iPhone Camera Not Focusing? Here’s How to Fix It

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Is your iPhone failing to focus properly? Here’s what to try if you’re having issues with your iPhone camera not focusing.

You can’t believe it. You’ve just bumped into a major celebrity; someone you completely idolize. They kindly agree to a selfie. You thank your lucky stars for bringing your selfie stick with you, take the shot, and thank them for their time.

It’s only when your hero has left that you look at the photo and realize that it’s a beautiful shot of the random guy in the background, with you and your hero completely out of focus. No one’s going to believe you really met them.

Usually, your iPhone will do a good job of capturing your shots with the main subjects in focus. However, sometimes, things can go wrong, and the focus on your iPhone can stop working as it should. Here’s what to try if you’re having issues with your iPhone camera not focusing.

Clean Your Lens

Your iPhone camera may not be focusing properly because you have dirt or debris on your camera lens. Try carefully cleaning the lenses of your iPhone camera using a soft microfiber cloth. Be careful not to rub too hard; if the lens appears quite grubby, you can use a slightly damp cloth but don’t use any cleaning products.

Once you’ve cleaned the lenses, try using your iPhone camera again to see if the focusing issues have been fixed.

Manually Focus With a Tap

If you’re trying to focus on a specific object when taking an iPhone photo, you can tap the screen to select the object to focus on. As long as the object is not too close to your camera, your iPhone should focus on the object you select.

  1. Frame the shot you want to take.
  2. On your iPhone screen, tap the object you want to focus on.
  3. A yellow box should appear around the object indicating that it is the object being focused on.
    iphone camera focus yellow box
  4. Try not to move your iPhone, as it may select a different object to focus on.
  5. You can also change the exposure levels for your photo by sliding up and down on the Sun icon next to the yellow focus box.
    iphone camera exposure control
  6. Tap the Shutter button to take your photo, and the object you selected should be in focus.

Check the Focus Lock

When you tap the screen to focus on an object, your iPhone may change focus to a different object if you move your phone, or if another object enters the frame. This can cause your photos to appear out of focus, as the focus changes from the object you want to be in focus to a different part of the image.

Your iPhone camera has a focus lock feature that allows you to lock focus onto a specific object. Even if other objects enter the frame, or you move your iPhone, the focus distance will remain unchanged. This feature also locks the iPhone camera exposure.

Conversely, if the focus lock is on accidentally, it may stop you from being able to focus on the object that you want to focus on. If you’re unable to focus on the object you want, check to make sure that the focus lock isn’t already on.

  1. Frame your photo.
  2. On your iPhone screen, tap and hold the object you want to focus on.
  3. At the top of the screen, AE/AF LOCK should appear in yellow, indicating that focus (and exposure) are locked.
    iphone camera AE/AF lock
  4. To turn off focus lock, tap any other part of the viewfinder image.
  5. The AE/AF LOCK icon should now disappear.

Force Close the Camera App

If focus isn’t working on your iPhone, you can try closing the Camera app and opening it again. This may clear any software issues that are stopping your camera from focusing properly.

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone screen to the center, keeping your finger on the screen.
  2. When you see the edge of an app appear on the left-hand side of your iPhone, release the screen and the app switcher will appear.
    iphone app switcher apps appearing at edge of screen
  3. Swipe through the open apps until you find the Camera app.
  4. Swipe the Camera app straight up to close it.
    iphone app switcher swiping up app to close it
  5. Open the Camera app again to see if it will now focus correctly.

Remove Your iPhone Case

Some users have found that their iPhone cases can cause problems with focusing. It may be that your iPhone case partially obscures your iPhone camera lenses and causes issues with focusing.

Try removing your case from your iPhone to see if you can focus correctly with the case removed.

Try a Different Camera App

A simple way to check if the problem with your iPhone not focusing is a hardware or a software issue is to try a different camera app. If you’re unable to focus using a different app, then the problem is probably a hardware issue.

However, if the problem is a software issue, then you should still be able to focus correctly using the alternative camera app. You can find other free camera apps in the App Store.

Restart Your iPhone

If the problem is software, then you can try restarting your iPhone. This may fix any software issues that are stopping your iPhone from focusing properly.

  1. Press and hold the Side button and Volume Up or Volume Down button on your iPhone.
  2. Swipe the Slide to Power Off slider to the right.
    iPhone or iPad Screen Not Rotating
  3. Your iPhone will shut down.
  4. When complete, press and hold the Side button again until the Apple logo appears.
  5. Once your iPhone has restarted, try your camera again.

Check For Updates

When bugs are found in the iOS software, Apple will release updates to patch these bugs. If your iPhone camera isn’t focusing, you can try updating to the latest version of iOS to see if this fixes the problem.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Select General.
    iphone general settings
  3. Tap Software Update.
    iphone software update
  4. If an update is available, tap Download and Install.
  5. Once the update process has completed, try your iPhone camera again.

Restore to Factory Settings

If nothing else works, you can restore your iPhone to factory settings. Some users who have experienced problems with their iPhone camera not focusing have found that this has fixed the issue, at least temporarily. It’s definitely something to try as a last resort, however, as this will remove all your data from your iPhone. You should backup your iPhone first so that you can restore everything again if you need to.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
    iphone general settings
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap Transfer or Reset iPhone.
    iphone transfer or reset iphone
  4. Select Erase All Content & Settings.
    iphone erase all
  5. Enter your passcode or Apple ID password if prompted.
  6. Tap Continue to confirm.
    iphone continue
  7. Your iPhone will be restored to factory settings.
  8. Set up your iPhone again and see if your camera focus is now working.

Contact Apple Support

If nothing works, the problem may be with your iPhone hardware. You should contact Apple Support as you may need to replace the camera module in your iPhone. Depending on the age of your iPhone and whether or not you have Apple Care, you may need to pay for this repair.

Fixing Problems with Your iPhone Camera Not Focusing

Having problems with your iPhone camera not focusing can ruin your iPhone photos. Hopefully one of the fixes above has solved your issues. If you find any other useful fixes that worked for you, then please let us know in the comments.

Your iPhone camera is a delicate piece of equipment. If the lenses get knocked or scratched, it can stop your camera from taking the high-quality images that it’s capable of. That’s why it’s always a good idea to try not to touch the camera lenses, and to take care not to drop your iPhone. A good quality case can also offer additional protection.

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