APPLE fans are only just realizing what that mysterious black circle on the back of their iPhones really does.
A popular post on Reddit has earned over 1,400 "upvotes" after one confused user asked what it's for.
The circle can be found on the camera bump on the back of recent iPhone models.
It's a fraction of the size of a camera lens, and sits flat against the bump.
If you don't recognize the hole, it might be that your iPhone doesn't have one.
The Apple LiDAR scanner is only fitted to the following models: iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
It's also included on several iPad Pro models.
But unless you've specifically searched for it – or you're a true gadget fan – it's very possible that you have no idea what it actually does.
On the Reddit thread, the poster circled the feature in red and asked "what's it for?".
iPhone dark circle near camera explained
The circle is actually a LiDAR scanner.
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LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, and it's designed to measure distances.
It will emit pulsed lasers and then measure how long the reflection takes to come back.
This allows the LiDAR scanner to measure distances of objects in its field of view.
And that means the iPhone can make an accurate 3D map of what it can see.
This is useful for a whole host of iPhone hacks and features.
For instance, it's great for augmented reality apps that let you place virtual objects on the "real world" using the camera.
That's because you can better place a 3D object on what your camera is seeing if all the measurements are known.
It can also allow your camera to work more effectively.
In low-light conditions, the LiDAR Scanner can track how far your subject is away, allowing auto-focus to work more quickly.
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And it can make measurements on your iPhone more accurate.
For instance, using the Measure app on your iPhone is better if you have a LiDAR model.
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