Following the launch of the iPhone XS and XS Max, owners began pointing out that the selfies captured on the new devices appear to apply a sort of smooth effect on the user's skin in certain lighting scenarios. This was quickly dubbed "BeautyGate," with some users accusing Apple of building the new iPhone models with an internal "beauty filter" for better-looking selfies that aren't 100% honest.

morrison beautygate image


In an effort to combat the BeautyGate claims, YouTuber Jonathan Morrison posted a series of selfies on Instagram and Twitter over the weekend. In captions, Morrison said these were captured on the Google Pixel 2's Portrait Mode, and asked his fans their thoughts on how the images came out, particularly if they were better than the iPhone XS.

Commenters said that the images rivaled DSLR shots and that the Pixel 2 was still among the best smartphone cameras, based on the pictures. Some even commended Google for producing high-quality selfies without the need for having a so-called make-up effect, and argued that the Pixel 2 had the best Portrait Mode of any smartphone.

After all of this, Morrison on Sunday revealed that both images were not taken on a Pixel 2, but instead captured on an iPhone XS Max.

BeautyGate talk starts at around 3:00

So I just wanted it to be a little bit of a lesson out there: don't let a preconceived notion or headline skew your judgement. Because clearly, everyone who thought that it was a Pixel automatically assumed it was much better than the iPhone, when in fact that was the same iPhone XS Max that apparently had all of the BeautyGate problems.

Still, Morrison explains that there is something happening on the front-facing cameras of the iPhone XS and XS Max, but it's not a beauty filter. Apple's latest smartphones take multiple pictures at varying exposure levels, requiring noise reduction that creates a smoothing effect over the entire image, not just on skin tones.

Halide went into detail on the issue in a blog post last week:

The iPhone XS merges exposures and reduces the brightness of the bright areas and reduces the darkness of the shadows. The detail remains, but we can perceive it as less sharp because it lost local contrast. In the photo above, the skin looks smoother simply because the light isn’t as harsh.

Observant people noticed it isn’t just skin that’s affected. Coarse textures and particularly anything in the dark— from cats to wood grain— get a smoother look. This is noise reduction at work. iPhone XS has more aggressive noise reduction than previous iPhones.

It's unclear if Apple will choose to decrease the amount of noise reduction on the front-facing cameras of the iPhone XS and XS Max as a result of the user complaints.

Top Rated Comments

aevan Avatar
41 months ago
Always liked Jonathan. And this is genius!
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ebok Avatar
41 months ago
after the video was posted these fandroids were deleting their comments.

absolutely hilarious. the hate for apple or even how far these losers go because you use a certain phone is astonishing. they need to get a damn life.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
41 months ago
Commenters said that the images rivaled DSLR shots and that the Pixel 2 was still among the best smartphone cameras, based on the pictures … both images were not taken on a Pixel 2, but instead captured on an iPhone XS Max.

This is the best thing I've read in a while. Will we see many Android users jump ship to get that DSLR quality? :rolleyes:
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
41 months ago
Fanboyism at it's finest. The truth is you can't really go wrong with the cameras of the flagship models on either side these days. There are subtle differences between them and most people won't even be able to spot the differences.

When I make a smartphone purchase I first consider privacy, then security, then consider the design/ease of using the operating system, then the speed of the hardware, and then the design of the device itself. It is my opinion that Apple leads in all of the categories that matter most to me, therefore I buy Apple hardware. It also integrates directly into macOS, which I use to make money every day. There are other devices out there that might have longer battery life, or faster LTE, but those aren't things that matter to me. My iPhone battery lasts well over a day, and using a content blocker most web pages load within a second or two.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Andres Cantu Avatar
41 months ago
Don’t understand why Android fans have so much hate for Apple fans. This just proves it.

Just use the devices you prefer, no need to bring people down for what devices they use.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ds6778 Avatar
41 months ago
Well when your smartphone is your identity......
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Mac Notebook Upgrade Program

Apple Introduces New MacBook Upgrade Program for Business Partners

Monday November 29, 2021 7:38 am PST by
In association with CIT as the financing partner, Apple has launched a new Mac Upgrade Program for small businesses and Apple business partners that allow companies to easily distribute and upgrade their fleets of MacBooks at an affordable price to all of their workers. As outlined on CIT's website, shared by Max Weinbach, Apple Business Partners can distribute the 13-inch MacBook Pro,...
General cyber monday 20 sale feature

Best Cyber Monday Deals for AirPods, Apple Pencil, iMac, More

Monday November 29, 2021 4:19 am PST by
With Black Friday over, Cyber Monday 2021 is now in full swing and you can find many of the same sales as last week on Apple products like AirPods, Apple Pencil, and iPad Pro. In this article we're focusing on the best Cyber Monday discounts on Apple products like these and more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we...
2017 apple tv

Cyber Monday: Original Apple TV 4K Drops to $99.99 for Amazon Prime Members

Monday November 29, 2021 12:01 pm PST by
We've been tracking Apple product and accessory deals for Cyber Monday 2021 today, and now Woot is offering a solid discount on the previous generation 32GB Apple TV 4K. You can get this device in new condition for just $99.99 if you're an Amazon Prime member. Note that this sale will last for one day only. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
iPhone SE Cosmopolitan Clean

New iPhone SE Reportedly on Track for Release in First Quarter of 2022

Tuesday November 30, 2021 8:08 am PST by
Apple plans to release a third-generation iPhone SE in the first quarter of 2022, according to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce. If this timeframe proves to be accurate, we can expect the device to be released by the end of March. As previously rumored, TrendForce said the new iPhone SE will remain a mid-range smartphone with added support for 5G:In terms of product development, Apple is...
maxresdefault

Five Features to Look Forward to in the 2022 MacBook Air

Tuesday November 30, 2021 1:51 pm PST by
In 2022, Apple is going to release an updated version of the MacBook Air with some of the biggest design changes that we've seen since 2010, when Apple introduced the 11 and 13-inch size options. In the video below, we highlight five features that you need to know about the new machine. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. No More Wedge Design - Current MacBook...
telsa cyberwhistle

Elon Musk Urges Customers to Buy 'Tesla Cyberwhistle' Instead of Apple Polishing Cloth

Wednesday December 1, 2021 4:01 am PST by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has encouraged customers to buy the "Cyberwhistle" for $50 instead of Apple's much-discussed Polishing Cloth. The product page, which Musk shared on Twitter on Tuesday evening, offers a limited edition stainless steel whistle with the same distinctive design of the Tesla Cybertruck:Inspired by Cybertruck, the limited-edition Cyberwhistle is a premium collectible made from ...
General cyber monday 20 sale feature 2

Best Cyber Monday Apple Accessory Deals Available Today

Monday November 29, 2021 6:41 am PST by
We started sharing deals on Apple products for Cyber Monday 2021 earlier today, and now we're tracking deals and bargains available from all of the best Apple accessory companies. Similar to Black Friday, you can expect Cyber Monday savings from Twelve South, Nomad, Belkin, Casetify, and many more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and...
iphone holiday

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:58 am PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Black Friday 2021 sales have now carried over into Cyber Monday as well. Right now we're tracking notable offers on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like iPhone SE. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate...
airpods prototype translucent

Transparent AirPods and 29W Power Adapter Prototypes Surface in Photos

Tuesday November 30, 2021 7:16 am PST by
Images of transparent prototype AirPods and a 29W Apple power adapter have been shared on Twitter by Apple device collector Giulio Zompetti. The prototypes, which appear to be either first-generation or second-generation AirPods, feature clear plastic along the stem and around the outer side of the earbud, with the normal white plastic on the inner side of the earbud. Transparent casings are ...