iPhone Camera Won't Focus? Try These Fixes

Get rid of blurry photos once and for all

When you have an iPhone camera that won't focus properly, the problem may stem from software issues or physical blockages of the lens. The tips below should get your iPhone taking clear pictures again.

Information in this article applies to iPhone 11 through iPhone 6.

Reasons Why Your iPhone Camera Won't Focus

While a misbehaving iPhone camera can cause panic, there are often innocent explanations for why it's not focusing. Usually, the cause of the problem is revealed through its corresponding fix.

Picture of rear iPhone camera
StockSnap / Pixabay

How to Fix an iPhone Camera That Won't Focus

Follow these steps in the order listed to identify and fix an iPhone camera that's not focusing.

  1. Take off the iPhone case. Some iPhone cases partially block the camera lens or flash. Metallic cases or attachments—particularly magnetic ones—can affect the iPhone's optical stabilization.

  2. Clean the iPhone camera lens. If the lens has dust, fingerprint smudges, or is otherwise dirty, it may not be able to focus properly. Use a microfiber cloth to clean the lens, and then take a photo.

    If you think you see dirt inside the lens, take your iPhone to an Apple Store or authorized service provider.

  3. Set the focus point. With the Camera app open, tap the object you're trying to photograph. It could be a person's face, a flower, or another subject. By tapping it, you tell the iPhone what element you want it to focus on.

  4. Turn off AE/AF Lock. AE/AF stands for Auto Exposure and Auto Focus. When these are locked, the iPhone camera keeps the targeted part of the shot in focus. To use this feature, frame the image, then press and hold the part of the shot where you want the camera to focus. The camera keeps the object in focus even if something else enters the shot later.

  5. Practice good photography. Sometimes, focusing issues arise because of the way you use the iPhone camera. Avoid taking photos of subjects that are too close to the iPhone. Also, don't change the distance from the subject, move around, or shake the phone. These make it hard for the iPhone camera to focus properly.

  6. Update iOS. Sometimes, focus problems arise from software glitches. One way to resolve these problems is to update to the latest available version of iOS.

  7. Force-close the Camera app. Sometimes closing the Camera app and then restarting it can fix software bugs and glitches.

  8. Restart the iPhone. Restarting an iPhone or iOS device may also resolve issues related to the camera lens.

  9. Reset the iPhone to factory settings. If your iPhone camera still isn't focusing properly, restore the iPhone to its factory settings. This involves resetting all the phone's settings and data.

    A factory restore deletes your personal information and data and returns the phone to the condition it was in when it was first manufactured. Avoid doing this without first backing up your data. You can then restore your data and apps after performing the factory reset.

  10. Contact Apple support. If you tried everything and your iPhone camera still won't focus, take the device to Apple and ask for a fix or replacement. Your iPhone must be under warranty if you want to avoid paying a fee for repairs. Usually, iPhone warranties last one year, although you can double this period by paying for AppleCare+ coverage when you buy the phone.