This iPhone camera trick lets you take better selfies and group shots

Don't settle for that front-facing camera for your selfies or group shots. This technique lets you use the rear cameras and still see what you're shooting

iPhone selife
(Image credit: Future)

If you're a fan of the odd selfie or group shot you've probably found yourself switching to that front-facing camera to allow you to see what you're shooting and ultimately been disappointed with the result. 

The front-facing true-depth camera on the latest iPhone 13 isn't bad as cameras go but it's no match for the two or three cameras on the rear, especially in low light. This is due to change with the iPhone 14's new front-facing camera but right now you can get much better portraits using the rear cameras – not to mention a better choice of focal lengths. The problem is that you have to guess your composition, as there's no screen on the back of an iPhone. 

Well, this lesser-known trick will let you have the best of both worlds – the rear-facing cameras, and a monitor screen. All you need is an iPhone and an Apple Watch. 

iPhone selfie

The Camera Remote app on the Apple Watch is often forgotten about

(Image credit: Future)

The Camera Remote app has existed on the Apple Watch for years but it's often forgotten about. There's no camera in the watch and if you have your iPhone in your hand, you rarely need to view it on another screen. But in fact, it can be very useful. If you want to take a big group shot by placing your phone on a tripod – or balancing it on a wall – you can use the Camera Remote app on your watch to not only check the composition but also take the picture. 

The same idea applies to selfies and group shots with the phone in your hand. With the Camera Remote app in use you get a live feed from your phone and so are free to use the rear cameras and compose the shot on your watch. 

iPhone selfie

An iPhone and Watch in one

(Image credit: Future)

The technique takes some dexterity as you'll want to be holding your phone in the opposite hand to the wrist with your watch on but once you have that mastered, it's easy. CNET suggested on Twitter (opens in new tab) to actually wrap your Apple Watch around your phone but this feels unnecessary.

Of course, using the rear cameras on the iPhone 13 means you have access to the superior 12MP primary lens, with its wider f/1.5 aperture and sensor-shift stabilization, or the ultra-wide 13mm equivalent lens. Plus, if you have the iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max, the 77mm equivalent telephoto lens.

Any of these are going to give you much better picture quality than that front lens and allow you to be more creative with the focal length too. It's how I'll be taking my selfies from now on. 

iPhone selfie

This is how I'm doing my seflies from now on

(Image credit: Future)

As T3's Managing Editor in the US, Mat has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. Originally from the UK, he has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing and Hong Kong, is now based in Chicago. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.