Features & Controls

The iPhone 6 Plus (pictured here and compared in size to a DVD) has the same basic layout as the iPhone 6, other than the large 5.5-inch touchscreen display (measured diagonally). An LED provides a backlight for this large screen, which carries a full HD resolution of 1920x1080 pixels for a total of 2.07 million pixels. This is an impressive screen, which Apple calls Retina HD. Below the screen (on the right side of this photo) is the Home button/Touch ID sensor.

It probably won't surprise you, but to include such a huge screen with this smartphone, the unit has to be large too. It measures 6.22 by 3.06 inches, and it is only 0.28 inches in thickness. It weighs 6.07 ounces. Two camera body colors are available, silver or space gray.

Above the screen is the receiver/front microphone, which is a long, flat area. The iPhone 6 Plus' secondary camera is to the right of the receiver, called the FaceTime camera. It maintains the 1.2-megapixels of resolution that matches past iPhones and is used primarily for selfies. (The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus upgraded the FaceTime camera's resolution to 5MP.) The 6 Plus FaceTime camera lens has an aperture of f/2.2 and can record up to 720p HD video.

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The large black circle in the upper left corner of the back panel is the iSight camera, which is the main camera for the Apple 6 Plus.

The 6 Plus operates from an Apple A8 CPU chip with a 64-bit architecture and an M8 embedded motion coprocessor. The unit includes 1GB of RAM. The smartphone's camera uses a 1/3-inch CMOS image sensor, which is slightly smaller than the most basic point and shoot cameras.

The smooth edges and thin design of the iPhone 6 Plus will limit the photographer's ability to grip the camera easily, so a case may be helpful.

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The tiny dot to the right of the lens is a rear microphone, while the medium-sized circle farther to the right is the True Tone flash. Apple included optical image stabilization (IS) in the iSight camera for the 6 Plus, but the iPhone 6 doesn't offer optical IS.

Apple gave the 6 Plus iSight camera 8-megapixels of resolution, which is similar to past iPhone models. (The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus upgraded the iSight camera's resolution to 12MP.) This main camera makes use of 1.5-micron sized pixels. This camera offers full 1080p HD video recording at up to 60 frames per second.

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The iPhone 6 Plus has no buttons on the top panel. The bottom panel of the 6 Plus has a headphone jack and a microphone on the far left of this image. The USB port, which Apple calls the Lightning port, is in the middle section, while the speaker is on the far right.

You'll use Apple's included Lightning-to-USB cable to charge the unit. The battery for the iPhone 6 Plus is encased inside the unit, and Apple does not recommend trying to remove it yourself.

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The right side of the iPhone 6 Plus includes the power button (pictured here). It also contains the SIM card tray, which can be opened by inserting the end of a paper clip into a tiny hole (not visible here because of the case on the phone). The iPhone 6 Plus uses a nano-SIM card, rather than micro-SIM.

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The left side of the 6 Plus has the ring/silent switch (on the far left in this photo) along with the volume up and down buttons. You can use the volume buttons as a shutter activation button if you don't want to press the shutter button displayed on the screen.

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From the main iPhone 6 Plus lock screen, you can activate the iSight camera by sliding the camera icon in the lower right corner upward. This is the fastest way to begin shooting photos.

Depending on how you have your smartphone's app icons organized, you also can just touch the Camera icon after entering your pin code to open the main camera. Or your Camera icon may be in the Photography folder, as shown here.

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The iPhone 6 Plus FaceTime camera (front-facing) may only offer 1.2MP of resolution, but it records decent images. Just touch the camera icon in the upper right corner to switch back and forth between the FaceTime camera and iSight camera.

The FaceTime camera has a 10 frames per second burst mode, and you can use a self-timer function with this model.

Let's move back to the iSight camera in the 6 Plus, as shown in this screenshot. You can adjust the exposure compensation for the first time as part of the Camera app in an iPhone smartphone camera. Just tap the screen where you want to set the focus point and then, once you see a sun icon, swipe upward to change the exposure positively or negatively.

While you won't find many options for controlling the camera's settings manually outside of exposure with the Camera app, you can add a host of manual control options through third-party apps.

The Camera app includes an HDR photo recording option, which will allow you to retain more detail in certain scenes versus shooting with HDR off. Just touch HDR along the top of the screen to activate HDR. In this screenshot, the HDR icon has a line through it, meaning HDR is not active.

Along the bottom of the screen, you'll see the different recording modes that are available: Time-Lapse, Slo-Mo, Video, Photo, Square, and Pano. Slide your finger across the screen to scroll between each mode. We'll discuss some these features in more detail later. The large white circle is the shutter button. The monochrome tri-circle on the far right provides access to the filter effects. The square on the far left displays the most recent image you recorded.

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Touch the flash icon along the top of the screen to change the flash options for the iSight camera. You can select from Auto, On, or Off as commands for the flash.

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Touch the self-timer icon across the top of the iSight screen to make use of the self-timer with the iSight camera. Your options are Off, 3s (seconds), or 10s. The FaceTime camera also can make use of a self-timer.

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The filter options on the iPhone 6 Plus are slightly different from past versions. You can share full-resolution filtered images now, whereas in the past you were limited to exporting 1MP images.

Touch the filter button in the lower right corner to open the screen shown here. The special effects/filters available are:

  • Mono
  • Tonal
  • Noir
  • Fade
  • None
  • Chrome
  • Process
  • Transfer
  • Instant
To turn off the current filter, touch the filter button to reopen the 3x3 grid. Then touch the None option.

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When you're using Panorama mode (shortened to Pano in the scroll menu), just follow the on-screen instructions to record a panoramic photo. The 6 Plus does a great job with panoramic images.

The Panorama mode in the iPhone 6 Plus offers up to 43MP of resolution, which is a significant increase in resolution versus previous models. Your panoramic images with this model will measure up to 13,600x3000 pixels, although having fewer pixels recorded is possible, depending on how you move the camera during the panoramic photo recording.

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Unlike the Apple 6s Plus, which offers 4K video resolution, the iPhone 6 Plus records 1080p HD video at either 30 or 60 frames per second. You also can record slow-motion video at 1080p HD at 120 or 240 frames per second. (However, if you attempt to export the slow-motion video to a computer, it will revert to a regular-motion video.)

Another video recording option with the 6 Plus is called Time Lapse, where the unit records two full HD resolution frames per second of the scene for any length of time. The 6 Plus then combines the frames into a video clip, laying them back at 30 fps. If the video is longer than 10 minutes, playback is 60 or 120 fps.

When you select a Video mode, the shutter button will turn from white to red. Because most digital cameras make use of a red button for recording movies, recording movies with this smartphone will feel natural to those who have used digital cameras.

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Apple added some photo editing features in iOS 8 and iOS 9 versus what has been available in past versions. For example, you now can make adjustments to the image's exposure, shadowed areas, highlighted areas, and color.

From the main iPhone camera screen, touch the thumbnail image in the lower left corner to enter Playback mode. Drag your finger along the bottom of the screen in a sweeping motion to switch to other photos in the list.

Touch the icons on the bottom of the screen to open the Crop/Rotate, Filters, and Exposure editing options.

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You can see greater detail in your stored images on the 6 Plus by using a reverse pinching motion on the touchscreen. To reduce the magnification of the image, drag your thumb and finger in a pinching motion.

This same pinching motion will work to activate digital zoom when shooting still image photos or videos.

The Photos & Cameras screen under the Settings icon gives you the option for controlling photo sharing through iCloud, burst modes, slideshow operation, and HDR options.

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The smartphone stores your images in what Apple calls Albums, where it automatically organizes selfies, panorama photos, and videos into separate folders, which is a helpful organizational tool.

You can further organize your stored images by date, location, or sites to which they were uploaded.

To create a new Album or edit an existing Album, just touch the plus icon or the Edit icon on the Albums screen.

Touch the Shared or Photos icons along the bottom of the screen to change the way you're viewing your stored images.

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With a movie displayed on the iPhone 6 Plus, touch the Play icon in the middle of the screen to start the playback.

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To share individual photos through social networking or to make other file-related changes to the image, just touch the screen when the photo is visible. (You may have to touch Next as well.) You'll then see your sharing options across the bottom of the screen. You can add the image to a text message, to an e-mail, or send it to iCloud, among other options. You can make a copy or use it as wallpaper as well.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.