How to use Action mode on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro

Here’s how to best use one of the iPhone 14’s new camera features. | Samar Haddad / The Verge

One of the new camera features offered by the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro is a somewhat self-explained Action mode. It’s a feature you can enable in video mode to supercharge stabilization for very intense motion, like running behind someone and recording their workout or chasing your kid around a playground, which is its own kind of workout. It’s easy to use, but there are a couple of things to know so you can get the most out of it.

I followed these steps on an iPhone 14 Pro running iOS 16.0, but they’re the same on the standard iPhone 14.

How to start using Action mode

Getting started with Action mode is easy:

  • Open the native camera app.
  • Switch to video mode.
  • Tap the running person icon in the top left of the screen.

You’re now in Action mode and… ready for action! The camera will default to using the ultrawide lens — you’ll see the 0.5x icon highlighted at the bottom of the screen — but you can tap the other options to change lenses. You can also toggle between 1080p HD and 2.8K resolution options (it’s set to HD by default) by tapping that icon in the upper right of the screen.

iPhone video recording mode with cat sitting in a cat tree pictured.
Not a whole lot of action here, but you get the idea. The yellow icon in the upper left indicates that Action mode is engaged.
You’ll find a toggle in the camera settings menu to optimize Action mode for low light, at the expense of some stabilization.

Optimize Action mode for indoors

If you’re indoors, you’ll probably see a warning pop up on the screen that says “more light required.” Action mode is best suited for outdoor use in ample light, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it indoors at all. You can hit Record and use Action mode even when the low light warning appears, though your footage will look very grainy. But there’s a way to optimize Action mode for use in less than stellar lighting conditions.

  • Go to Settings and tap Camera > Record Video.
  • Scroll down and toggle Action Mode Lower Light on.

This will reduce the stabilization effect a bit but will improve video quality in those dim indoor lighting conditions. It helps, but it doesn’t work miracles. In a well-lit room, you’ll see a difference, and you won’t get the low-light warning like you would with this setting turned off, but in very dim light, you’ll still be prompted to find more light. In those conditions, you’re better off just using the standard video mode and stabilization, which is pretty darn good to begin with.

But for recording very intense movement — especially outside — you’ve got another tool at your disposal with Action mode.

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