How to Unlock the Hidden Panorama Mode in iOS 5 Without Jailbreaking

A couple days ago it was discovered that iPhones, iPods, and iPads running iOS 5 have a secret panorama mode that’s hidden in the operating system. The feature can be enabled, but featured either a jailbroken device or knowledge in how to edit a particular iOS 5 preference file. Luckily for non-hackers, Redmond Pie has discovered an easy way to do this by taking advantage of iTune’s backup feature. This tutorial will teach you how to get the panorama feature unlocked in 5-10 minutes.

The basic idea of this trick is to backup your device’s data to your computer, edit a single line in the backup files, and then restore the backup to your device.

Step 1: Backup Your Device in iTunes

You’ll need to back up your iPhone, iPod, or iPad to your computer using iTunes.

Step 2: Download iBackupBot

iBackupBot is a program for Windows and Mac that allows you to view and edit your iTunes backup data. The trial version should work fine.

Step 3: Open Up iBackupBot and Select Your Backup

Open up iBackupBot, and select your latest backup in the left pane.

Step 4: Locate the File

Locate the file named “”. Sort by path to make this easier.

Step 5: Double Click the File to Edit

Double clicking the file will open up an editing screen for the file.

Step 6: Add an Entry to the File

Find the entry that says


and right below it, add this entry:


Click the disk icon to save the file, and exit out of iBackupBot

Step 7: Restore Your Backup

Restore the edited backup data to your device. In iTunes, right click your device, and choose “Restore From Backup”.

Step 8: Take Panoramic Photographs!

You’re done! Open up your camera app, press “Options”, and you should now see a button that says “Panorama”. Press that to enter Panorama mode:

Press the Camera button to begin capturing, and sweep your camera from left to right to fill in the panoramic photo:

Here’s the first panorama I shot (download the full res here). Obviously I need to work on my technique a little):

For whatever reason, Apple chose not to include this Panorama mode by default in the latest version of iOS 5. However, it appears to be a fully developed mode that is definitely fun to play around with.

(via Redmond Pie via Engadget)

  • Mike Heller

    Right now I use MS Photosynth.  It works well, though it would be fun to try this out.  Thanks!

  • Mike Pepin

    If that sample above is a typical result, I know why Apple didn’t enable it by default.  The panorama mode on my Samsung Galaxy S is far superior with almost seamless stitching.  You can see a bit of ghosting around the columns in the attached photo, but that was a worst case scenario for the camera.

    I bet Apple will be fixing the software up in future releases and enable it when it’s ready.

  • steve-o

    it is probably patented by sony since they use a smiliar technique to capture panoramic images.

  • Anonymous

    Couldn’t Apple get Sony’s help implementing Sweep-Panorama? Sony does supply the sensor for iPhone4S.

  • jeffery hoeft

    I enabled this earlier today and I see why they didn’t enable it yet. It’s practically impossible to keep the arrow on the line while sweeping. Failure to do so makes the image very choppy. Like Mike Heller said above, Photosynth is a much better panorama app.

  • Daniel Allen

    I use the ‘AutoStitch’ app on-phone. I wish there were a desktop version; it is extremely smooth and has various resolution and cropping options. It works on selected photos on your camera roll. is one example; I can’t even tell you where the seam is… it’s at least two photos. is 8? photos, with visible seams because of different light levels.

  • Paz

    Am I missing something? iBackupBot does not seem to be free. There’s a free trial version but it doesn’t let you edit the XML.

  • Michael Zhang

    Ah, you’re right. It’s not a free program, but the trial version SHOULD allow you to edit and save the XML. It worked for us.

  • Paz

    thanks! When I try to edit the XML I only get a window with tiny text (by that I mean microscopic and actually completely illegible). It looks like that’s a limitation of the trial version?

  • MarcosValdes


  • Chantal

    It took my iPhone 4 eighteen hours to update and I only updated for the panoramic camera and it doesn’t work! There’s no option to do it I’m so pissed :( someone help

  • Frank

    i did every thinking step by step but i couldnt find panorama in option. plz reply :(