouldn't even notice the difference. For one, if you're looking to edit the picture, it will always be vital to turn on ProRAW because of the number of controls you can maneuver later on.

Turn ProRAW on when there is low light since you will be increasing the image brightness later on and you will have more controls then. Basically, you should turn ProRAW on when you're considering to edit the photo to a greater extent. Yes, you can edit the JPEG and HEIC formats as well but the controls are far more enhanced and the detail and colors in the photograph will be preserved with ProRAW.

Enable and Use Apple ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro


Apple's ProRAW is a great deal on the iPhone as it bestows mobile photographers with a lot more control over what they capture. It's a new format that gives you more details regarding the data in the image. You can use the data to edit images in a more profound way which is impossible in other formats. It does take more space, so do take that into account.

That's all there is to it. Share your experience with ProRAW in the comments section below.

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