My smartphone camera doesn’t focus. A quick fix.

It is very annoying, trust me, I know, when the camera on your smartphone is not working correctly. One of the things I encountered during mobile photography is that the camera does not focus. So I had to do some research and come up with an answer. I like to share general solutions with you, so you don’t have to dive into different articles on the internet.

When the camera on your phone is not focussing adequately or focussing at all, you should:

  1. clean the lens carefully
  2. restart your phone
  3. clear the cache of the camera app
  4. update the camera app
  5. tap the back of the phone
  6. scan for viruses
  7. download third-party camera app
  8. reset to factory settings

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? To make everything quite clear, continue reading, we will walk you through each step.

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The gear I used for writing this blog can be found on my favorite gear page.

Do not despair when your camera does not focus

There are a lot of things you can do when you don’t get sharp pictures. Even when your mobile camera is not focussing at all, the given solutions will solve the majority of the problems. Most actions only take a few minutes. You should start by checking the lens. See if the glass is dirty or if there are scratches. Clean? Try restarting your phone. If that does not work, you can focus on the software and potential viruses. Even a third-party camera app can be a solution.

1. Clean the lens carefully

Smartphones spend a lot of time in your pocket, bag, or on the coffee table. It is easy to get dirt, sand, or fat on the lens. Wiping, your camera, including the glass regularly, is essential. You can clean the lens with a microfiber cloth or a cotton swap with a little (!) distilled water. When you fold the fabric into a triangle, you can reach the edges of the lens better.

Some phones, particularly the ones with a fingerprint sensor close by, will warn you to clean the lens of your camera.

You can pick up my favorite microfiber cloths for just a couple of bucks on Amazon.

Cleaning Smartphone Camera Lens

2. Restart your phone

Many different processes are running while using your phone. Something may be causing a hick-up. With almost every problem you are having with the software of your phone, it is a good idea to restart your device. Everything shuts down and has to restart. It might just do the trick. Give it a try.

3. Clear the cache of the camera app

As you use apps, they are storing files to refer to or use later. The phone stores these files in the cache of the related app. When the camera app is not working correctly, it can have something to do with the cache. 

You can delete the cache by going to settings – apps – camera app. Click on the camera app you are using, go to cache, and press clear cache. It might be a bit different on every phone, but you get the picture. 

4. Update the camera app

Apps are continuously improving. It is vital to keep them up-to-date. If you have a problem with the camera. Go to the Google Play store if you have an Android phone or to the Apple App Store when you use an iPhone. Find ‘your games and apps’ or something similar and click on ‘update’ if the app needs an update. App builders will solve probable software problems on a non-stop basis.

5. Tap the phone with fingers or hand palm

So if the first four steps do not have the desired outcome, try firmly tapping the back of your phone. It sounds a bit weird, and maybe counter-intuitive to get physical with your mobile, but it might just work. In some cases, this helps the camera snap back into focus. Cameras can change focus by adjusting the distance between the lens and the sensor. Some tiny bits and pieces are working inside your smartphone to make sure this process works. Tapping the back of the device might get them into the right place again.

6. Scan for viruses

I know you don’t want to hear it. But it can be a virus that is causing the problem with your camera. They can slow down the app or completely shut it down. Download or open an anti-virus app from a trusted app store and scan your phone. All big anti-virus players on the market have an app. So search for AVG Antivirus, McAfee, Safe Security, or Norton; they will do the job. 

AVG Antivirus image

7. Download a third-party camera app

If number 6 does not work either, install a third-party camera app like Adobe Lightroom, VSCO Photo & Video Editor, Open Camera, or any other well-rated app in your app store. You can test whether or not the camera app is the problem. When the third-party app does work, well, you can be happy. You can start shooting amazing images. A third-party app might even be a better solution. You can shoot raw, use manual mode, and other DSLR settings.

8. Reset to factory settings

So nothing has solved the problem yet! Things are getting serious now. It might be a good idea to do a factory reset on your phone. But please make sure you make a backup of your files (including contacts) before you proceed with this step. 

The steps to reset your phone differ for all manufacturers. It should be something like this:

Settings > Backup & reset > Factory data reset

It is time for an expert opinion

If all things failed, we are very sorry, but it is time to consult an expert. We have given all the tips that you can perform safely, without damaging your phone. It might be a hardware problem.

You may still be entitled to a warranty. Contact the seller or manufacturer and see what they can do for you. If not, go to a service center and have the camera lens replaced. They usually do that for a reasonable price.

Wet Smartphone

Why does a Smartphone camera lose focus

If you don’t know what happened to your phone and why the camera is not focussing anymore, here are some common problems. 

  1. Water damage: you went swimming with your phone while it was not correctly closed. Or even worse, it is not waterproof. Ok, it might just have been a very serious poor down. Only a little drop of water can break your phone. Read more on waterproof smartphones here.
  2. Physical damage: your phone fell out of your pocket while you were cleaning the house. It happens to a lot of us. Some parts of the phone can break or collide and stop functioning as they should. 
  3. Software problems: a lot can happen with all different kinds of apps. We recommend only download apps from the approved app stores like Play Store from Android and the App Store from Apple. Update your apps regularly to have the most up-to-date version of your camera app. 

Preventing problems with your smartphone camera

  1. Use a case or a glass protector to avoid physical damage. You can find them for reasonable prices in many online stores. 
  2. Be careful with public wifi. Unwanted files may creep into your phone. The same caution should be taken with Bluetooth connections. 
  3. Keep your phone dry. A case may help with that. Don’t bring your phone to wet rooms or pools. Be sure your pockets on your rain jacket are waterproof. 
  4. Download an anti-virus app and scan your phone regularly. It keeps unwanted viruses out the door. 
  5. Clean the lens often. It will keep the glass clear and prevents scratches from dirt and sand. 

These are some solutions that will fix the most common issues with the camera of your phone. Be careful and precise by using our tips. We are not responsible for any damage done to your phone. If you have doubts, consult an expert.

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