Instagram’s New Focus Mode Adds Faux Bokeh to Your Selfies


As the world’s largest photo-sharing social media platform, Instagram has a lot of pressure on its shoulders to either innovate or fall behind.

And sometimes, as is the case with Stories, that innovation mimics or outright copies advances or concepts first introduced by other companies (in the case of Stories, SnapChat).

Now Instagram is taking a page from Apple and Samsung and introducing a Focus mode that adds what DP Review calls “fake bokeh” to your photos.

This update is in direct response to some of the portrait modes introduced via software upgrade such as Depth, Portrait, and Bokeh.

Image via Kaique Rocha from

But unlike smartphones, which utilize the dual camera system found on most high-end devices, Instagram’s Focus mode hones in on what it interprets is the user’s face and applying the effect to the picture accordingly. While it is far from perfect, it enables smartphones with only a single lens to enjoy the benefits of the faux bokeh created by a more expensive device.

You can find Focus mode in the Instagram stories user interface right beside the Superzoom functionality. This feature works on Apple iPhones SE, 6, 7,8, and X as well as “select Android devices.” It also works with both the user facing and front facing cameras so you don’t lose this feature if you somehow have to switch between the two sides.

For users of a single lens smartphone, this app upgrade is probably welcome news but users of dual lens smartphones may want to opt for the device’s baked-in functionality instead. Again, the Instagram feature uses facial detection and applies the effect to the picture. If it doesn’t detect it quite right, the picture may not look like what you want it to appear.

The new update should be available via your app store of choice as of press. You can read all about it on Instagram's blog by clicking here.

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About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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