Sustainability of Digital Formats: Planning for Library of Congress Collections

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Apple ProRAW

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Format Description Properties Explanation of format description terms

Identification and description Explanation of format description terms

Full name Apple ProRAW
Description

Apple ProRAW is a still image format introduced in 2020 with the release of Apple's iPhone 12 series and iOS 16.0.3. Apple ProRAW files are raw Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6 files with specific settings applied and store additional metadata. ProRAW files are built from multiple image frames.

Apple, Inc. announced and described the format on Apple Support Communities on December 14, 2020 for use on iPhone 12 Pro and later Pro models with iOS 14.3 or later. Apple, Inc. describes the format as a combination of the information of a standard RAW format along with iPhone image processing. On iPhone 14 Pro, Apple ProRAW images can be captured at two resolutions: 12 megapixels (approximately 25MB in size) or 48 megapixels (approximately 75MB).

Like DNG 1.6, ProRAW files have the DNG file extension. When editing and sharing the photo using the iOS Photos app, the photo will be a JPEG and have the JPG file extension. At and around the time of release, Apple ProRAW is not enabled on iOS by default, but it can be configured in the phone settings.

ProRAW incorporates the following DNG 1.6 features:

  • Demosaiced: ProRAW stores results of computational photography pixel values after the demosaiced step, inside the file. Since ProRAW has already done the demosaicing step, it is technically not a RAW file.
  • Profile Gain Table Map (link via Internet Archive): Apple worked with Adobe to introduce this new tag. As described by Lux, "this data gives your editor everything it needs to know to tone map your photo image and end up with results identical to the first party camera. Because it's separate data, you can turn down its strength, or turn it off completely."
  • "Deep Fusion": ProRAW files are processed using machine learning that "do pixel-by-pixel processing of photos, optimizing for texture, details and noise in every part of the photo."
  • " Semantic Masks" (link via Internet Archive): This is used for image segmentation, allowing masks (images) to be stored in the file. Files can store multiple masks. These masks can be used on faces or create background blur.

For more differences in DNG 1.6 compared to previous versions, see Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6.

Production phase Intended for middle state and end-user state.
Relationship to other formats
    May contain CAM_RAW, Camera Raw Formats (Group Description)
    Extension of DNG_1_6, Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6. ProRAW files are based on DNG Version 1.6. Adobe released the 1.6 specification the same day ProRAW went into public beta.
    Has extension ProRAW Max. As of April 2024, Apple iPhone 14 Pro and later Pro models with iOS 17 offer a higher-resolution version of ProRAW, ProRAW Max. ProRAW Max are only available on iPhone Pro models. Not described separately at this time.

Local use Explanation of format description terms

LC experience or existing holdings None.
LC preference See the Library of Congress Recommended Formats Statement for format preferences for still image works.

Sustainability factors Explanation of format description terms

Disclosure Little to no documentation with technical details on ProRAW files. ProRAW files are standard Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6 files that use a few specific features and tags.
    Documentation

Apple, Inc. announced and described the format at "About Apple ProRAW" on Apple Support Communities on December 14, 2020.

Apple Developer Documentation: "Capturing Photos in RAW and Apple ProRAW Formats".

See Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6.

Adoption Used in iPhone 12 Pro and later Pro models with iOS 14.3 or later.
    Licensing and patents See Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6.
Transparency See Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6.
Self-documentation See Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6. In addition to DNG 1.6, ProRAW files include metadata specific to Apple's computational photography features (link via Internet Archive).
External dependencies ProRAW files can be used outside of the iOS environment but may render differently. The exact details of Apple, Inc.'s machine learning elements are likely obfuscated. An exact replication of usage depends on Apple hardware and software. Comments welcome.
Technical protection considerations None.

Quality and functionality factors Explanation of format description terms

Still Image
Normal rendering The expectation is that ProRAW files are opened, edited and extracted from iPhones running iOS 12 and above. See also: Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6.
Clarity (high image resolution) See Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6.
Color maintenance See Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6.
Support for vector graphics, including graphic effects and typography See Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6.
Support for multispectral bands See Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6.
Functionality beyond normal rendering See Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6.

File type signifiers and format identifiers Explanation of format description terms

Tag Value Note
Filename extension See related format.  See Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6.
Internet Media Type See related format.  See Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6.
Magic numbers See related format.  See Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6.
Pronom PUID See related format.  See Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6.
Wikidata Title ID See related format.  See Adobe Digital Negative (DNG), Version 1.6.

Notes Explanation of format description terms

General  
History  

Format specifications Explanation of format description terms


Useful references

URLs


Last Updated: 04/09/2024