How to Do Depth Effect on iPhone X

iOS 16 packs in a lot of features that are both visual and functional. Among the cosmetic changes to come to Apple’s new mobile OS is Depth Effect on the lock screen. When enabled, iOS uses on-device machine learning to process your lock screen wallpaper and splits it into multiple layers in a way that separates subjects from the rest of the elements of the background. 

The result you get is a cool-looking lock screen effect where parts of your wallpaper cover the iOS clock to mimic if the clock is in the background with the subject popping up. If you’re using an iPhone X and are wondering whether or not you can use this new iOS feature, the following post should explain all of that in detail. 

Can you use Depth Effect on iPhone X?

Yes and no. Depth Effect works partially on the iPhone X in a way that it’s only enabled for the default backgrounds provided by Apple on iOS 16. This means, that if you apply any of the default wallpapers like the clownfish background, wallpapers involving the earth and moon, and other iOS 16 backgrounds that are built into your iPhone, then the Depth Effect will be applicable on your lock screen. 

Where Depth Effect doesn’t work is on backgrounds you choose from your iPhone’s Camera Roll. Although you can choose any image as your lock screen background on iOS 16, when you access the Depth Effect option on any of these backgrounds, the option will be greyed out. 

What this means is that Depth Effect can only be controlled and used on an iPhone X when you apply the default iOS 16 wallpapers on the lock screen. 

How to do Depth Effect on iPhone X

As we explained above, Depth Effect can be applied on iPhone X when you set your lock screen wallpaper to a default background. To use Depth Effect on iPhone X, update your device to iOS 16 by going to Settings > General > Software Update

When the update has been installed, unlock your phone using Face ID but do not go to the home screen yet. For this, simply press the Side button, show your face to the iPhone and let the Lock Screen get unlocked. Now, long-press anywhere on the unlocked lock screen.

When the lock screen goes into edit mode, you can add a new lock screen by tapping on the + button at the bottom right corner. This way you can keep your current lock screen background and create a new one separately.

You’ll now see the Add New Wallpaper screen appear. Since you cannot use photos from your Camera Roll for Depth Effect, you will need to use a default wallpaper available on iOS 16 to use the feature. You can thus use the following 5 highlighted wallpapers to obtain the Depth Effect on iPhone X.

In this instance, we choose the clownfish background as our lock screen wallpaper. 

When you select a background, the Depth effect should get enabled automatically on it. Now, tap on Add at the top right corner to confirm. 

iOS will now preview your new lock screen and home screen in a box at the bottom. If you’re satisfied with both the looks, tap on Set as Wallpaper Pair.

Your new lock screen with Depth Effect will now be previewed on the Customize screen. To activate it, tap on this new lock screen.

You will now see the new lock screen enabled with Depth Effect on your iPhone.

Here are all the wallpapers you can choose to enable Depth Effect on iPhone X. 

What does your iPhone need to support the Depth Effect?

Depth Effect uses your iPhone’s built machine learning resources to let iOS detect depth information from backgrounds you set as wallpapers. However, not all iPhones will be able to offer enough resources to support this feature. Depth Effect currently only works on iPhones powered by Apple’s A12 Bionic chipset or later

Why iPhone X doesn’t have support for Depth Effect for custom wallpapers?

The iPhone X was released in 2017 and alongside the iPhone 8 series, it’s the oldest device to get the iOS 16 update. Since the iPhone X is powered by Apple’s A11 Bionic chip that doesn’t have enough resources to power the new iOS 16 features, you won’t be able to use Depth Effect on the iPhone X even after the latest iOS update. 

As we explained above, Depth Effect works on default iOS 16 wallpapers but fails to work on backgrounds you choose from your iPhone’s Camera Roll. Although the iPhone X uses Neural Engine to scan for FaceID, Apple could have dropped support for the feature partly because the technology isn’t capable of separating elements from every image on your device. 

Which iPhones can you use to apply the Depth Effect on the lock screen?

Since the Depth Effect requires your iPhone to run on Apple’s A12 Bionic chipset or later, you’ll be able to use this feature on all of the following devices:

  • iPhone XR, iPhone XS/Max
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro/Max
  • iPhone SE (2020 and 2022)
  • iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro/Max
  • iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro/Max
  • iPhone 14/Plus, iPhone 14 Pro/Max

Unless you own an iPhone older than the aforementioned models, you can use the Depth Effect on your iOS 16 Lock Screen. 

Are there other missing features from iOS 16 on iPhone X?

Depth Effect isn’t the only feature that iPhone X owners miss out on. There are a bunch of new iOS 16 features that aren’t available on the iPhone X and iPhone 8 series:

  • The ability to crop subjects from a picture and paste it elsewhere is also missing on iOS 16 on the iPhone X. Since this feature relies on Visual Look Up to extract contents from an image and it requires Apple’s A12 Bionic chipset or newer to work, iPhone X users cannot lift elements from a photo on iOS 16. 
  • Live Text feature is also missing on the iPhone X on iOS 16. If own an iPhone X or older device, you cannot copy text from videos even if you pause the video. The feature works on iPhone XS/XR and newer devices. 
  • Live Captions for FaceTime calls is also missing on iPhone X. The feature requires an A12 Bionic chipset or later to gather real-time captions from calls and can only be used on iPhone XS/XR, and newer devices. 
  • Improved Dictation doesn’t work on the iPhone X running on iOS 16. This means you cannot use voice-to-text and keyboard together while drafting messages and emails. 
  • Battery percentage doesn’t show in the status bar on iPhones with the original notch and this includes the iPhone X, XR/XS, iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13 mini. 
  • iPhone X users cannot track medications in the Health app on iOS 16. 
  • You cannot hang up calls using Siri on iPhone X.
  • You cannot blur subjects in portrait photos after clicking a photo with an iPhone X on iOS 16. 
  • iPhone X won’t be able to detect or describe nearby objects with the Camera app. The feature only works on iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro. 

That’s all you need to know about why your iPhone X cannot use Depth Effect on iOS 16. 

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