Your smartphone and its camera have probably become vital to your everyday life. Especially when you want to become a (professional) smartphone photographer. Nothing is more annoying than a smartphone camera that won’t work. But what causes errors and black screens, and how can you easily fix them?
No worries! Help is on its way. I have put together a list of the most common problems and their solutions. So you can start creating stunning images again in no time. And if it does not work, do not hesitate to contact a professional repair shop or look for a new model.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Smartphone Photography will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain our own!
Products used for this article
- Samsung Galaxy S phones available from Amazon;
- Honor 10 from Huawei (there are still a few available from Amazon);
- iPhone 11 Pro no longer available, you can opt for iPhone 12 series;
- A few-dollar microfiber cloth from Amazon;
- A good quality yet affordable Joby Gorrilapod available from the Joby Store or Amazon;
Why is my phone’s camera not working?
There are many reasons why your smartphone camera is not working properly. Third-party apps may cause trouble; there might be bugs in the software, battery power may be too low, and so on. Follow these steps to get your camera going again:
1. Check other apps that use the camera like Instagram, Lightroom, and Snapseed. See if the camera is working with those apps or if it is a general problem.
2. Turn off your device so it can reboot and clear the RAM (short-term memory) and software bugs and turn it back on.
3. Recharge your battery. When the camera screen stays dark the power level might be too low.
4. Close all applications. Another app may be actively using the camera.
5. Clear the camera’s applications data by going to Settings > Apps (all apps) > Camera > Storage > Clear data and Clear Cache
6. Force the camera app to stop by going to Settings > Apps (all apps) > Camera > Force Stop > OK > Go back and restart the camera app.
7. Check which apps have access to the camera and revoke it. Go to Settings > Apps > Apps Permissions > Camera > Temporarily toggle off the bars by all apps except your native camera app. Turn them back on one by one and check which app is causing problems.
8. Remove third-party camera apps that might cause a conflict. Delete them one by one so you can check which one is causing trouble.
9. Check for system updates by going to Settings > System & Updates > Software update > Check for updates > if there’s a new update, download and run it.
10. Perform Factory Reset if all other solutions fail. It will bring you back to your initial configuration. Make sure you make backups from all data that may not be lost, like images, contacts, downloads, files, and videos. Just to be sure, remove the memory card (micro SD) from your device if it has one.
Reset an Android device: go to Settings > System > Reset > Reset Phone
Reset an iOS device: go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings
- If none of the above tips helped fix your smartphone camera, I suggest you visit a repair center. The problem is most likely hardware-related. If your phone is slightly older and is not very expensive, you might want to skip the repair center and buy yourself a new phone.
How do I reset my Android camera?
The most common and easiest way to reset your Android camera is by closing the camera app and restarting the device. If that does not work, go to Settings > Apps > Camera > Clear Data. Clearing the camera app data will remove any camera settings you might have chosen as default. Check for updates for the app and the phone and perform all updates. If that does not work, you can choose to go back to factory settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase all content and settings. (make sure to create a backup of your documents)
How do I reset my iPhone camera?
Start by closing all active apps on your phone, including the camera application. Restart your iPhone and if that does not fix the problem, try clearing the camera data by going to Settings > Camera app > Clear Cache. Clearing the app data will remove any settings you have chosen in the past. Check for software updates of the specific app and your phone and perform them. If that does not work, you can choose to do a factory reset by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase all content and settings (make sure to create a backup of your documents)
How do I fix my ‘camera failed’ on a Samsung device?
We have seen many reports of people saying they have come across the error ‘camera failed’ on their Samsung Galaxy device. That isn’t very pleasant, but there is a solution! It is very likely it has something to do with the software, so don’t panic just yet.
You can fix the Camera Failed notification on your Android smartphone by restarting your device, performing software updates, clearing the camera’s application, forcing the camera app to stop, removing third-party camera apps, or doing a factory reset.
The exact steps of the above mentioned solutions can be found here.
How do you fix your phone camera that won’t focus?
There are a lot of things you can try to get your camera in focus again. Just follow these 8 simple steps:
- Clean the lenses of your smartphone carefully with a microfiber cloth
- Restart your smartphone
- Clear the cache of the camera application
- Update the camera app and the system’s software
- Scan for viruses
- Download a third-party camera app
- Reset to factory settings
>> You can find the exact steps with clear instructions in this blogpost.
Why is my Android or iPhone camera showing a black screen?
Usually, a black screen on your smartphone camera is caused by a software-related problem. These are generally easy to fix in just a couple of steps like closing and stopping all apps, restarting your phone, clearing the camera’s cache, removing all third-party camera apps, and doing software updates. If that does not fix the problem, you can opt for a factory reset. Make sure you create a backup of all your files, including your contacts.
If your smartphone is still showing a black screen after performing this hard reset, it might be a hardware issue. The camera lens might be broken. You can contact a repair shop or the phone manufacturer (warranty) to address the situation. Do not try to dismantle the phone yourself; your warranty will be revoked if you do so.
Why is my phone camera quality so bad?
There are many reasons why your phone camera quality can be bad. Here are a few common reasons:
- Camera lenses are dirty; try cleaning them with a microfiber cloth.
- Scratched camera lens: lenses are fragile; use a smartphone case to protect your phone and don’t carry your keys in the same pocket.
- Broken lens; maybe you dropped your phone accidentally? Please bring it to a repair shop to replace the broken lens.
- Poor quality camera sensor; the camera has a small sensor, tiny pixel size, and low resolution. Use this guide to buy yourself a decent new camera phone.
- Narrow aperture; the aperture manages the amount of light coming into the camera. A high f-number has little light coming true, which can result in poor-quality photos.
- Poor lighting and bad exposure; make sure there is enough light to illuminate the subject. If shooting during the nighttime or other low light situations, don’t use a flash, but use environmental lighting or external light source and choose the appropriate ISO value.
- Choose a higher resolution; change the resolution in the camera app settings to the highest possible. In my case, this is 24MP. Even better is shooting your image in RAW so that you can edit your images afterward, and many details are preserved.
- Use the front camera for selfies; when your selfies are of poor quality, try using the main camera at the back of your phone. They have a much better quality!
- Turn on image stabilization; this technique aims to improve image quality by removing motion blur. Most newer smartphones have image stabilization. OIS or Optical Image Stabilization works best!
- Hold the camera steady; use a tripod, monopod, or your surroundings to keep the camera from shaking. Camera shake will result in blurry pictures.
I hope you were able to fix any problem with your smartphone camera. If you hesitate about a solution please consult an expert. They are qualified to resolve any issues including hardware-related ones.