Why Are My iPhone Photos Blurry? (7 Common Reasons)

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Why Are My iPhone Photos Blurry

 

1. Camera is Dirty

A dirty camera is probably the number one reason a person’s photos turn out blurry. Dirt, oils, or any other grime that might collect on your camera lens over time prevents your camera from focusing properly on the subject matter you’re attempting to photograph and results in pictures of poor quality.

Phones endure constant use and travel between many locations, including pockets and purses, where they’re bound to pick up dirt over time. For this reason, phone cameras typically need to be cleaned every now and then if a person wants optimal use of their camera. Luckily, cleaning your camera’s pretty easy to do!

2. Camera Is Broken or Dirt Has Got In

We’ve already said your camera lens picks up dirt through daily use, but did you know that dirt can get under your lens too?

This isn’t a common problem, but occasionally, especially if there are any loose parts in your phone’s camera, something can actually get inside and cause troubles. Even if there isn’t dirt in your camera, your camera could potentially be broken.

This shouldn’t be your first concern if you notice blurry photos from your camera, but if you exhaust every other potential cause and solution you can find, then it’s very possible the issue could be in the camera itself.

3. iPhone Photos Are Compressed Due to Optimized Storage

Photos and videos take up a lot of storage.

To optimize phone storage, some people may choose to compress photos (which decreases their file size and therefore how much space they take up).

However, compressing an image also means it will look different until it’s returned to its original file size which can cause the photos not to load in the Photos app and in some occasions, your videos won’t play.

4. The Film is Still on the Back of the Camera

When you buy a new iPhone, you always have to contend with the packaging, film, and stickers placed on the phone to protect it until it gets into its new owner’s hand.

While annoying for us to deal with, this is all protective measures Apple takes to ensure the phone is clean and undamaged when you purchase it.

In addition to film covering the front screen of your phone, there’s usually some sort of film sticker covering your camera. This ensures your camera lens doesn’t get dirty or scratched before it reaches your hands.

If your iPhone is pretty new and you don’t remember whether you removed the film from your camera lens, you might need to turn your phone around and look to be sure. That film could be preventing your camera from taking pictures properly.

5. Magnets Near Your Camera

As a rule of thumb, you should keep magnets away from your electronics, be it your phone, computer, television, or anything else. Many of these devices are delicate, and a magnet getting too close to them could result in a damaged or broken device.

If you’ve had magnets near your camera, the same thing can occur. Get your camera away from the magnets and test it again. If your pictures come out fine, then you’re good.

6. Bad Lighting

Poor lighting is one of the leading causes of blurriness, graininess, and overall bad image quality when taking pictures.

Sometimes it’s hard to avoid, such as when I’m trying to take an image of my cat before she moves out of whatever pose I’m trying to capture her in, but sometimes I don’t realize it’s dark enough to interfere with my image quality before I’ve tried to snap the picture.

The qualities listed above can be great indicators that your environment is too dark, but there are other ways to tell as well.

For instance, when you look at your image, it may appear darker than you expected it to come out. Usually that means you need a little extra light in the room.

In my case, I tend to leave my flash on auto. I usually despise the way my pictures look when flash is on, but I’ve noticed that flash usually only triggers if the environment is too dark for my pictures to come out as well as I’d like.

I leave my flash on auto rather than turning it off entirely so that my camera can alert me itself that I need better lighting.

7. Your Case is Creeping into The Lens

Don’t skip past this just because your case isn’t sitting on top of your camera lens! If a manufacturer doesn’t make their case right, the edges of the case where the hole was created to accommodate your camera could enter the camera’s field of view and interfere with the quality of your images.

This issue could look like dark, blurry edges around one or more perimeter of your image or simple blurriness in your images.

This is because the camera is attempting to focus on the object closest to it—your case—which is turning everything else out of focus. Most manufacturers are careful of this phenomenon, but it could still happen.

8. Issue with Camera or Photo Apps

Just like every other app on your phone, your camera and photo apps can act up or develop bugs.

Apple doesn’t typically push out updates for apps that they install on your phone prior to you buying the phone, but these apps are updated when your iOS updates, as Apple includes bug fixes and new features to these apps their updates. It’s all just a part of them maintaining and improving upon their product.

That said, if your phone is up to date, there’s not really much you can do except the usual: try closing and reopening the apps, restarting the phone, or as a last ditch effort, even committing to a factory reset.

That said, your apps aren’t likely to be your problems if you have blurry pictures, and we highly recommend you look into common causes, such as a dirty lens, first.

If you still can’t find the cause and nothing appears to be physically wrong with your camera, then you might consider looking into the other options listed in this paragraph, starting with restarting your apps and only performing a factory reset if nothing else works for you.

iPhone Photos Blurry? Try These Fixes

1. Clean Camera

We’ve already discussed how cameras collect dirt and other particles through daily phone use and how keeping your camera lens clean is important to your camera’s functionality, but we never discussed how you should go about cleaning your camera lens. Electronics tend to be delicate and require extra care when you want to clean them.

If your lens isn’t too dirty or you’re in a rush, you can always wipe down your camera lens with a dry microfiber cloth or a lens cloth.

Microfiber cloths are commonly used for cleaning a variety of delicate surfaces, such as glasses lens, and are easily accessible, making them a great choice if you don’t have a lens cloth lying around. However, you run the risk of scratching your lens with cloths if you attempt any rough scrubbing to remove stubborn or large particles.

For stubborn particles, consider using a lens fluid. Be careful that you specifically use a lens fluid and not a glass cleaner however, as glass cleaners can actually damage your camera lens.

Your cleaner should be dabbed onto a cloth or Q-tip in moderation, never applied directly to the lens itself, and then used to gently wipe away any build-up that’s occurred.

For those who are hesitant to invest in a lens cleaner, a drop of distilled water applied to a Q-tip is also a perfectly acceptable method for cleaning your lens.

Once your camera lens is free of debris, you should notice a discernable difference in the quality of your pictures.

2. Repair Camera if There’s Dirt in Lens or It’s Broken

While we can give you tips on how to go about fixing a lot of problems yourself, some things simply fall out of the realm of our expertise and out of the realm of being easily achievable by the average person. Repairing a phone’s camera unfortunately falls into this category.

If you believe your phone’s camera is broken and have tried every method you can think of to make sure it isn’t something else, my recommendation is that you contact Apple directly if your phone is under warranty.

They’ll take care of the issue and make sure you get a working phone back. If your phone isn’t under warranty, I’d seek out a professional to repair the camera for you.

Electronics are delicate, and if you tried to fix an issue like this yourself without knowing what you’re doing, you could damage your phone further or even harm yourself. There are some things that are just best left to professionals.

3. Remove Film Sticker on The Back

When you buy a new iPhone, you always have to contend with the packaging, film, and stickers placed on the phone to protect it until it gets into its new owner’s hand.

While annoying for us to deal with, this is all protective measures Apple takes to ensure the phone is clean and undamaged when you purchase it.

In addition to film covering the front screen of your phone, there’s usually some sort of film sticker covering your camera. This ensures your camera lens doesn’t get dirty or scratched before it reaches your hands.

If your iPhone is pretty new and you don’t remember whether you removed the film from your camera lens, you might need to turn your phone around and look to be sure. That film could be preventing your camera from taking pictures properly.

4. Improve Lighting

Some cameras are made to be able to take good photos even in the dark. iPhone cameras, unfortunately, aren’t one of those. They perform best in good lighting. T

hey even have a flash option to temporarily improve lighting for a picture, but sometimes pictures that use flash tend not to come out well.

If your photos are coming out dark or even grainy, you may need to improve the lighting in whatever area you’re attempting to take a picture in.

This may mean turning on a lamp, a light, opening a window, or using whatever light source is available to you. If it’s night, you may even wait until it’s daylight to take pictures.

5. Change Settings on iPhone Camera

If your pictures aren’t coming out the way you want them, you could need to adjust the settings in your camera app for a better result.

This may mean turning flash on or off, adjusting your filter settings, or even choosing a different “mode” to use, such as portrait mode.

Your iPhone comes equipped with a variety of camera settings for you to play around with, and you may find certain settings work better in some situations than others. You’ll have to experiment with your camera to find out what works best for you!

6. Remove Case

We’ve already discussed the signs that your case may be your camera’s issue. While this isn’t a common concern, as most manufacturers are careful to build their cases around the camera, it can still happen.

The easiest way to tell if your case is causing problems with your camera is to remove it and take pictures without it on. If your case was interfering with your camera, these pictures will come out much better than those you took while your case was on.

When choosing an iPhone case in the future, you’ll know to look out for this, either by sight or in reviews. You may even test the case out and be prepared to return it to the seller if it proves to be an issue.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.

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