The iPhone’s camera is one of its most important features. You can take wide panoramas, beautiful portraits, movie-quality videos, and more. When the camera won’t work, you lose one of the your iPhone’s key features. In this article, I’ll explain how to fix the problem when your iPhone camera is not working or black!
Is My iPhone Camera Broken?
At this point, we don’t know whether your camera problem is being caused by an issue with the software or the hardware on your iPhone. However, contrary to common belief, there are plenty of software issues that could be causing the problem. A software crash, outdated iOS, or a faulty app could be the reason why your iPhone camera is not working or appears to be black!
The steps below will help you diagnose and fix the real reason why your iPhone camera isn’t working. We’ll start by cleaning off the camera and addressing smaller software issues. If those steps don’t work, we’ll show you how to perform some deeper software fixes, or where you can get hardware repairs if you need them.
Check Your iPhone Case
One time I was at a party and a friend asked me to take a picture of her. To my surprise, all the pictures came out black. She took her phone back and thought I had done something wrong.
As it turned out, she had put her iPhone case on upside down! Her case was blocking the camera on her iPhone, causing all the pictures she took to turn out black. This is a pretty common mishap for iPhone users, so make sure your iPhone case is on correctly.
Clean Off The Camera Lens
If your case is on properly, it’s possible dirt or debris may be obstructing the lens and blacking out your iPhone’s camera. It’s easy for gunk or lint to accumulate on a camera lens, especially if you keep your iPhone in your pocket most of the day.
Gently wipe off your camera lens with a microfiber cloth to make sure there’s nothing stuck to it!
Close Every App On Your iPhone
A lot of iPhone software problems can occur when an app crashes. If the Camera app — or another app — crashed in the background of your iPhone, it could be the reason your camera’s not working. If an app has crashed on your iPhone, closing it might get rid of the error!
First, you’ll want to open the App Switcher. To do this, double tap the Home button (iPhones without Face ID), or swipe up from the bottom of your screen (iPhones with Face ID).
Once the app switcher is open, use your finger to swipe your apps up and off the top of the screen. You’ll know your apps are closed when they no longer appear in the App Switcher.
Now that you’ve closed all your apps, reopen the Camera app to see if it’s working again. If it’s still black or not working, move on to the next step!
Restart Your iPhone
Restarting your iPhone will give all your apps the opportunity to shut down and get a fresh start. Sometimes, this can fix a minor software glitch making your iPhone camera malfunction.
If you have an iPhone without Face ID, press and hold the power button until Slide To Power Off appears. If you have an iPhone with Face ID, press and hold the side button and either volume button simultaneously until you see Slide To Power Off.
Once you see the power slider, swipe the red and white power icon from left to right to shut your iPhone down. Wait a few moments, then press the power button (iPhones without Face ID) or the side button (iPhones with Face ID) to turn your iPhone on again.
Update Your iPhone
The Camera app is a native iPhone app, which means it can only be updated by an iOS update. Apple releases new updates to introduce new features and resolve known bugs, one of which may be causing the problem with your camera!
Open Settings and tap General -> Software Update. Tap Download and Install or Install Now if an iOS update is available.
Troubleshooting Third-Party Camera Apps
Native iPhone apps are usually pretty reliable. Third-party apps, especially apps from smaller developers, are generally more susceptible to bugs and crashes. If you’ve noticed that the iPhone camera is not working when you use a third-party camera app, that app may be causing the problem.
While we recommend using the built-in Camera app, there a couple things you can try if you want to keep using your third-party camera app instead.
First, check for an app update. It’s possible you’re using an outdated version of the app, which might be more prone to software crashes. Open the App Store and tap on your account icon in upper right-hand corner of the screen. Scroll down to find the list of your apps with available updates. If you see your third-party camera app in that list, tap Update to its right.
If that doesn’t work, try deleting and reinstalling the app. To uninstall an iPhone app, go to your Home screen and press and hold the app’s icon until a drop-down menu appears. Tap Remove App -> Delete App -> Delete to uninstall it from your iPhone.
Now that the app has been uninstalled, open the App Store and tap the Search tab at the bottom of the screen. Type in the name of your third-party camera app, then tap the installation button (it looks like a little blue cloud icon) to reinstall it.
If the third-party app continues to cause camera malfunctions, try finding a different app or using the native Camera app instead.
Back Up Your iPhone
Before continuing any further, we strongly recommend backing up your iPhone. This is a quick and easy step that ensures all your personal information is safely stored and can be retrieved at any time.
There are three different ways to back up your iPhone.
Back Up Your iPhone With iCloud
If you’re connected to Wi-Fi and don’t want to plug your iPhone into a computer, you can save a backup to iCloud!
- Open Settings.
- Tap on your name at the top of the screen.
- Tap iCloud.
- Tap iCloud Backup.
- Make sure the switch next to iCloud Backup is on. You’ll know the switch is on when it’s green and flipped to the right.
- Tap Back Up Now.
From there, a status bar will appear to tell you how much time is remaining. When the status bar is full, the backup is complete!
Back Up Your iPhone To iTunes
If you would like to back up your iPhone to a Windows computer or a Mac running macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier, you can do so using iTunes.
- Plug your iPhone into your computer using a Lightning cable.
- Open iTunes on your computer.
- Click on the iPhone icon near the upper left-hand corner of iTunes.
- Click the circle next to This Computer.
- Click Back Up Now.
When the backup is complete, you should see the current date and time listed under Latest Backup in the iTunes window.
Back Up Your iPhone To Finder
If you want to back up your iPhone to a Mac running macOS Catalina 10.15 or later, you can use Finder instead of iTunes.
- Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a Lightning cable.
- Open Finder.
- Click on your iPhone under Locations on the left side of the Finder window.
- Click the circle next to Back Up All Of The Data On Your iPhone To This Mac.
- Click Back Up Now.
Just like with iTunes, you should see the current time and date under Latest Backup when the process is complete.
Reset All Settings
If the camera on your iPhone still appears black or isn’t working at all, there may be a deeper software issue causing the problem.
Reset All Settings erases everything in the Settings app and restores it to factory defaults. When you perform this reset, your saved Wi-Fi passwords will be erased, your Bluetooth devices will be disconnected, and your iPhone’s wallpaper will return to its default.
Open Settings, then tap General -> Transfer or Reset iPhone -> Reset -> Reset All Settings. Enter your iPhone passcode, if you have one. Then, confirm the reset by tapping Reset All Settings again.
Put Your iPhone In DFU Mode
A DFU restore is the most in-depth restore you can perform on an iPhone. DFU stands for Device Firmware Update. Completing this restore will erase all your personal content and settings, and revert your iPhone to its factory defaults. When the restore is finished, it will be like you’ve just taken your iPhone out of the box for the very first time.
Before putting your iPhone in DFU mode, make sure you’ve saved a backup. Once you’ve backed up your iPhone, check out our in-depth article on how to put your iPhone in DFU mode.
If none of our software troubleshooting steps fixed the camera on your iPhone, you may need to get it repaired. If your iPhone is still covered under warranty, take it to your local Apple Store to see if they can fix the problem for you. Before you head to the Apple Store, make an appointment with the Genius Bar to avoid any long waits.
Don’t have an Apple Store nearby? Apple also provides support online, over the phone, and through the mail!
Back In Action!
Hopefully, your camera is now working again and you can get back to taking awesome selfies. Next time your iPhone camera is not working or appears completely black, you’ll know how to fix the problem! Make sure to share this article on social media, or leave us a comment below if you have other questions about your iPhone camera.