iPhone Camera Not Focusing: 11 Quick Fix Methods

When people think of the iPhone, they often think about its iconic design, intuitive user interface, and revolutionary camera technology. The camera, in particular, is a defining feature of Apple’s flagship product. It offers users unprecedented control over the focus and depth of field when taking pictures.  

However, many users have recently complained about their iPhone camera not focusing. These are owners of models ranging from the iPhone 12 Pro Max/iPhone 12 to the iPhone 11/X/8/7/6. 

iPhone camera not focusing - featured image

They reported issues regarding its auto-focusing capabilities. Some say their iPhone cameras won’t focus close up or are not focusing at all. 

To get to the bottom of this issue, we’re taking a deep dive into the reasons why your iPhone camera is out of focus. We will also present some useful methods for fixing it. 

How Does Your iPhone’s Autofocus System Work?

The iPhone camera’s autofocus system works by using a combination of image processing algorithms and sensors. 

When the camera is pointed at a subject, the algorithm measures how much light is entering through each lens. It then translates this information into instructions for the focusing motor. The motor then moves either one of the lenses forward or backward in order to direct the focus to its desired point. 

In addition, you can take advantage of “Focus Pixels” on newer models of iPhones. This is Apple’s brand name for Phase Detection Auto-Focus Software. It helps users take sharper images by providing more precise focusing capabilities on things like facial recognition, skin tones, and macro photography. 

Focus Pixels utilizes dual photodiodes which detect changes in light faster than traditional methods. It can also help improve accuracy when shooting both stills and videos.

What Does it Mean When an iPhone Camera Won’t Focus?

When your iPhone’s camera is not focusing, it usually means that the autofocus feature is either not enabled or doesn’t have a clear view of the subject. Let’s explore the potential causes that can throw your iPhone camera out of focus:

1. Autofocus is not enabled 

This can cause issues with the environment interfering with the image processing algorithms. Objects present in the environment can block light from entering the lens. This can result in an inaccurate focus on the subject and the incorrect processing of the information needed to create a stunning photograph.

2. Issues with the physical components of the camera 

Dirt or debris may be blocking light from entering the lens. If you handle your iPhone a lot, there may be finger smudges on the camera lens from the oils on your skin.

3. Night mode is not enabled

If you’re shooting at night and you don’t have night mode turned on, then the low light levels could be causing your iPhone’s camera to struggle with taking a clean, and crisp image.

4. Possible software or hardware issues

There may also be software or hardware issues with the camera that are preventing it from accurately focusing on its subject.

But, what happens when your iPhone’s camera won’t focus, and you’re stuck? It’s time to troubleshoot to see if you can lock down the cause and resolve it, without taking it to Apple Support. 

11 Methods to Fix the iPhone Camera Not Focusing Issue

Having an iPhone camera that’s not focusing can be frustrating. It prevents you from capturing images with the desired clarity and sharpness. Or, you won’t be able to take any photos at all if the problem is quite severe. 

With this said, make sure that you’re maintaining a good distance from the object you want to focus on. Also, try switching from the default 1x (wide) to the 0.5x (ultra wide) camera to reset the app and bring the camera into focus. If these don’t work, try the following solutions:

1. Take Off Your iPhone Case

Taking off your iPhone case may help fix a camera that’s not focusing. Sometimes, phone cases can block the lens and limit its ability to focus properly. 

remove iPhone case

Taking off the case is an easy way to make sure that there is nothing blocking the lens and interfering with the camera’s ability to focus. Additionally, phone cases can accumulate dust and dirt that can fog up the aperture. It’s definitely worth a try if your iPhone’s autofocus isn’t working. 

2. Clean the Camera Lens

Cleaning the camera lens is another simple but effective way to fix an iPhone camera not focusing properly. Dust, dirt, and other substances can accumulate on the lens. This prevents the camera from being able to focus correctly. 

It’s important to make sure that you use a dry cloth that won’t scratch the lens when cleaning your camera. You don’t want to accidentally cause any irreversible damage to your device. 

clean iPhone camera lenses

You can also try the “top-tap” method which is another potential solution for fixing an iPhone camera that won’t focus. To do this, simply tap the top of your phone to dislodge any dust or debris that may be blocking the lens from properly focusing. 

3. Force Restart the Camera App

Force restarting the camera app can be another effective way to get your iPhone’s camera back on track.

force restart your iPhone camera

To do this, simply double-tap the home button and then swipe up on the camera app to force quit it. Then, open up the camera again and see if that helps with the focusing issue. 

4. Restart Your iPhone

If forcing the camera app to restart hasn’t fixed the iPhone’s camera from not focusing, then you may want to try doing a complete restart of your iPhone. There are a few ways you can do this depending on the model of your iPhone:

  1. On older models of iPhone like the 5/6/7, press and hold the power button until you see the option to slide to power off.
  2. On newer models like the iPhone 14/13/12/11/X that have FaceID, simply hold down the volume button and power button to switch the iPhone off. 
iPhone 14 Pro Max

To turn the iPhone back on, press and hold the power button until you see the Apple logo appear. 

5. Try Setting a Focus Point

When your iPhone camera is not focusing correctly, you may need to set a focus point. 

  1. Open the camera app and tap on the screen wherever you want the focus to be placed. This could be anything from someone’s face, a flower, or a street building.
  2. You will then see a yellow square appear in that area which indicates that your focal point has been set. 
iPhone camera yellow square

Once done, take a photo or video and see if it has worked. If it hasn’t, then try manually adjusting by re-tapping the screen, and then dragging your finger up and down to adjust the exposure. 

6. Use the Auto Focus Lock On Box

Let’s say manually setting the focus works, but the camera’s focus becomes blurry again when you move around. Then you might want to try using the autofocus and auto exposure lock-on feature. 

This function maintains the camera’s focus on a  specific point instead of resetting back to autofocus every time you take a shot. To do this:

  1. Open up your camera app, and position the camera to take a shot.
  2. Tap and hold on to the area in your viewfinder where you want to focus until you see a yellow box appear.
  3. This yellow box should say AF/AE lock on it. 
AE/AF lock
  1. Now snap your picture, and see how it turns out. 

The idea here is that even if the iPhone moves around or the scene changes, the camera’s focus will remain unchanged as it’s been “locked” in place.

7. Are You Using an External Magnetic Lens?

If you are trying to take a picture and you find that your iPhone camera is out of focus, this could be due to the use of an external magnetic lens. 

iPhone magnetic lens

These lenses can interfere with the internal lens of the iPhone and cause blurriness or lack of focus. If this is the case, removing the external lens should help your iPhone’s camera focus correctly.

8. Older Model? Turn off Portrait Mode

When trying to fix an iPhone camera with an autofocus issue, one method to consider is turning off Portrait Mode. This mode enables background blurring and can sometimes interfere with the camera’s ability to focus correctly on a subject. 

Turning it off helps the camera focus more easily, especially if you’re photographing something that doesn’t require an artistic blur of the background. 

9. Update Your IOS Version

Keeping your iPhone’s software up to date ensures your device is running smoothly and you have access to the latest technology. 

To update your iOS, go to Settings on your iPhone > General > Software Update. Here, you’ll be able to check if you have the most current version of iOS, if not, it will prompt you to download it. 

update iOS version

Updating your iOS regularly will give you access to new features. It includes camera improvements that can help ensure better focus when taking photos. 

On the other hand, outdated software can bring you tons of headaches down the road. You may find yourself unable to upload photos or you cannot receive mail on your iPhone, and other errors that are avoidable. 

10. Reset to Factory Settings

Resetting your iPhone back to its factory settings can be a valuable troubleshooting step if your camera is not working properly. This will erase all of the content on your iPhone and return it to a fresh slate. 

To reset your device, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Once you have done this, re-install any apps you need and check if your iOS is up to date. After this, try using your camera again. You may find that the focus issues have been resolved.

iPhone 11 restore to factory setting

**Warning: doing this step will delete all personal information and data on the phone. If you don’t want to lose this data, create a backup first. Then restore your phone after performing the factory reset. 

11. Contact Apple Support

If you are still experiencing issues with your iPhone camera focus after updating your iOS and doing a factory resetting, then it may be time to contact Apple Support

You can easily book a virtual appointment with an Apple support specialist who will be able to help diagnose any problems and walk you through troubleshooting steps that could resolve the issue.

iPhone Camera Not Focussing Issue, Addressed!

If these troubleshooting steps helped you fix your iPhone’s camera not focusing, please share your experience below in the comments section. 

Let us know which step worked for you! We are always looking for feedback from our readers, so we’d love to hear from you.

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