How to view and take photos in widescreen (16:9) on iPhone

If you have a new iPhone, you’ve probably noticed that when you take a picture with the camera, it always has black bars on both sides of the image. The iPhone screen has a different aspect ratio than the photo, so the image does not fill the entire screen.

It’s really a nuisance for someone like me. Yes, there are advantages to the way Apple does it, which I’ll explain below, but it still frustrates me that I can’t enjoy a full-screen shot on my iPhone.

Fortunately, there are several ways to take and view photos you’ve already taken in widescreen format on your iPhone. In this post, I’ll show you how to edit photos to be widescreen and how to take widescreen photos, although the latter has some caveats.

Aspect ratio

Before we get into the details, let’s try to understand why photos taken on iPhone will have black bars on both sides of the photo as shown below:

The iPhone takes photos with a 4:3 aspect ratio. why Well, it’s probably the best ratio for photos because it captures more pixels in the image and is a better format for printing etc. If they used a 16:9 aspect ratio for photos, you wouldn’t be able to capture as much as possible in each shot.

Have you ever noticed that when you switch from photo to video on your iPhone, the camera zooms in? This is because HD video is shot in a 16:9 aspect ratio and therefore fills the entire screen. The disadvantage is that the picture needs to be cropped, and the field of view is much smaller.

In my opinion, Apple should also add an option to take photos in 16:9 format and simply warn users that the resolution will be lower than the maximum resolution possible for a 4:3 aspect ratio image. In my tests, the maximum 4:3 resolution photo from my iPhone 6S Plus was 4032 x 3024.

In iOS, there are two ways to convert your photos to 16:9 widescreen: either by editing the photo, or by taking a photo while shooting a video. If you edit a 4:3 photo and convert it to 16:9, the final resolution will be 4032 x 2268. If you take a 16:9 photo while shooting a video, the final resolution will be 3840×2160.

large format photo for iphone

So what does that mean? In general, if you like the widescreen format, just keep taking photos in the standard 4:3 aspect ratio and just edit them to 16:9 later, like I did above. You will have to crop the image a bit (in height), but you will get a photo with the highest resolution.

Large format images on iPhone

So, now that you understand the mechanics behind how photos are taken and displayed on your phone, let’s talk about two ways to get large-format photos. The first method is the easiest, but you need to shoot a video for it.

Open it Cell and go to the video. When you start recording a video, a white circle will appear at the bottom of the screen. This allows you to take pictures while recording video.

take photos during video

There are several reasons why this is not the best way to get a large format photo. First, you have to shoot a video to take a widescreen shot. Obviously, you can just delete the video later, but who wants to keep recording a video every time they want to take a photo?

Second, as I mentioned earlier, the resolution of a photo taken in camera mode is lower than when simply editing a standard 4:3 photo. So let’s talk about how to edit a photo. Open it Photos and tap the photo you want to edit.

edit photo

At the top right, tap Edit link.

crop image

Now tap on the first icon at the top which is for rotating and cropping the image.

change the aspect ratio

A few more icons will appear along with a wheel that you can use to rotate the image. In our case, we need to click the aspect ratio button at the bottom, next to the Cancel button

change the aspect ratio

You will now get a popup window with several different aspect ratios to choose from. You have to scroll all the way down to find 16:9 coefficient and tap it.

new aspect ratio

Finally, you have to crop the image by moving it with your finger. The part inside the box will be your new large format photo.

crop image

touch done and your photo will now be in widescreen format! That’s about it. Unfortunately, it is not possible to do this on a batch, set or photos at a time. You have to manually edit every photo you want in large format.


If that sounds like too much, then you can download the Camera+ app from the App Store. You can change the shooting mode to 16:9 and automatically save the image in the normal camera folder.

camera plus

Just tap the small plus icon next to the button with the big white circle, then select the widescreen icon from the menu that appears. To save the image to the camera roll, tap the small hamburger icon (three lines), then tap Autosave and choose Photo film.

This is probably the easiest way to make sure all your photos are captured in widescreen format without having to do anything else manually. The resolution of the image was also 4032 × 2268, so this is also the maximum resolution possible in this format. There are a lot of other great things you can do with this program, so it’s well worth the money if you’re into large format images all the time.

We hope these tips help you understand and enjoy the photos you take on your iPhone. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. Enjoy!

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