iPhone time lapse calculator

On a previous post we’ve talked in great detail all about the iPhone time-lapse camera feature, covering basically everything you should know about it. But there’s a very interesting topic worth covering and explaining, and that’s how long the timelapses recorded on iPhone end up being. To save you the hassle of doing any manual calculations, we’ve gone ahead and created this nifty iPhone time-lapse calculator.

iPhone Timelapse Length
Seconds Between Each Frame (Interval)
Speed Relative to Real Time
3 total real-time minutes recorded

Play with the slider to see how the time-lapse changes!

How long are time-lapses on iPhone

All time-lapses on iPhone are engineered to yield a final video of a length between 20 and 40 seconds, regardless of how much real video you recorded.

Apple does this using a very smart and simple mechanism that automatically updates the time-lapse recording settings depending on how much time the device had been recording.

The default initial iPhone time-lapse settings are the following:

Interval (seconds between each shot)0.5
FPS (Frames Per Second)30

So the iPhone starts recording taking 2 frames per second, which later stitches together at 30 FPS.

How the iPhone automatically adjusts the time-lapse recording settings

The magic happens as the iPhone starts recording minutes of real time events. For the first 10 minutes, it keeps these settings. But after these 10 minutes, it doubles the interval (the amount seconds it waits between taking every shot) and deletes half of the already taken images, so it’s as if it had been recording at this new interval since the beginning.

The iPhone automatically does this process every 10 minutes, which results in final time-lapse videos that are always between 30 and 40 seconds in length.

That’s why we can’t accurately calculate how much real time had passed just by looking at a final iPhone time-lapse video: because at least half the pictures that made it up were likely “deleted” in the process of making it.

To better understand how this process work, try playing with the calculator at the beginning of the post. Here’s also a table that covers some sample iPhone time-lapse resulting video length:

Real time recordedFinal iPhone time-lapse video lengthInterval usedFPS
5 minutes20 seconds0.5s30
10 minutes20 seconds1s30
15 minutes30 seconds1.5s30
30 minutes30 seconds2s30
60 minutes34 seconds3.5s30
90 minutes36 seconds5s30

So that’s how long iPhone time-lapses are depending on how much real time has passed and the settings the iPhone automatically uses for the recording.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.