iPhone camera shaking

iPhone Camera Shaking (8 Easy Fixes!)

If you’ve had an iPhone for long enough, chances are you’ve had a fair share of unfortunate drops. Drops and dings can cause all sorts of problems, but most recently I’ve noticed my iPhone camera shakes, rendering the camera all but useless. Here’s how to fix it.

iPhone Camera Shaking

To fix iPhone camera shaking, first power iPhone off and on, perform force restart, download iOS software updates, and reset all settings to rule out software related issues. To troubleshoot hardware related issues, remove the case, clean the lens, and affix a magnet near the camera. Lastly, replace the camera.

Interestly enough, this issue was so common in some of the earlier iPhone models that Apple launched the iSight Camera Replacement Program.

The program, which kicked off in 2015, allowed Apple iPhone users with eligible serial numbers, to have their rear camera fixed free of charge. However, this program was only valid three years after the first retail sale of the unit and is therefore now longer available.

But no need to worry! There are a number of fixes you can attempt on your own. Let’s review each of these troubleshooting steps in detail from start to finish.

Importantly, these steps will work on all iPhone models.

I highly recommend you follow these steps in the exact order outlined below.

Step 1: Power iPhone Off And Back On Again

A shaking iPhone camera is either related to hardware or software problems.

In these first three troubleshooting steps, we are going to attempt to rule out any software related issues.

To be clear, in the majority of cases your iPhone camera is shaking due to faulty hardware. However you should always rule out faulty software as the culprit first, as these are quick and easy fixes to troubleshoot.

First, let’s power off the iPhone and power it back on again.

To do so, press and hold down the volume down button (left side) and the side button (right side) simultaneously. Then, slide the power button at the top of the screen from left to right to power off your phone.

iPhone Camera Shaking - restart iPhone to test if software related issue

After waiting about 30 seconds, turn your iPhone back on by pressing and holding the side button (right side ) until you see the Apple logo.

When your iPhone turns back on, try using the camera again. If the issue persists, proceed to step 2.

Step 2: Force Restart iPhone

If the issue is due to software bug, another easy fix to try is force restarting your iPhone.

How To Force Restart Your iPhone

  1. First, press and then quickly release the volume up button.
  2. Then, press and quickly release the volume down button.
  3. Lastly, press and hold the side button. Once the Apple logo appears, release the side button.

It is important to note that it can take up to 10 seconds for the Apple logo to appear. Be sure to continue to hold the side button until it does.

When your device has fully restarted, once again see if the shaking has stopped.

Step 3: Download The Latest iOS Software Update

A broader software bug could also be causing the problem.

For this reason, it is important to ensure you are operating on the latest iOS software version that is available.

To download the latest iOS software update available:

  1. First, navigate to the Settings application.
  2. Then, select General.
  3. Next, select Software Update.
  4. Here you will see if there are any recent software updates available. If there is one, select Download and Install.

Once the update is complete and your iPhone has fully restarted, see if your camera is functioning normally again.

Step 4: Reset All Settings

As a final software related troubleshooting step, in case there is a deeper software issue going on, I recommend you also try to reset all settings.

One thing to keep in mind is that when you reset all settings, everything in the settings application will return to factory default. You will need to re-enter your WiFi passwords, reconnect your bluetooth devices, etc.

I will say however, that this step is a magic bullet for all sorts of iPhone issues and is absolutely worth the effort.

How To Reset All Settings

  1. First, select the Settings application.
  2. Then, navigate to General.
  3. Next, scroll all the way to the bottom and tap Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  4. Finally, select Reset at the bottom of the screen.

Your iPhone will now shutdown and reset. Once you are back up and running, give your camera a go.

If the issue persists, you can safely rule out faulty software as the culprit.

Step 5: Remove iPhone Case

Now that we have ruled out software related issue, we can be fairly confident that a hardware related issue is to blame.

Believe it or not, a poorly placed cell phone case could be the source of the problem.

This is because many iPhone cases that are not sold directly by Apple do not fit your specific iPhone model correctly.

In some instances, the case is actually pressing on or directly obstructing the rear camera without you realizing it.

Therefore, one of the very first hardware troubleshooting steps you should try is fully removing the iPhone from the case.

iPhone camera shaking - remove iPhone case

When you do so, if the shaking goes away, you have discovered the source of the issue.

Go ahead and replace your iPhone case as soon as possible. Be sure it is a case that is specifically designed to fit your model. Ideally, purchase it through Apple directly.

Step 6: Clean Camera Lens

Dirt or debris, both on the inside or outside of the camera can cause a number of common issues, from shaking to even obstructing the iPhone camera’s ability to use Face ID. This build-up may be the reason your camera is malfunctioning.

When you attempt to use your iPhone camera, it will automatically attempt to focus by using something known as “contrast detection”.

More or less, this is a trial and error based system by which your camera moves back and forth via an algorithm until the optimal focus for an object is identified.

If there is an obstruction interfering with this process, even a tiny one, your camera may appear to shake.

To test this, first gently but firmly tap your iPhone repeatedly into the palm of your hand. The goal here is to dislodge any internal camera debris that may exist without the need to open the iPhone up.

Next, obtain a Q-tip and some isopropyl alcohol. Dip the Q-tip into the alcohol and then tap it into a paper towel to prevent any dripping.

Then, take the damp Q-tip and carefully clean the rear camera lens and surrounding area.

iPhone camera shaking - clean camera lens

Allow the camera 10 minutes or so to fully dry and then determine if the shaking as resolved.

Step 7: Place A Small Magnet Near The Camera

We have now ruled out the fairly easy to troubleshoot software and hardware related potential issues.

At this stage, it is most likely that the iPhone rear camera circuit has malfunctioned.

The easiest way to test this it to obtain a small magnet (approximately the same size as the camera lens) and place it near the rare camera.

You can try placing it both on the front of the iPhone in the top right corner or on the back near the rear camera itself.

Be careful NOT to run the magnet across the screen as this can cause permanent display damage. Additionally, be aware that the magnet is likely to cause Compass application issues.

If the rear camera circuit has in fact malfunctioned, it should stabilize and work normally when the magnet is applied.

From here you have two options.

The first option, and also the cheapest and most hassle-free, is to simply attached the magnet to your iPhone in the location that most optimally stabilizes the camera.

While this sounds silly, the vast majority of affected iPhone users have reported that this works.

You can attach the magnet using a small amount of carefully placed gorilla glue. Once applied, press and hold the magnet down for 1 minute and then allow the glue to dry for 24 hours.

Your camera should now be functioning properly!

If you decide you do not want to affix a small magnet to your iPhone or if the magnet does not solve the problem, you will need to replace the camera entirely.

Step 8: Replace iPhone Camera

Unfortunately hardware related camera issues of this magnitude typically require an expert eye.

Before you do anything, check your Apple warranty status using your iPhone’s serial number. You can locate the serial number by navigating to Settings > General > About.

If your iPhone is under warranty, there is a great change that your camera or iPhone can be fully replaced free of charge.

I therefore recommend you take your device to an Apple Retail Store, Apple Authorized Service Provider or contact Apple Support.

Notably, out of warranty Apple repairs can be quite costly.

In the event that your iPhone is not under warranty, you may also consider taking it to a local, non-Apple affiliated repair shop.

Just keep in mind that if you go this route, you will void any Apple warranty that may exist on your iPhone.

Conclusion

Is your iPhone camera shaking and bouncing around randomly on its own? Try these top 8 fixes to get your camera functioning properly again:

  1. Power iPhone on and back off again
  2. Force restart iPhone
  3. Download the latest iOS Software Update
  4. Reset all settings
  5. Remove iPhone case
  6. Clean camera lens
  7. Place a small magnet near the camera
  8. Replace iPhone camera

If you’ve tried all of these fixes without success, you can try contacting Apple customer service at 1-800-275-2273.

As mentioned, you can also use your iPhone’s serial number to review your Apple warranty status and eligibility to purchase additional AppleCare coverage.

If you fixed this issue using the troubleshooting steps above, or if you fixed the issue some other way, let me know in the comments section below!

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