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iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max to Help Visually Challenged Users Find How Far They Are from Others

People Detection is a part of the Magnifier app on the latest iOS 14.2 beta release.

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iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max to Help Visually Challenged Users Find How Far They Are from Others

Photo Credit: Apple

iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are the only iPhone models to get the People Detection feature

Highlights
  • iOS 14.2 “Release Candidate” version brings the People Detection feature
  • The feature uses LiDAR sensor and wide-angle camera of the new iPhones
  • Apple provides alerts and distance tracking through People Detection

iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are getting a new feature called “People Detection” that will allow visually challenged users to detect how far away they are from other people. The new feature is a part of a new iOS 14.2 beta release. It uses the LiDAR sensor and wide-angle camera of the latest iPhone models to precisely detect the distance between the users and their nearby people. Apple may include it as amongst the key accessibility-focussed changes in the public release of iOS 14.2 in the coming days.

Available in the Magnifier app, the People Detection feature works with a combination of augmented reality (AR) and machine learning to help visually challenged iPhone users to detect where humans and objects are around them. The addition was initially spotted in September. However, it's now a part of the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max through the iOS 14.2 “Release Candidate” version that reached both developers and public beta testers on Friday.

As reported by TechCrunch, the People Detection feature is an extension of the people occlusion capability of Apple's ARKit that allows the AR system to occlude virtual content by a person identified by the camera feed.

In addition to the software tweaks, the feature utilises the LiDAR sensor and the wide-angle camera of the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max to accurately measure the distance between the users and their nearby people as well as objects. This eventually helps provide visual support to users who have blindness or extreme low vision.

The People Detection feature tells the users whether people are in their space. If it finds someone in close proximity, it then measures the distance and then produces a sound in stereo corresponding to the direction of that person. It is also capable of allowing users to set any particular tones once a certain distance is measured by the iPhone. This essentially helps maintain some distance with other people and objects. It is also something quite helpful in today's time when people are advised to maintain at least six feet distance from others.

Apple has also provided a haptic pulse option that becomes faster when a person gets closer, as noted by TechCrunch. The haptic pulse option is, however, limited to the iPhone and is not available even on the Apple Watch. There is also an option to get a visual readout of how far away the person is from the user.

Since the People Detection feature is currently in its beta stage, it has some bugs that may not provide appropriate results all the time. Nevertheless, Apple is likely to fix them ahead of its public debut that may come alongside the public release of iOS 14.2.

It is important to highlight that the feature is currently meant specifically for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. This means that you won't be able to experience it if you're using even the iPhone 12 or the iPhone 12 mini. The exclusivity may give another reason to some users to pick a pricier option in the iPhone 12 series.


Are iPhone 12 mini, HomePod mini the Perfect Apple Devices for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Solid build quality
  • Excellent display
  • Dolby Vision video recording
  • Snappy overall performance
  • All-day battery life
  • Bad
  • Heats up when gaming
  • Not differentiated much from iPhone 12
  • Not great value
Display 6.10-inch
Front Camera 12-megapixel
Rear Camera 12-megapixel + 12-megapixel + 12-megapixel
Storage 64GB
OS iOS 14
Resolution 1170x2532 pixels
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Excellent build quality
  • Immersive display
  • Very good battery life
  • Versatile cameras
  • Speedy performance
  • Bad
  • Can be uncomfortable to hold
  • Heats up when gaming
  • Very expensive
Display 6.70-inch
Front Camera 12-megapixel
Rear Camera 12-megapixel + 12-megapixel + 12-megapixel
Storage 128GB
OS iOS 14
Resolution 1284x2778 pixels
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Jagmeet Singh Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at jagmeets@ndtv.com. Please send in your leads and tips. More
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