(Pocket-lint) – Apple announced a feature called Center Stage at an event in April 2021. The camera feature allows you to go hands-free and multitask during a video call because it’ll track you and keep you in the shot the entire time. 

Here is everything you need to know about Center Stage including how it works, what it does, and which devices it is available on. 

What is Center Stage and how does it work?

Center Stage uses the front 12-megapixel ultra-wide TrueDepth camera on compatible devices, along with machine learning technology, to recognise a user and keep them in centre view. It means that as you move around during a video call on a compatible device, the Center Stage feature will automatically pan the camera to keep you in the shot. 

If others hop into the video call, Center Stage recognises them too and zooms out to fit everyone into the view – similar to the technology offered by Facebook Portal and the Amazon Echo Show 10. It’s worth noting that the feature doesn’t work on pets, only humans.

Want to see a demo of Center Stage?

Check out Apple’s Spring Loaded event video below. It should start at the 46:11 mark – when the Center Stage portion begins.

Apple imagines the feature being useful during white-boarding sessions with coworkers or family get-togethers or, as shown in a demo video during its Spring Loaded event, it could be used while you’re cooking and on a video call. The idea is, with Center Stage, your video calls should be more engaging.

Does Center Stage only work with FaceTime?

No. Apple has said that it will work with third-party apps like Zoom and Webex, as well as FaceTime, and there is an API for other apps to offer compatibility with the feature.

AppleHow Apple's Center Stage camera feature works on the iPad Pro photo 4

How to turn on Center Stage

Follow these steps to use Center Stage:

  1. In a FaceTime call, or when using video in a compatible app, open Control Center.
  2. Swipe down from the top-right edge of your screen.
  3. Tap the Video Effects button.
  4. Tap the Center Stage button (person in a frame icon) to turn it on or off.

You can also control Center Stage during a FaceTime call by tapping the video thumbnail of yourself, then tapping the Center Stage button (person in a frame icon).

Which devices support Center Stage?

At launch, Center Stage was exclusive to the 2021 iPad Pro, as the device had Apple’s then-new 12-megapixel ultra-wide TrueDepth camera. Apple announced the iPad mini (2021) and the 9th generation of the standard iPad during an event in September 2021, both of which feature the TrueDepth camera required for Center Stage and both of which offer the feature.

The list of compatible devices that support Center Stage are therefore as follows:

Apple has confirmed it doesn’t work with the thin M1 iMac also launched at the April 2021 Spring Loaded event. 

Writing by Maggie Tillman and Stuart Miles.

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