Apple’s ProRAW camera feature is a powerful tool to have in your back pocket. An image captured in ProRAW mode combines the same great post-processing flexibility of a traditional RAW file with the benefits of multi-image compute photography. Kind of the best of both worlds! But once you’ve gone through the steps to activate it on your iPhone and taken your photo, the real work begins: processing and converting it to a shareable format like JPEG, PNG, or HEIF.
ProRAW files are saved in Adobe’s ubiquitous DNG format, which is compatible with virtually every RAW photo editing app under the sun. This means you have many options including simply sending the file to a computer and using desktop software. You don’t need access to a computer, though – you can edit your image right on your phone, either with a third-party app or Apple’s own editing tools. Here’s how to do it. (I performed these steps on an iPhone 14 Pro running iOS 16.3.1.)
Edit and share a ProRAW photo with Apple Photos
You don’t need to download a separate app to edit ProRAW DNG files—Apple’s own Photos app does the job. A third-party app gives you a lot more control, but for quick and basic functions like increasing exposure, Apple’s app is fine.
Open your RAW photo and tap “Edit” at the top right of the screen. When you view your picture in the camera app gallery, you will see the editing options at the bottom of the screen likeYou can tap the three ring filter icon at the bottom of the screen to apply a filter. This is not to be confused with Apple’s photographic styles, which are “baked” into the shooting process. If you need to rotate the photo, use the crop tool, the icon at the bottom right of the editing area screen, to save your changes. There’s no option to save it as a separate image, but you can always revert your changes back to the original by opening it again in the Photos app, tapping the three-dot menu icon in the top right, and selecting “Revert to Original.”
After you’ve edited your RAW file, you can use the Photos app’s sharing features to export a JPEG version of your image. You can email it, post it on Instagram or put it in your digital picture frame – the choice is yours.
Apple’s Photos app offers basic editing features.
Once you’re happy with your edits, you can use one of the sharing features and the app will automatically share a JPEG.
How to export a ProRAW file from your iPhone
So what if you want to export the original RAW image? That’s a bit tricky. Once you’ve made changes in the Photos app, you can’t just share the original DNG file. The only exception is if you’re AirDropping your image to a Mac. If so, is there a way to send both the original file and a JPEG with your changes. Here’s how:
In the Photos app, scroll to your photo and tap the Share/Export icon in the bottom left. Tap “Options” at the top of the screen. Check “All photo data” and press “Done”. to downloads when prompted. This will create a folder in Downloads with the DNG file and your edited JPEG.
If you don’t use AirDropping on a Mac and want to save your DNG file somewhere else, you’ll need to make a copy of your edited RAW file and undo changes.
In the Photos app, scroll to your picture and tap the three-dot menu icon in the top-right corner. Tap Duplicate. Then tap the three-dot menu and choose Revert to original. Tap the export icon in the bottom left and choose how you want to send your file
You can AirDrop your edited JPEG and original DNG file to a Mac by enabling “All Photo Data” in the sharing options.
If you want to share your original DNG file without AirDrop, you’ll need to duplicate your image, undo changes, and share that version.
If you want a PNG or HEIF of your image instead of a JPEG, there are a few extra steps you need to take. You can either convert a raw DNG directly, or make your edits in Apple Photos first and then convert the resulting JPEG to a PNG or HEIF – not ideal if you want to minimize compression, but it works. Here’s what to do:
In Apple Photos, scroll to the image and tap the Share/Export icon Scroll down and tap Save to Files Select the folder you want to save to and tap Save Open the Files app and find your image (JPEG, PNG, or HEIF) and image size (Small, Medium, Large, or Original), your converted image will be saved in the same folder
To save your photo in a different format, save it to Files and find the Convert Image option under Quick Actions.
You can convert a DNG file to a JPEG, PNG, or HEIF file.
Editing a ProRAW photo with a third-party app
If you have a photo editing app that you’d rather use instead of photos, that’s no problem. You can start by opening either the Apple Photos app or the photo editing app you want to use.
If you’re starting in Photos, do the following:
Find the image you want to edit and tap the Export/Share icon at the bottom left of the screen. Scroll through the suggested app icons just below the image. When your editor is there, tap the icon to open your file in the app. If you don’t see the app icon you’re looking for, tap the three-dot More icon for additional options. Exporting your RAW file this way will only work if you haven’t made any changes to the photo in the Photos app. If you edited it there first, it will be exported as a JPEG.
If you’d rather start in the photo editing app of your choice, just follow that app’s procedure for importing a new image. For example, in Snapseed – my favorite free editor – all you have to do is open the app, tap the plus icon and select “Open from device”.