FAQ: What Is Apple ProRAW on the iPhone 12 Pro? Do I Really Need It?

Apple ProRAW 1 Credit: Apple
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Apple ProRaw was first promised when the company revealed the iPhone 12 lineup. Although we didn’t know when it was going to be released, we were all impatiently waiting for it.

The cameras found on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are already some of the best on the market right now, especially because of things like the LiDAR sensor and the introduction of Dolby Vision. That being said, being able to capture and edit files in the RAW format opens a new world for both professional photographers and those who take pictures as a hobby.

But what about the rest of us? Do we really need to use Apple ProRAW, or is it one of those features that’s nice to have but not really necessary? Here’s everything you need to know.

What Is Apple ProRAW?

ProRaw is Apple’s way of branding the already known RAW file in the photography world. In case you don’t know, a RAW file refers to a picture that has little to no processed data.

An unedited or raw image file basically means that your iPhone’s sensor and camera won’t try to make the picture “prettier” by enhancing its quality, changing colors, or adding a filter. The picture is literally raw.

ProRAW photos capture a ton of raw image data, meant to be edited later.

What Do You Need to Use ProRAW?

Sadly, not every iPhone can use ProRAW, and if you’re going to use it, you need to meet a few requirements.

  1. First, as you can tell by the name, this is a “Pro” feature. This means only the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max support ProRAW. If you have an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, or any other iPhone in existence, you can’t use this feature.
  2. Another requirement is that your iPhone 12 Pro has iOS 14.3 or later already installed. This is pretty straightforward and it’ll only take a few moments to update if you haven’t done it already.
  3. Finally, you’re going to need storage—a lot of it. ProRAW files can take twice or even three times as much space as regular files. Fortunately, this shouldn’t be a problem either since the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max come with a starting base storage of 128GB.

How to Turn ProRAW On

Once you’ve met all the requirements, it’s time to start using ProRAW. By default, this feature is turned off so you’ll need to enable it yourself. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Open the Settings App.
  2. Scroll down and select Camera.
  3. Select Formats.
  4. Turn Apple ProRAW on.

After you’ve done this, you’ll want to go to the Camera app. You’ll see a new RAW button on the top right corner of your screen. Whenever you want to use this feature, you’ll have to turn ProRAW on with this button.

All ProRAW photos you take will have a small RAW tag on the top right corner of the Photos app. That way you’ll know which ones you can edit.

How to Edit ProRAW Pictures

Editing ProRAW pictures is as simple as editing regular ones. All you need to do is open them in the proper app and start editing.

You just need to select the picture you want to edit and, if the software you’re using supports Apple ProRAW, you can start editing without an issue. If Apple ProRaw isn’t supported, the picture might look a bit different, so you might want to automatically enhance the picture with the app you’re using.

You can use your iPhone and your Mac to edit ProRAW files, and there are other apps that support both RAW and Apple ProRAW files as well, like Lightroom. And of course, you can also use Photos apps on your iPhone.

What Happens When You Share ProRAW Files?

You can share ProRAW files just like you would regular pictures, but there’s a difference between sharing ProRAW files and edited photos.

To share edited pictures, you send them via Messages, an email, AirDrop or any other form. In this case, a version of your ProRAW picture (turned into a JPG) file will be shared.

You can also share a ProRAW file to other Apple devices by using AirDrop. It’s possible to access your pictures on other devices by using iCloud Photos as well.

To share a ProRAW file from your computer or Mac, you can use Image Capture on Mac or the Windows Photos app on any Windows computer. You can also use the Photos app and export your ProRAW file by going to File, then Export, and finally Export Unmodified Original.

Is Apple ProRAW Worth It?

Even if the idea of editing your pictures completely by yourself sounds neat, most of us don’t really need ProRAW. As you’d expect, this feature is targeted at professional photographers or people who are really into photography. It’s simply more work.

If you’re one of those people, then you can really make the most out of ProRAW. But if you’re someone who just casually takes pictures, and you want your pictures looking nice as soon as you take them, Apple ProRAW isn’t a good option.

If you already have an iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Pro Max then you’ll find ProRaw to be a cool feature that you can use from time to time but not one that’s necessary for your everyday life. On the other hand, if you’re wondering if ProRAW is worth it, the answer is probably not.

The iPhone 12 lineup already has some amazing cameras and there are many reasons to choose the iPhone 12 Pro over the iPhone 12 other than this feature. Still though, just like 5G, it’s nice to have.

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