How to Lock Your iPhone Camera’s Exposure and Focus on iOS

We’ve been talking about the camera on the iPhone lately and it’s widely agreed it is one of the best, if not the best camera on a mobile phone. Today, we want to explain how to lock the camera’s exposure and auto-focus.

Normally, when you use the camera on your iPhone or iPad, you can tap the screen and it will focus on the area that you select. Tap on a face, and it will focus on that face, tap on an object and that will be what the camera concentrates on. This is useful if you’re going to frame your shot and the parameters are constant, which is to say if you’re going to stand in one place and your lighting doesn’t change.

Thus, the camera lens will remain focused on that subject for as long as it is steadily pointed at it. If you move the camera, however, the focus will be lost and you will again have to tap the screen to refocus the camera.

It is possible though to lock the auto-focus onto a subject and have it remain there no matter how much you move the phone or tablet, or how variable the lighting conditions are.

To do this, first point the camera at your subject and choose the area you want to focus on. Instead of tapping, press and hold until the camera locks on to it. You will know this has happened because a yellow box with the words “AE/AF LOCK” in yellow will appear at the top.

You can move the camera now, pan down, up, left, or right and the box will remain locked there and will not lose focus (regardless of lighting conditions) until you tap the screen again or take a picture.

Being able to lock the exposure and focus can be ideal when lighting and depth conditions aren’t ideal. Moreover, you can use the lock feature with zoom so you’re not limited in that regard as well.

That’s it, from now on, whenever you want to capture a subject with certain depth of field and variable lighting conditions, you can lock the exposure and focus and get the shot you want.

If you have a question or comment you would like to add, please leave your feedback in our discussion forum.

Matt Klein is an aspiring Florida beach bum, displaced honorary Texan, and dyed-in-wool Ohio State Buckeye, who fancies himself a nerd-of-all-trades. His favorite topics might include operating systems, BBQ, roller skating, and trying to figure out how to explain quantum computers.