OnePlus is working on an update for the OnePlus 8 Pro smartphone that disables the 5MP ‘color filter’ camera (AKA infrared camera), after people discovered that this camera could see through some materials like thin plastic and, in some very specific cases, clothing.
The update was obviously prompted by backlash from users who were afraid the camera might be able to see through some clothing. A test by Unbox Therapy showed that it could indeed do this, but only in very specific and unrealistic circumstances—it might be able to show what you’re holding underneath a black shirt if you stretch it tightly enough over the box, but that’s about it.
You can see that test for yourself below:
News of the forthcoming update was posted on Weibo first, before being picked up by Ben Geskin on Twitter. It is apparently being released out of an abundance of caution, “In order to eliminate the impact on users privacy under possible extreme circumstances and eliminate everyone’s concerns.”
But as Geskin writes, the update feels like an overreaction based largely on unfounded concerns. The 8 Pro’s infrared camera and ‘photochrome’ filter mode was a neat differentiator that is, at least temporarily, being intentionally bricked.
Today @OnePlus decided to temporarily disable the ‘Color Filter’ camera functionality through software update in the coming week.
In order to eliminate the impact on users privacy under possible extreme circumstances and eliminate everyone’s concerns.https://t.co/uk3gn9iXvU
— Ben Geskin (@BenGeskin) May 19, 2020
OnePlus describes the update as “temporary,” but it remains to be seen if and when the IR camera is reactivated. For now, if you own a OnePlus 8 Pro, expect the Photochrome filter to disappear from your Camera App sometime this week.