How Large Can You Print iPhone Photos?

Update: Dec. 10, 2019

Since the publication of this post, Apple has delivered its latest models, the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. So how do these compare when it comes to print sizes? Let’s take a look!

All three models include rear 12MP cameras.  iPhone 11 offers two rear cameras (an ultra wide angle and a wide 26mm.)  The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max offer these same rear lenses, plus a third lens that’s an equivalent to a 52mm lens on a full-frame camera. 

While the big difference between these models is the third rear camera, the 12MP sensor isn’t much of an upgrade from the previous iPhone X series, 8, 7 series, and 6 series.

This means you’ll be able to print a photo that’s at least 14.29 x 9.49 inches at 200 ppi. At best quality, you’ll get a print up to 21.44 x 14.24 inches at 200ppi. Probably not good enough for a photo exhibition but suitable for at home prints and small wall displays.

Camera specs: 

iPhone 11

iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro Max

Dual 12MP wide/ultra wide f/1.8, f/2.4

Triple 12MP wide/ultra-wide/telefoto f/1.8, f/2.4, f/2.0

Triple 12MP wide/ultra-wide/telefoto f/1.8, f/2.4, f/2.0

Original Post:

Are iPhone photos good enough quality to print?

The answer might surprise you…

Now that a large majority of the population have smartphones in their pockets, people have ditched the traditional camera and instead are shooting photos through the camera their phone possesses. With this new evolution of photography, comes the question are iPhone photos good enough quality to print?  

My friends ask me all the time how large they can print their iPhone photos.

I even have people asking me if I can print my iPhone landscape shots for them on a canvas.

I have to be honest before I did research for this post, I honestly didn’t really know the answer.

Just like you, I mostly use my iPhone photos online.

Of course, like most people, I printed 4×6 prints for family at Christmas and other events, but the question of how large can you realistically print the photos before you start losing quality remained.

I decided to dig in, do some research, and create this resource for myself and my fellow photographers to grab when they want to print photos of their iPhones.

Resolution and Pixels Per Inch

Unless you understand resolution and pixels, the chart is going to just seem like a bunch of numbers. In order to fully understand what the chart is saying, you need to understand how pixels and resolution affect the quality of an image.

When it comes to resolution in a photograph, we talk about pixels.

Specifically, how many pixels per inch are in the photograph. Pixels are the tiny dots of information and color that make up the photograph.

The more pixels per inch you have in your photograph, the higher the resolution the photograph will be. When talking about resolution, we are referencing how focus sharp the image is.

So how do pixels and resolution affect the quality of your photo?

The higher the pixels you have means the higher the resolution of a photograph you have right?

Well, the higher the resolution your photo is, the larger the photo can be printed. When you have a higher resolution, your photo can be printed larger without the image looking soft and pixelated. When it comes to printing photos, the higher pixels per inch you have, the better.

iPhones and Photo Resolution

As time has progressed, so has the iPhone and its camera. Older iPhones have cameras with a lower amount of megapixels while new iPhones have cameras with a larger amount of megapixels.

The larger the megapixels your phone camera has, the larger number of pixels per inch your photograph will have. So, the newer the iPhone, the larger amount of pixels per inch, and the higher resolution of your photo.

Now that we have gone over pixels, resolution, and iPhone cameras, lets’ go over the sizes of photos you can print from your iPhone.

Recommended iPhone Photo Print Sizes and Resolutions

HOW TO USE THE CHART:

The qualities of the photographs are broken down into 3 types, Good, Better, and Best. For instance, if you are shooting an iPhone 10, the largest recommended size you can print for “Better Quality” is at a 21.44” x 14.24”.

This means you could print a full resolution iPhone photo at a typical 8″ x 10″ or 11″x 14″ (and probably larger) with no problems. Check out the chart below for more specific sizes and resolutions.

The later models like the iPhone X series, 8, 7 series, and 6s Plus, and 6s come with 12 MP cameras.  That’s why these models offer better resolution when it comes to printing photos.

At good quality with a 12 MP camera, your photos can be printed close to 30×19 inches, at better quality, you’ll get a quality print at 21×14 inches, with the best quality giving you a print size of 14×9 inches.

Note: these numbers and recommendations are based on full quality iPhone photos that have not been reduced in size.

It is important to remember that if you shoot at a lower quality or edit in a third party app like Instagram, it may not be saving the full resolution image and therefore the sizes above are not relevant.

The same goes for if you crop the original photo. Cropping the photo down reduces the size and resolution of the original image.

App Recommendation:

For taking photos I suggest you shoot with Camera+ (in this app you are able to control aperture, ISO, and shutter speed too) at full resolution or the native Camera App.

For editing I recommend Adobe Lightroom CC or editing in 3rd party apps like Snapseed or VSCOcam.

Do you have a mirrorless or DSLR camera?

I have a free training called “Show Your Camera Who's Boss” that I'd like to invite you to while it's still available. 

 

12 thoughts on “How Large Can You Print iPhone Photos?”

  1. Please check your print size chart… It is saying that low quality 150dpi can print 16x20s while high quality 300dpi can print 8x10s max.

    1. No – it’s saying that a 16×20 photo from an 8mp camera will have “good quality” – if you want “best quality” you’ll need to keep print sizes around 8×10.

  2. A camera phone in general shouldn’t be used if your printing anything larger than a A4 sheet of people. Even than it’s just okay. The problem isn’t the mega-pixels but the size of the sensor. It’s why I still carry around a Panasonic LUMIX DMC-CM1, the only phone on the market with a proper camera module that contains a 1″ 20MP sensor, the pictures are not only incredible but I can even print out posters without any Pixelization. The phone specs are still more than adequate for my needs, Qualcomm 801, 2GB RAM, 1080P 4.7″ display, ~469 ppi pixel density. If you can find one I highly recommend grabbing one. Even the Nokia 808 Pureview is still a fantastic shooter.

  3. My wife Took pictures in cave..onher iphone On the bottom I could see the outline of the people on the tour….. I guess the flash and darkness.. And it’s a crystal cave… On the bottom it looked like people doing crazy things.. Am I seeing things…i did blow them up and u still saw crazy things… It’s destroying my marriage…. It looked like they were hugging and kissing…. I have the photos and she still has them on her computer.. Help me… Please I will send you whatever you needvjust need to know…. I owe an apology or getting a divorce…. Help me out please… Thanks kevin

  4. Hello, not sure where to ask this question. I have a panoramic shot taken with an iPhoneX that I would like to have enlarged as much as possible, printed and framed. Do you do this or can you
    recommend a site where I could have it done. Thank you.

  5. I have a iPhone XR. Went to Italy with my Canon Full frame and someone said to me why not use my iPhone. I am a photographer and sell my work so didn’t think of using the iPhone. I decided to give it a try and do a panorama in Positano. I print all my own canvases and prints. When I got home I was able to print a 40″ x 12′ panorama canvases that was spot on with the clarity. I ended up selling 10 of the canvases. I am thinking of getting the 11 pro now .

  6. Very helpful, thank you! Any suggestions on where to print 30×19 iPhone photos?
    Obviously that will affect final image quality as well.
    Thanks again!

    1. David Molnar - Your Photography Mentor

      You could reach out to some of the professional labs and see what they offer. Miller labs is a big company a lot of photographers use. Quality might be in jeopardy at that size, yes, I agree.

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