Instagram blazes a trail, offers wide color capture and display on iPhone 7 (Plus)


posted Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 11:00 AM EST


Apple’s latest iPhones, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, have wider color gamut displays than their previous iterations. The phones’ built-in cameras support the wider color range but many image sharing platforms convert images to sRGB when you upload them. Instagram has now changed their platform to allow iPhone 7 users to take advantage of the wider color capture and display capabilities of their mobile devices.

The change currently benefits Apple users, but it is not an Apple-centric update, but rather Apple is the biggest manufacturer to utilize DCI-P3 color space in their mobile devices.

Why does wide color matter, what sort of advantages does it offer? Instagram engineer Mike Krieger has written a blog about the update, which you can read here. sRGB has the advantage of being very widely compatible across many devices, but it is limiting in the amount of colors it can capture. He uses an example of a room at Instagram headquarters that features a lot of orange. Much of that room’s color is inaccurately represented by sRGB, but accurately captured by Display P3. You can download a “canary image” here, which will be a red square when viewed in sRGB but will display the Instagram logo when viewed on a wide color display. There is a lot of in-depth technical information on the process of updating Instagram to support wide color capture and display, so if that’s your cup of tea, read the full blog.

Above, you can see two images (move the central white slider to switch between the two images). The image with the blue area shows all of the colors from the original image that are lost when using the sRGB color space but are captured by Display P3.

If you're using an iPhone 7 (Plus), you can experience the improved Instagram now. For everyone else, hopefully Display P3 will be adopted on your phone of choice soon. Instagram is blazing a trail here and offering a lot of information to help others do the same, so it should only be a matter of time before wide color capture and display is more widely-adopted.

(Seen via DIY Photography)