If you were unaware, the OnePlus 8 Pro has a neat hidden trick up its sleeve that can mimic a basic X-ray thanks to the Color Filter camera.

The option was first spotted by fans over on Reddit, and has since spread on social media. This nifty hidden trick works because the Color Filter camera found on the OnePlus 8 Pro is capable of processing infrared light to add in-camera effects. Because infrared light can penetrate materials like thin plastics that don’t have IR shielding, you can more or less see through some materials — no, you can’t see through clothes.

[Update 2. 05/19]: We’ve now got confirmation that OnePlus is set to disable the Color Filter lens in a future dedicated OTA update, as confirmed in a statement over on the official OnePlus forums. The fact that the Photochrom filter can effectively make certain materials see-through is undoubtedly a big concern.

Hi friends,

Over the last few days, there has been a lot of discussion about the capabilities of the color filter camera on the OnePlus 8 Pro. Many users and media have talked about the unique photos you can take with it, but some have also raised questions about its capabilities to see through certain materials.

While we think this camera gives users the ability to get more creative with smartphone photography, we also understand the concerns that have been raised. Therefore, we are already working on an OTA that we’ll push out in the coming weeks to offer the Photochrom filter while limiting other functionality that may be of concern.

We decided to temporarily disable this filter on HydrogenOS out of an abundance of caution about some false and misleading information circulating on social media in China. However, we do not plan to disable this filter on OxygenOS, our global operating system, so we can focus on bringing the OTA to you as quickly as possible.

Thanks to all of you for your patience and understanding, and for the faith our community has shown us over the years.

Yours, David

[Update 1. 05/19]: OnePlus has confirmed on their official Weibo channel that the Color Filter lens is set to be disabled due to “privacy concerns” over the ability to see through items — and potentially some clothing. The update is expected to hit a stable build of the China-only HydrogenOS, but it’s highly likely that we’ll see the Color Filter lens disabled with a future OxygenOS build.

While it will be disabled, this move will only be temporary. OnePlus is set to tweak the settings to help prevent the X-ray effect, which will reduce any recently exposed privacy concerns. For those enjoying the ability to see through their electronics and household goods, sorry to disappoint but this is probably for the best should it be used for nefarious purposes at any point.

Considering that the Color Filter 5-megapixel sensor is a little low resolution, we’re sure you can live without it for a little while until this all gets resolved. Maybe we’ll see OnePlus add some more post-processing effects because they are a little limited at the moment.

It might not be a core selling feature of the OnePlus 8 Pro, but the Color Filter lens, therefore, might help waste a little time during the current COVID-19 lockdowns. Some have reported that you can see through more than just plastic, with liquids like Coca-Cola and red wine being prime examples. You can see an example of scanning through a Nintendo Switch Pro controller in the video below:

OnePlus isn’t the first firm to add the tech to their smartphones. IR blasters have been in devices for quite a while, and rely on the same tech. Even the Pixel 4 uses infrared as part of the 3D Face Unlock for biometric security.

While the effect is no doubt neat, this is a really low-quality addition that really is only fun for a few minutes. Is it a gimmick? Most certainly, but it’s one that might keep you occupied for a little while during a period when staying occupied is definitely a must. If you’ve been using the Color Filter lens on your OnePlus 8 Pro, let us know some of the coolest things you’ve been “looking in to” down below.

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Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email: damien@9to5mac.com

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