I am going to make this a shorter post about why I don’t trust Halide and have stopped using the app, shorter because I’ll never get around to writing it otherwise but understand it’s based on years of experience on a few different iPhones, most recently on an iPhone 13 Pro with the latest iOS updates and Halide version at the time. So this is a hot take of sorts, but I have considered it more over the last few weeks so hopefully, it doesn’t come across just as a rant.
I have previously written about Halide here:
Is Halide worth it?
Halide Macro Mode First Look
Firstly, I loved Halide, I have had the app for a long time, but now the app just freaks me out. I should add my use case may be different and of course, your mileage may vary. I didn’t use Halide as a replacement camera app, more as a ProRAW, manual mode and macro camera to supplement the native camera. I liked almost everything about Halide, the horizon straightening guideline thingy with haptics is super, nothing really gets in the way, manual focus works very well, the macro feature was an intriguing addition though I favoured the native app more recently now it has better Macro mode control for when it appears or doesn’t.
At this point, I should add I don’t have a subscription to Halide as I was an original customer, where Halide gave complimentary updates for a time with the mark ii launch, which has since lapsed. I would invest in Halide if I had reasons to believe these issues were resolved, probably if I was to get a new iPhone, I’d consider it as a part of the overall cost and use the one-off purchase option, I’d see it that way I think if it stays at its current price. Doesn’t seem much point mid-cycle if you will. I just used the one-off purchase option with Darkroom, which is about the same price.
So what went wrong? Very simply the Halide app is buggy, it was on my iPhone 11 and it only seems to have got worse on the iPhone 13 Pro. This I know Halide have tried to address, I read release notes, blogs and Twitter threads on occasion, so I know it’s not for a want of trying but enough, the app really slows down at times, processing captured images, almost seemingly getting stuck and with difficulties saving images. Image rescue is a mess for me, its existence is a testament to how unreliable the app is, now you can blame Apple all you want if it is something to do with them but I don’t get this experience with any app. I had even started using the Halide app with kid gloves so to speak, taking photos more slowly, giving it a chance to catch up but it didn’t help. Does this happen every time? No, but it happens enough that it takes me out of the creative process and I can’t use the app anymore. I understand ProRAW are massive files with lots going on but using an app like Reeflex Pro I don’t seem to have any of these issues taking ProRAW shots, though I have only taken around 40 shots with it so far.
The tipping point and this is where it gets weird, is I think related to Halide, I have had this more than once, where Halide is misbehaving and it seems to do something to my camera roll, where mysteriously old images, are saved again and appears amongst new images I am taking. It is very disconcerting, these appear to be duplicates and the last time this happened a hundred images came out of nowhere, for no reason. That’s not great, what sort of bug is that, I have no idea but amongst everything else I have experienced, I’m done with Halide.
If I get an iPhone 14/15 I might give it another chance, I presume many Halide users don’t have these issues but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating when it does occur. So Reeflex Pro Camera is my current recommendation for an alternative camera app on iPhone and I’ll be scrutinising it similarly, especially for reliability and performance. I'll report back if I can with the results! Thanks for reading if you made it this far.