Despite how selfies have become a global practice, Apple has remained quite stingy when it came to its front-facing FaceTime camera. Sure, it boosted the sensor’s capabilities to support Face ID, which became the iPhone’s sole biometrics component since the iPhone X, but the normal capabilities of the camera haven’t seen much action in years. That changed with the iPhone 12 series when Apple finally enabled 1080p video calls in FaceTime, but it seems that it quietly flipped the switch for older iPhones as well.
When it comes to hardware, the iPhone 8 is already capable of 1080p video anyway, just that it only applies to the regular video recording. For one reason or another, however, Apple has for years limited video calls to 720p HD only. That may be its compromise between video quality and bandwidth and may have been OK during a time when video calls were mostly social activities.
These days, video calls have become more important and it seems that Apple has gotten on the wave, too. It didn’t actually make a big fuss about it but it apparently switched FaceTime video calls on the iPhone 12 to use 1080p HD instead of 720p on the iPhone 12. That’s to be expected for Apple’s latest and greatest smartphones but, in typical Apple fashion, it also leveled the playing field with older iPhones.
MacMagazine discovered that all iPhones going all the way back to the iPhone 8 now include this 1080p FaceTime feature. Apple silently updated its support pages last month so no one really got wind of it until now. According to the site, the difference in quality between 1080p over Wi-Fi and 720p over 4G was very noticeable.
That said, iPhone 12 owners need not feel offended that they aren’t being given special treatment over this feature. In fact, they do have one thing that all older iPhones don’t. While the iPhone 8 and later now support 1080p video calls, they can only do so over a Wi-Fi connection while the iPhone 12 quadruplet can do it over both Wi-Fi as well as 5G.