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iPhone 12 Pro can measure height using the LiDAR Sensor

This year’s newest iPhones, the iPhone 12 series, come loaded with an array of new features and hardware improvements. One notable addition to the 12 Pro line-up is the inclusion of a LiDAR sensor (Light Detection and Ranging). This aids the phone in many areas, including subject detection for portrait photos, and allow for night mode photographs. One of the most interesting applications of this new sensor, however, is AR (augmented reality). The new LiDAR sensor can accurately measure depth and effectively calculate the exact 3D position and size of objects, leading to more immersive experiences.

The Measure App

One of the genuinely useful functions being powered by the more comprehensive depth information comes in the form of Apple’s 1st party ‘Measure’ app. First introduced in September of 2018, in iOS 12, the app allows iPhone users to measure the length of any sufficiently detailed object (to a certain degree of accuracy). In real-world testing, the app has been impressively reliable and extremely accurate – to a degree of centimeters, even on my personal device, the single-lensed iPhone XR.  Apple’s powerful neural engine can obtain extremely good results without any depth data at all, so it should be expected that once fused with the extensive data of the new LiDAR system, even more impressive features can be unlocked.

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The newest improvement to the ‘Measure’ app comes in the form of height measurement. As outlined in a new Apple Support document: “On iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, you can use the Measure app to instantly measure a person’s height from the floor to the top of their head, hair, or hat.”. All you need to do to measure someone’s height is to open the ‘Measure’ app, ensure the person is in frame from head to toe, and after a moment, a line will appear at the top of the person’s head with the height measurement. You can also take a photo of the measurement by tapping the shutter button in the bottom-right corner and then modifying the screenshot in the bottom-left corner appropriately.

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