11 Ways to Fix Camera Not Working on iPhone 1213

11 Ways to Fix Camera Not Working on iPhone 12/13

Perhaps you’re in the middle of a family outing, a friend’s birthday party, or just walking idly in the middle of town. Suddenly, you notice something worth taking a picture of and sharing on the perfectly timed photos subreddit.

The bad news is your iPhone camera doesn’t seem to cooperate with you being able to take that shot. Or even the next one. Now you’re faced with finding out how to fix an iPhone 12 or 13’s camera not working issue.

As usual, TechJive is here to help. We’ll get you through the 11 different ways you could try to rescue your phone camera—ranging from the easiest to the moderately complicated methods. Let’s go!

FIX 1. Check if anything is blocking the camera lens.

Your iPhone 12 or 13 camera might seem like it isn’t working because you only see a black screen when you open the camera app. Note that if you can open the camera app, the issue might be physical, not software-related.

In that case, the best and only thing to do is check if anything is blocking your iPhone’s camera lenses. These “blocks” can be accumulated dirt and grime or parts of your phone case physically interfering with the cameras.

Wipe the front and back camera lenses.

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of steps1
Time to perform fix5 seconds
Things you neediPhone 12/13, clean and lint-free cloth, cleaning solution (optional)

The easiest way to remove any obstruction from your iPhone’s cameras is to wipe them. You can wipe your phone on your clothes if you’re in a hurry, but we don’t suggest you do that because it can scratch the glass of your cameras and the phone screen.

You should get a clean, lint-free cloth (preferably microfibre) to free your phone from dust and grime. 

For added cleaning power, pour or spray some cleaning solution on the cloth before wiping. Cleaning solutions are specifically made for electronics and are available online or in your nearest tech shop.

Gently wipe down your camera lens until clean. Hopefully, your lenses will now “see” your photo subjects correctly.

Remove your iPhone case, if any.

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of steps1
Time to perform fix5 seconds
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13 with a phone case and your bare hands

Admit it, iPhones are painstakingly fragile. That glass back is very pleasing to the eye, but is also no match to the impact from falling out of your pocket.

Glass is glass, and glass breaks,” as JerryRigEverything says, so many iPhone users opt to use a protective case for their devices. Phone cases, however, may physically interfere with your camera lenses. 

Problems can arise when you encounter ill-fitting cases that cover any of your phone’s lenses. There are also phone cases with built-in camera covers—and it’s unsurprising if one forgets to open these covers before opening the camera app.

Therefore, remove your phone case to ensure an unobstructed view from your camera (and the semi-heart attack that comes with it when you mistake it for the camera being broken). It’s just as simple as peeling off banana skin.

FIX 2. Exit and restart the Camera app.

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of steps4
Time to perform fix10-15 seconds
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13

If your iPhone 12 or 13 camera isn’t working, you can always exit and restart the app. The problem could just be a simple software bug.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Exit the Camera app by quickly flicking the phone screen’s bottom edge. You’ll then be taken to the home screen.
Step 2: Open the multitasking panel by slowly running your finger from the bottom to the middle of the screen until you see the “cards” of running apps.

Step 3: Flick the Camera app’s card quickly upwards to finally close the app. You can also do the same to the other open apps to free up the rest of your phone’s memory.

Step 4: Tap again on the Camera app icon to relaunch it.

FIX 3. Toggle between the front and back cameras.

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of steps2
Time to perform fix1-2 seconds
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13

Another fix for a seemingly broken iPhone camera is attempting to toggle between the front and back lenses. Sometimes, our gadgets need a few tries before successfully engaging their hardware with software.

Here’s how to change camera lenses from front to back:

Step 1: In an open Camera app, look for the flip icon (it should look like two arrows in a circle following each other). 
Step 2: Tap the flip icon to use the front lens (selfie camera) and vice versa.

FIX 4. Restart your iPhone.

Getting some rest is essential, even for our beloved gadgets. In the case of these electrical devices, “rest” can come in the form of turning off or restarting the device.

Leaving an iPhone operating without reboots for a long time can shorten the device’s lifespan. Parts of its software could accumulate errors, its memory might run out, and its hardware might break sooner than expected.

If your camera seems to be broken, a restart is a great troubleshooting move to do.

You can restart your iPhone normally with its side buttons or via Settings. If its screen is frozen or unresponsive to touch, you can also do a force restart to get things smooth sailing once more.

How to Turn Off and Restart the iPhone Normally

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of steps3
Time to perform fix30 seconds – 1 minute
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13

This is the simplest method you can do to turn off and restart your iPhone 12 or 13. 

Here’s how it should go:

Step 1: Press and hold the Volume Up/Volume Down and the Power buttons. Wait for the power off menu to appear.
Step 2: Move the power off slider to the left (Slide to power off) to turn off the iPhone.
Step 3: Turn on the phone—press and hold the Power button until you see the Apple logo. The restart is finished once your iPhone’s lock screen appears.

Note: You can also turn off the iPhone via Settings > General > Shut down.

How to Force Restart the iPhone

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of steps3
Time to perform fix30 seconds – 1 minute
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13

In case your screen freezes once you open the Camera app, you can force restart your phone to fix the issue.

You should follow the steps below:

Step 1: Press the Volume Up button quickly.
Step 2: Briefly press the Volume Down button, too.
Step 3: Press the Power button until the iPhone’s screen turns off. Just let go when the Apple logo shows up.

Let your iPhone 12 or 13 restart now, and when it’s done, hopefully, your camera will work as it should.

FIX 5. Update to the latest version of iOS.

It’s rare, but not entirely impossible, that the camera issue you’re experiencing isn’t an isolated case. When this happens, it will also be possible for Apple to roll out software fixes for cameras that don’t work via its regular iOS updates.

It’s why we highly suggest you regularly check for software updates or set your iPhone to download them over the air (OTA) once available automatically.

iOS can be updated via the computer (PC or Mac) or wirelessly via the iPhone itself. 

REMINDER: Back up your data before installing any software update to prevent the loss of important information.

Update iOS via Computer with iTunes (PC) Or Finder (Mac)

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Number of steps6
Time to perform fix10 – 40 minutes
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13, data cable, Windows PC or Mac

The iPhone’s iOS can be updated via computer. This is an excellent choice for those who want to be able to continue work or play while their phone updates on the side.

Here are the steps to update your iOS using the computer:

Step 1: Run iTunes on your PC or Finder on your Mac.
Step 2: Connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac with its data cable. This is usually the same one as your phone’s charging cable.
Step 3: [iTunes – PC] iTunes should automatically check for iOS updates for your iPhone and notify you if any are available. Click Update and go through the rest of the on-screen instructions.

Step 4: Another way to check for available iOS updates is to open your iPhone’s summary page. Look for your iPhone’s name in the Locations in Finder (Mac), or check the iTunes left toolbar (PC) and click your device name to open its summary.

Step 5: Click Check for Update on the summary page (both on PC and Mac).

Step 6: If an update is available, a pop-up will appear. Click Download and Update to begin.

Step 7: Follow the on-screen instructions on your computer and iPhone. These will guide you on the less crucial parts of the iOS update process.

Update iOS on Your iPhone

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Number of steps4
Time to perform fix10 – 40 minutes
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13, and a steady Wi-Fi or mobile data connection

Ensure that your iPhone’s battery is above 50% (plug it to a power outlet) and has a solid and stable internet connection. This will prevent update failure, data loss, or worse, a bricked iPhone.

Here’s how to update iOS over the air (OTA):

Step 1: On your unlocked phone, go to Settings. Scroll up a bit to see and select General.
Step 2: Tap on Software Update. Your iPhone will automatically check if updates are available if it hasn’t yet.
Step 3: Click the Download and Install button if an update is available. Enter your passcode to proceed with the software update.
Step 4: Let the phone download the iOS update. Once done, an Install Now button will appear; tap it to proceed and let the phone do its thing.

FIX 6. Update all apps.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
Number of steps4
Time to perform fix5-10 minutes (varies on the number of apps updated)
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13

The code for phone software is highly complex and also differs depending on the type of app and its respective developer. Thus, one app can sometimes have issues or an unintended, negative impact on other apps on your iPhone, like the Camera.

Therefore, to ensure that all of your apps, including the Camera app, are working in the best way possible, users must be keen on keeping them up-to-date.

To update your iPhone’s apps simultaneously and save time and effort, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the App Store by tapping its icon on your home screen.

Step 2: Tap your Apple ID icon (it’s at the upper right edge of the store).

Step 3: Check for available or upcoming automatic updates at the bottom of your Apple ID account settings.

Step 4: Tap Update All [1] to update the phone’s apps all at the same time. If you only want to update specific apps, tap the Update button for each app entry [2].

FIX 7. Reset all phone settings.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
Number of steps4
Time to perform fix15-30 seconds
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13

To sweep all possible causes of the not working status of your iPhone 12 or 13 cameras, we also suggest resetting all of its settings. 

Specific settings can also contribute to bugs or irregularities in your camera software, so it’s best to cover this base. Resetting all settings is the most efficient way to do so.

You can reset your phone’s settings by doing these:

Step 1: Open your iPhone’s Settings and choose General.

Step 2: Select Transfer or Reset iPhone to open this submenu and tap Reset

Step 3: Tap Reset All Settings from the set of options that will pop up from the lower part of the screen. Enter your device passcode when asked.

Step 4: The phone will ask for you to confirm the action two more times; just continue to tap Reset All Settings on these prompts. The phone will take its time doing the reset—it won’t be long, but still, be patient.

FIX 8. Uninstall any third-party camera apps.

The iPhone’s native camera app is arguably the best in the market today. However, it’s understandable if a user wants to try out a different, third-party camera app, especially if they like experimenting with new settings or modes.

The problem is third-party camera apps may end up incompatible with Apple hardware, so it’s still best to use the device camera with the stock camera app for the best performance.

You can uninstall any third-party camera app to troubleshoot an iPhone 12 or 13 camera that isn’t working. 

Here’s the fastest way to delete third-party camera apps:

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of steps2
Time to perform fix2-5 seconds per app
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13

In this example, we’re going to delete the GoPro’s Quik app—not really a third-party camera app, but the method to uninstall is still the same.

Step 1: Tap and hold the applicable app’s icon until a popup appears or all home screen icons jiggle. Each icon will also have a minus ( ) icon in the upper left corner.

Step 2: Tap the minus icon or Remove app and select Delete app on the popup. Tap Delete again on the second popup to confirm your action.

Here’s how to uninstall apps via Settings:

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
Number of steps3
Time to perform fix15-30 seconds
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13

Uninstalling apps via Settings has a couple more steps than doing the same via the home screen. However, if you have a huge app library, you’ll need more help remembering what each one does.

This is where the Settings method shines. It’s more helpful because you’ll get to see detailed descriptions of each app you have on your phone, so it will be easier to distinguish camera apps from those that aren’t.

Step 1: Open Settings and tap the Apple ID icon at the upper right corner of the screen to see your account details.

Step 2: Scroll down to see all of your installed apps. Choose the app you want to uninstall (remember, it should be a third-party camera app) and swipe left on its entry to uncover a Delete button. Tap that button to initiate app deletion/uninstall.

Step 3: Tap Delete to confirm your action.

FIX 9. Tinker with Accessibility options.

For some reason we can’t fully explain yet, some users have fixed their iPhone 12 or 13 cameras that aren’t working correctly by tinkering with some of the phone’s Accessibility options: Assistive Touch and VoiceOver.

Perhaps it’s another thing about incompatible codes; we’re not sure. But we’re not complaining because it’s a welcome troubleshooting method as long as it works!

You can toggle these features on and off in Siri or via Settings.

How to toggle Assistive Touch or VoiceOver using Siri:

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of steps2
Time to perform fix3-5 seconds
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13

The quickest way to toggle Assistive Touch and VoiceOver on and off is with the help of our favourite digital assistant, Siri.

Step 1: Speak “Hey Siri,” and follow it with the command, “Turn on (or off) Assistive Touch.” Say the opposite command to toggle the same feature the other way; the same method goes for toggling the VoiceOver feature. 
Step 2: Open your camera to check if the flash or any other feature that wasn’t working now does.

How to toggle Assistive Touch or VoiceOver in Settings:

DifficultySomewhat Hard ●●●●○
Number of steps8
Time to perform fix30 seconds – 1 minute
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13

In case you can’t use Siri (for example, you’re in public), you can toggle these Accessibility features (and more!) in Settings.

Step 1: Open your phone’s Settings, look for and tap Accessibility.

Step 2: Select Touch to open its specific settings and tap Assistive Touch to open its menu. 

Step 3: Toggle Assistive Touch to the ON (or OFF) position. 

Step 4: Go back to Accessibility and tap VoiceOver.  Then toggle it ON or OFF.

Step 5: Restart your iPhone by returning to the main Settings menu, then General > Shut down.
Step 6: Once you see the power off slider, tap the Assistive touch button (if you turned it ON) to show its menu. Tap and hold the virtual Home button there until the passcode screen appears.
Step 7: Select Cancel to disable FaceID, or enter your passcode to enable it.
Step 8: Open the camera to check if it’s now working.

FIX 10. Enable the camera permission in applicable apps.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
Number of steps3
Time to perform fix10-30 seconds
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13

It isn’t only the Camera app that could end up with issues and not work. There could be cases where the camera can fail to work in other apps that use your iPhone’s camera module, like ones for scanning QR codes or social networking.

Here, the proper action is to check and activate camera access permission for your apps.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Go to Settings and open Privacy & Security.

Step 2: Tap Camera.

Step 3: Toggle the Camera permission ON for apps you allow to access your device’s camera module.

FIX 11. Factory reset your iPhone.

A factory reset is one of the last things you can do to your phone if other possible fixes for its broken or not working camera have been exhausted. 

However, this is the most extreme method because it deletes all files and settings and reverts your phone’s software to a spotless slate.

REMINDER: Make a backup of your iPhone data and files before performing a factory reset.

Factory Reset the iPhone via Computer (PC/Mac)

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Number of steps4
Time to perform fix15-30 minutes
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13, data cable (optional), PC or Mac computer, stable internet connection

You can easily factory reset your phone using your PC or Mac. It could take a couple more steps than updating OTA on the iPhone, but connecting to a computer is a good alternative.

This is how to factory reset your phone using a computer:

Step 1: Connect the iPhone to the computer (Mac or PC) using its data cable or through Wi-Fi sync. Make sure the cable is inserted into the proper computer port or your Wi-Fi connection is stable.
Step 2: Once your iPhone’s name appears (under Finder in Mac or Devices in iTunes/PC), click it to see the device summary.

Step 3: Click Restore iPhone to initiate a factory reset.

Step 4: Confirm your action by clicking Restore > Next > Agree on the series of pop-ups that will appear. The rest of the reset instructions will be displayed on-screen and on your iPhone—don’t be afraid to go with the flow.






Factory Reset with Only the iPhone

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
Number of steps4
Time to perform fix5-10 minutes
Things you neediPhone 12 or 13

Factory resetting iPhones can be done the fastest on the device itself. All you’ll need is the device and nothing else.

Here’s how to run a factory reset via iPhone settings:

Step 1: Open your device’s Settings. Find your way to General.

Step 2: Scroll to the end of the menu and tap Transfer or Reset iPhone.

Step 3: Options for resetting your iPhone will appear at the bottom of the screen. Select Erase All Content and Settings to reset your phone’s software to “brand new.”

Step 4: You’ll be asked twice to confirm the Reset—tap Continue and Erase iPhone. Wait until the phone finishes the factory reset.


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