How To Turn Off HDR on the Moto X 2014

The modern smartphone isn’t just a way to get your emails away from the office or watch television shows in places other than your living room. Smartphones like the Moto X 2014 are also intended as replacements for more complicated point-and-shoot cameras. HDR is one of the ways the latest smartphones achieve that goal.

The Moto X 2014 includes a ton of features for picture lovers. Hardware-wise there’s a rear-facing 13 megapixel camera that allows users to record high definition video and take pictures. When it’s needed, users can adjust the camera’s settings so that the pictures they take are widescreen with a 9 megapixel resolution or full-screen 13 megapixel picture. The camera on the rear is surrounded by a flash ring that’s intended to make taking pictures with flash less harsh on whatever is in the picture. These are all great things, but the Moto X 2014’s camera software does something it probably shouldn’t with HDR.



By default, the Moto X 2014 just turns on HDR. HDR is a short way of referring to High-Dynamic Range technology. HDR on the Moto X 2014 brightens up parts of an image to provide picture takers with a bigger difference in tone. When HDR turns itself on automatically, you can end up with a photo that looks spectacular, even though you didn’t do a lot of work to get it there. The picture below was taken with HDR on.



Sometimes, you can also end up with photos that just don’t look the way you want them too. The picture below was taken with HDR off.



Here’s how to turn off automatic HDR on the Moto X 2014, so that you can decide when to use the technology on your photos and when not too.

Press the power button on the side of your Moto X 2014. Then enter your PIN code or pattern. If you don’t have either of these options set then just slide your finger across the bottom of your device to unlock it. You can skip the next few settings by holding the Moto X in one hand and twisting your wrist clockwise or counterclockwise.

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Now look for the Camera app. It’s the icon represented by a camera in our screenshot at the bottom right corner. Depending on whether you’ve customized your Moto X home screen you might find that the Camera app isn’t immediately accessible from here. If you don’t see the Camera app, tap the button in the middle of your screen above the home button to open the app drawer.

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Now slide your finger from left to right to find the Camera app in the app drawer. The Moto X 2014 organizes apps in the app drawer in alphabetical order. As such, look for the Camera app with other apps that start with C.

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Welcome to the Camera app. Turn your Moto X 2014 in landscape so that bottom and top edges of the screen are facing your palms.


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Now take a left finger and place it on the left edge of your Moto X 2014 screen. Now slide your finger toward the right side of your screen. This should bring up the settings wheel in the camera app.

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With the settings wheel open, tap on the AHDR button in the top-left corner of the settings wheel to bring up the HDR settings menu. By default HDR is set to auto on the Moto X 2014. Tap Off to kill the setting once and for all.


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There you go, you’ve successfully turned of HDR on the Moto X 2014. To be clear, you can go back and forth between the settings here anytime. Say one day you decide that you want to turn automatic HDR back on. Come back to the settings wheel in the camera app to do so. You can change the setting permanently so that any photo you cake will use HDR effects.

You can change a lot of effects after you’ve taken a photo with the Moto X 2014, but HDR isn’t one of them. As such, really think hard about whether you want to disable HDR’s automatic setting. Sometimes it may ruin photos, but I’ve had more than a few pictures that came out much better because the Moto X 2014 turned on the HDR effects without me thinking about it. Automatic settings are key, because the Moto X 2014 was designed to take the guess work out of something like taking a photo with effects.

This tutorial is meant for the Moto X 2014, but the older Moto X’s camera software works in the same way. That means you can use the settings wheel to turn off things you don’t like on that device too. The Camera software is also identical to what users get on the Moto G 2014.