10 Ways to Fix iPhone 12 & 13 Camera Focus & Shaking Issue

10 Ways to Fix iPhone 12 & 13 Camera Focus & Shaking Issue

10 Ways to Fix iPhone 12 & 13 Camera Focus & Shaking Issue

The iPhone may be considered the best phone camera, but operating one doesn’t come without any difficulties. iPhone 12 or 13 users might be victims of issues such as the camera not focusing or shaking, which can destroy that picture-perfect shot.

If your iPhone 12 or 13 camera doesn’t focus or is shaking, here are some things you can do:

  1. Wipe the camera lens.
  2. Remove your phone case.
  3. Restart your camera app.
  4. Tap on the area you want the camera to focus on.
  5. Lock AE/AF.
  6. Lock your camera.
  7. Update your iPhone 12/13’s apps.
  8. Update your iOS.
  9. Restart your iPhone.
  10. Do a phone factory reset.

We’ll discuss each tip more in the rest of this article. Read on.

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Duration20-30 minutes (average)
Things You NeediPhone 12, iPhone 13, or newer models

Why Is My iPhone Camera Not Focusing and Shaking?

An iPhone’s camera might not focus or show a shaking screen for simple reasons like dirt on the lenses or more complex software issues. Your camera might also be simply switching from one lens to another. 

Before sending your device to a repair shop or using your Apple Care coverage, there are things you can do immediately to try and troubleshoot your iPhone’s lack of focus or shaking.

10 Ways to Fix an iPhone Camera Not Focusing or Is Shaking

Let’s check out ten ways you can do to get your iPhone 12 or 13 camera’s focus back, or at least stop that shaking view. We’ll go from the simplest to the most complex procedures.

1. Wipe the camera lens.

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps1
Duration5 seconds

Your iPhone might have trouble focusing on your target simply because your lenses are blurry from dust, grime, or fingerprints. 

Since camera lenses function like human eyes but don’t have the built-in cleaning mechanism their organic counterpart has, you should make sure that these are clear and spotless by wiping them clean for a clear shot.

You can use any clean, lint-free cloth if you’re in a hurry, but we highly suggest you use cleaning cloths especially made for the smooth glass surface of gadgets like the iPhone. Doing so will remove any dirt more effectively and prevent any scratches.

H3: 2: Remove your phone case.

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps1
Duration10 seconds

We love our iPhones, but most of us can’t fathom the thought of seeing that sleek back glass all cracked up, thus, phone cases exist. 

The problem with phone cases is that ones that are too bulky can sometimes block essential parts of the camera, such as the flash, any special sensors, or even the lenses themselves. 

Thus we suggest you remove your iPhone 12 or 13’s case and check if the camera performance will improve. If it doesn’t help, then the issue might be inside your phone.

3. Restart your camera app.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
Number of Steps4
Duration1 minute

A lack of focus or shaking could be a glitch on your iPhone 12/13 camera app, which isn’t serious. You can simply exit the camera, “kill,” or close it in the background, and restart.

For a more detailed tutorial, here’s how to do it:

Step 1: In the camera app, do an upward flick from the bottom edge of your screen. It will send you to the home screen.

Step 2: Swipe up a little bit from the bottom of the home screen until the App Switcher (a series of cards that show all your open apps) appears. Don’t worry if it takes a few tries.
Step 3: Look for the camera app’s card by scrolling right (or left), then tap and flick its card upwards quickly to close it, like “flicking it out of the deck” of running apps. Do the same for other apps to free up more of your phone’s memory.
Step 4: Tap or flick the bottom of the app switcher to return to the home screen. Then tap on the camera app icon to restart it.

That’s it! Hopefully, your camera app is already refreshed and ready to shoot pictures.

4. Tap on the area you want the camera to focus on.

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps1
Duration1-5 seconds

Sometimes, your phone’s camera just needs a little guidance on where to “look.” In this case, you can simply tap the screen on the area you want the camera to focus on — your camera will correct itself and focus clearly on your chosen subject.

5. Lock AE/AF.

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps1
Duration5 seconds

Another nifty feature of the iPhone 12 or 13 camera is the AE/AF (Auto Exposure/Auto Focus). 

On an open camera app, you’ll just need to tap and hold your subject until a yellow “AE/AF Lock” tag appears at the top of the screen. It will mean that the AE/AF lock is active.

Your camera will “lock” or continuously focus on your chosen subject even if you move or change its angle. Just tap and hold the screen again to remove the AE/AF lock.

6. Lock your camera.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
Number of Steps3
Duration15-20 seconds

The iPhone 13 has been noted to shift between lenses, even if unprompted by the user. This shift can cause shaking and blurriness in the viewfinder.

To avoid this, you can lock the camera (a.k.a. disallow the automatic switching of lenses in the middle of video recording) via your iPhone’s settings. 

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: From your home screen, tap on Settings
Step 2: Go to Camera > Record Video.
Step 3: Toggle Lock Camera on.

After doing the above, your iPhone camera will stick to the lens it’s been set to use for the rest of the video you are recording.

7. Update your iPhone 12/13’s apps.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
Number of Steps2
Duration30 seconds – a few minutes

Due to the complex nature of computer code, sometimes another app’s issues might cause problems on the other apps on your phone, like the camera. Therefore, it’s best to make sure that all of your iPhone 12/13 apps (including the camera) are up to date.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: From your home screen, click the App Store icon.
Step 2: Find your profile icon at the upper right edge of the screen and tap.
Step 3: Scroll down your profile page and check for any available or upcoming automatic updates.
Step 4: Since we’re updating all apps, tap Update All (1). Otherwise, you can choose the apps you want to update (2).

8. Update your iOS.

If all of your apps are up to date, then an update of your iPhone 12/13’s operating system (iOS) might be the solution to solve your camera’s out-of-focus and shaking issues. 

You can update your iOS using your computer (PC or Mac) or wirelessly on your iPhone. 

REMINDER: Back up your data before proceeding with any update. Since you’re updating your phone’s most important piece of software, there is a high risk of losing any of your precious data.

Update iOS on Your Computer with iTunes (PC) or Finder (Mac)

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Number of Steps7
Duration10-40 minutes
  • Open iTunes (PC) or Finder (Mac).
  • Connect your device to the computer via cable.
  • If you’re on iTunes, a prompt for software update will automatically appear once you connect your iPhone to your computer. Click Update and follow the rest of the on-screen instructions.
  • Otherwise, look for your device’s button on the iTunes toolbar (PC) or Finder (Mac) and click it to see your device’s summary.
  • Click Check for Update on your phone’s summary page (both on PC and Mac).
  • If an update is available, click Download and Update on the popup.
  • Follow the rest of the instructions iTunes or your Mac will prompt onscreen until the update finishes.

Update iOS on Your iPhone

You can update your iPhone 12 or 13 via Wi-Fi or a 5G mobile data connection. Back up your data to iCloud before updating iOS.

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Number of Steps5
Duration16-40 minutes
  • Make sure your iPhone is plugged in and connected to the internet.
  • On your unlocked phone, go to Settings > General.
  • Tap on Software Update. Your iPhone will automatically check if updates are available, so wait a bit.
  • If an update is available, tap Download and Install. You’ll need to enter your passcode to proceed with the update.
  • Let the phone go through the iOS update process until finished.

9. Restart your iPhone.

We like to think that the phone is its own person — it also gets tired from all that 24/7 work. Thus, it’s not a bad idea to restart your phone; “have you tried turning it on and off again” isn’t a cliche for nothing.

There are many ways and key combinations that you can use to restart your phone:

Power down using your iPhone 12/13’s buttons.

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps2
Duration5-30 seconds

Here’s how it should go:

Step 1: Hold down either volume up or volume down with the power button.
Step 2: Once the power off slider appears, slide it to turn the iPhone off. 

Power down using the Settings menu.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
Number of Steps4
Duration5-30 seconds

Do these on an unlocked iPhone 12 or 13:

Step 1: Go to Settings > General.
Step 2: Tap Shut Down at the very bottom of the menu.
Step 3: Slide to power off.

To turn on your iPhone 12/13, press the power button until the Apple logo appears and the phone reboots.

Force restart your iPhone.

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps3
Duration30 seconds – 1 minute

In the chance that your phone gets frozen while using the camera, you can force restart the phone: 

Step 1: Quick press volume up.
Step 2: Quick press volume down.
Step 3: Long press the power button until the screen goes black. 

Once the Apple logo appears and the phone finishes rebooting, you’ve successfully done a force restart of your iPhone.

10. Do a factory reset.

If all of the previously mentioned tips fail, you can reset your iPhone 12 or 13 to revert it to factory settings. Like iOS updating, you can factory reset your iPhone using your PC, Mac, or your phone itself.

REMINDER: Back up your data before doing a phone reset.

Factory Reset iPhone on Your Computer

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Number of Steps4
Duration15-30 minutes

If you’re doing a factory reset via computer, here’s how it should go:

Step 1: Connect your phone to your computer (Mac or PC) via cable. You can also connect via Wi-Fi sync. 
Step 2: Once it shows up on your Mac (via Finder) or PC (via iTunes), click on your device’s name to show its summary page.
Step 3: Click on Restore iPhone
Step 4: Click Restore > Next > Agree on the series of confirmation pop-ups that appear. Follow the rest of the instructions shown on your computer and iPhone until the factory reset is finished.


Factory Reset on Your iPhone

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Number of Steps6
Duration15-30 minutes

Before doing a factory reset on your iPhone, make sure that it has enough charge. Otherwise, we highly suggest you plug it in for the duration of the whole reset.

Here’s how to do a factory reset on your iPhone 12 or 13:

  • Disable Find my iPhone. Go to Settings > Apple ID.
  • Once on your Apple ID page, tap Find My then toggle Find My iPhone off. You’ll need to enter your Apple ID password to confirm.
  • Sign out of your Apple ID account. Back to your Apple ID page, tap Sign Out. You’ll be asked if you want to keep your data on the phone, but you can click Sign Out twice to proceed.
  • Now proceed to the factory reset. Go back to General > Transfer or Reset iPhone or simply Reset.
  • Tap Erase All Content and Settings. You’ll be asked for your phone passcode to confirm this process, and after entering, tap Erase iPhone.
  • Let the phone do its thing. Wait until the reset is complete.

That’s it! Your iPhone 12 or 13 is now good as new — but only on the inside. Hopefully, your camera app will also have fixed its focus issue and won’t shake anymore.

Wrapping Up

When your iPhone 12 or 13 camera can’t focus properly or is shaking, keep calm and do any of the simple tips and tricks we’ve listed above. There’s still hope for your phone because it could just be a superficial problem or software bug.

FAQs on iPhone 12 or 13 Camera Not Focusing or Shaking

Why is my iPhone 12 camera shaking?

Your iPhone 12 camera’s shaking could be caused simply by your phone lenses being dirty with dust, grime, or fingerprints. It can also be due to your phone’s automatic switching of lenses or software issues. 

How do I stop my iPhone back camera from shaking?

You can stop your iPhone’s back camera from shaking by keeping your phone clean, changing your camera settings, or updating your phone’s apps and operating software. 

Why is my iPhone 13 camera jumpy?

It may look alarming, but an iPhone 13 camera viewfinder that’s jumpy may be just caused by its camera lenses changing from a wide (normal) or ultra-wide lens to a telephoto (macro) lens, and vice-versa.

Why is my iPhone 13 camera not focusing?

Your iPhone 13 camera might not be focusing correctly because of physical dirt and grime on its lenses, software issues, or unnecessary switching of lenses.

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