How to Use the Camera from Lock Screen in iOS 5

Oct 14, 2011 - 73 Comments

iPhone camera from lockscreen iOS 5

Yet another great feature of iOS 5 is the instant camera access from your lock screen. This lets you quickly pull out your iPhone (or iPad and iPod touch of course) and take pictures without having to unlock the iPhone or clicking on the camera app.

Here’s how to use this quick camera access trick in iOS 5 from the lock screen of iPad or iPhone.

From the iOS 5 Lock Screen:

  • Double-tap on the Home button, a camera icon will appear next to the unlock slider
  • Tap on the Camera for immediate camera access

Use the camera from lock screen in iOS 5

Once you are in the camera app, you can use the volume up button as a shutter to take pictures. Yet another reason to upgrade to iOS 5 if you haven’t done so already.

Thanks for the tip Andy

Update: You now swipe up to reveal the lock screen camera in iOS 5.1

Update 2: The above steps are specific to iOS 5, later iOS versions have different lock screen camera access methods that involve swiping up or swiping left, or hard pressing on a little digital button on the lock screen.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Sarah says:

    Has anyone had issues with when using the camera on the lock screen when you take the pictures this way and then go into the photo album the pictures taken from the lock screen do not show up?

    I have been having this issue since they updated the software.

    Any Ideas?

    Thanks for the help!

  2. mikayla says:

    I have it, but when i click on it the screen kinda just bounces up and you see a tiny bit of the camera then it goes back. What do I do to fix it??

  3. Lindsey says:

    Is there a way to get rid of this? My two year old was quick to figure this out and I am deleting 83 pictures of the cieling and his forehead everyday.

  4. Vanessa says:

    How do I take a pic of my lock screen, not FROM my lock screen?

  5. sopoul says:

    i have and 2 ipod how to use ipod can you tell me please

  6. Savannah says:

    I tried using the camera button on my lock screen but when i double click the home button it gives me the option to change my music and the volume setting and i updated and when i press the camera button the top part of my screen goes up about an eigth the goes back down with out opening the camera and i cant get rid of the camera icon ethier is there something wrong with my ipod ??

  7. KayleeP. says:

    Is there any way to get rid of the button? I don’t have the option to double click, it’s just there and i would like to get rid of it.

  8. SuzzieQ says:

    Thank you for showing me this! My son and I thought it was so I could unlock my iPhone taking a picture of myself. If it weren’t for this article, we would still be trying to figure out why it wasn’t unlocking :) Thank you!

    Suzie Quartez
    Option One Mortgage Industry

    Sent from my iPhone

  9. Sydney says:

    On my iPhone 4 I have the newest upgrade, but when I double click the home button the camera icon will pop up. The only downside is when I click the camera icon it’ll act like its opening the camera but the screen goes right back down.. I don’t know what’s wrong, or how to fix it/: help?

  10. Jollyscholar says:

    Thx for this note about swiping vs. tapping – no one else, including the supposed instructions above mentioned this and for the life of me I couldn’t figure it out!

  11. Heather says:

    I would also like to know how to take the camera icon off the main screen. If you put the passcode lock on you, even though you need to put in your passcode to unlock the phone you can still make Emergency Calls, not well thought about!!!

    • Tb says:

      It’s an FCC regulation that all cell phones must be able to make emergency calls to 911, that’s not Apple’s decision. Every cell phone is the same in that regard, Android, Windows, etc.

  12. Justbritt321 says:

    I agree and would like to take it off of mine as well. Please let me know if you get an answer!

  13. Davis says:

    My ios 4 just updated to 5.1 this morning. The camera icon is on the lock screen by default. It’s not an option by double clicking home. And yes, you do have to slide it up. I don’t like it there by default, but there does not seem to be a way to get it off. Even though you have to slide the camera app up from the lock screen, I still don’t want it sliding up and opening while putting it in my pocket, thus taking pics of my pocket and running down the battery. ANy solutions?

    • Wayne says:

      I have just updated my phone today as well and the photo icon on the front screen. I have tested it and there is no way a pocket will open the camera app. It would appear only my finger or a touch screen pen will work. I like it. It’s a bit quicker to get the camera open and with kids you need to be quick.

  14. Tom says:

    Thank you for the solution. I probably would never have figured that out. Uh Duh.. :)

  15. bruce says:

    If you swipe up it opens the camera. Since update the click camera from the lock screen no longer works. Now just swipe up and works.

  16. Kenny says:

    I have an iphone 4s with 5.1 installed. I don’t even have to tap the home button twice — I just slide up the camera icon and I can take pictures. Hitting the home button then gets me to all the other apps. If I turn on password lock then it forces me to enter the password first.

    Seems ok but I just hope that I’m not accidentally taking a lot of pics since you can just slide on the lock screen.

  17. Tom says:

    I have an iPhone 4 with iOS 5.1 installed. When I tap the camera icon from the lock screen the lock screen starts to move about a quarter inch and then moves back into position without access to the camera app??? What’s going on?

    • Josh says:

      Tom, I was having the same problem after updating. The trick is that you don’t just CLICK the icon now, you have to swipe it up. If you look closely there are little tracers above and below the image. Swipe up on the screen and it should open for you.

  18. […] Launch the Camera app from home screen or lock screen […]

  19. Danielle says:

    I have the newest update on my Ipod touch and when i click on the camera icon on the lock screen then press the center button it takes me to my home screen without needing a password. Why does this happen?

  20. Fisk says:

    I don’t know how the hell I did that, but I took a screenshot of my lock screen on my iPad 2 with iOS5.0.1.

    Does anyone know’s an explanation for that?

    • Ret says:

      U can take a shot of whatever is depicted on ur screen, if u press the home button AND the lock button simultaneously.
      (it’s not an ios5 feature, but an old one)

  21. Paula says:

    Question: I’m running ios5 on an iphon4; the poster who said that unlocking by double clicking and opening the camera app without them having to enter a passcode was correct– double tap gets me to the camera icon without a swipe and/or code; if I take a pic or not, but simply repress the center button, my home screen appears!? In other words, there is no need for a pass code of u double tap the center Hutton and open the camera app…

    I’m not sure why my phone does this most others evidently don’t…? Help!

  22. Bob says:

    Just installed iOS 5 on iPhone 4 & iPad 1. Lock screen double tap Home brings up camera icon as advertised. On iPad 1 photo flower icon automatically appears beside lock screen slider, allowing bypass of password. I assumed the flower was there instead of the camera icon because no camera in iPad 1. But how do you get rid of the flower so that password cannot be bypassed?

    • Barnaby says:

      To turn off that feature go to your settings, then general, then passcode lock, enter your password, then where it says picture frame, set it to off, and the flower icon will no longer be there.

  23. Meg Vancil says:

    STUFF as an acronym for Something That Undermines Family Fun is brilliant! Thanks!

  24. KC says:

    The idea for slide to open, is to avoid opening an app. accidentally, in your pocket. With the camera icon on the lock screen, it could be tapped and open camera app. unknowingly, using battery. It seem as though Apple programed this by default to keep from unknowingly running your battery down. Double tap the home button from the lock screen would avoid this issue.

  25. BaJie says:

    A few idiots need to realise that all ipad2’s do not come with iOS5, they come with the A5 chip (Massive Difference)
    Once you install iOS5 the double tap works on the iPad2 / iPhone 4S / iPod Touch

    • Stace says:

      I have iOS 5.0.1 on my iPad 2. No camera button when double tapping on home. So, to borrow your phrase, a few idiots need to realize you can’t claim it works on an iPad 2 if you haven’t actually used one.

  26. Kaleigh says:

    Hello! I recently updated my iphone to the ios 5. And I was wondering if I could somehow change this photo icon to go to my home screen or maybe another screen instead of the camera. Is this in anyway possible?

  27. Brandon says:

    This feature is a little disappointing, since you have to double-tap the home button every time to get the camera button. So instead of tap-swipe-tap, you get to tap-tap-tap. It would be better if it were located on the lock screen by default.

    • True, but consider this… it’s tap-tap on one button, move, then tap on an icon not very far away from that button. Or it’s tap, move, swipe a distance, move to where the camera icon is, tap. Regardless of the number of steps, it’s still faster the new way.

      And that’s presuming the camera app icon is on the page that you end up on after swiping the phone open. If the app’s icon is two or four pages away from the page you swipe open, that’s additional time and gestures. That doesn’t factor in the new method.

      • Brandon says:

        True, but I still wish I had the option to have the camera button on the lock screen by default. It would make the feature much better IMO.

        • na ah says:

          i concur. i used to have a great feature when my phone was jailbroken, when i pressed the volume up/down buttons together wherever i was it would bring me to the camera, simple and genius.

    • Kosmo says:

      Weird. My camera button seems to be in place on the lock screen by default. It is always there.
      In fact the reason I am reading this thread is to see if there a way of changing it, getting the camera button off of my lock screen.

  28. Sghnc says:

    There is a hack to this; if you go to camera from the lock screen like how you said and then you press the home button, you go to where all the apps are and not back to the lock screen

    • your stupid says:

      Really ? a hack ? your an idiot.

      You push the buttons on the phone and they respond as they are supposed to,,, moron

      • Redmama says:

        No he’s not stupid, he’s right. After you go into the camera app from the lock screen, if you press the home button, it takes you to your home screen, without asking for your passcode. Meaning if someone found your iphone/ipod/ipad, they wouldn’t need your passcode to get into it.

        • na ah says:

          no, it asked me for my passcode when i pressed home from camera. maybe because im on 5.0.1?

        • Infernova says:

          If you have a passcode, it asks you for it when you press home from the lockscreen camera. If you don’t have a passcode enabled, it takes you to the home screen.

          Even on iOS 5.0 GM

          • Adam Finn says:

            I have passcode enabled but it bypasses it just like he said

          • Darry says:

            Your iPhone is not locked if you can navigate to the home screen. You must have the passcode lock time set at something other than “Immediately”. Wait the 1, 5, 15, etc., minutes until your phone is actually locked then the passcode will be required when you try to do something other than take a picture.

      • Simon says:

        The funniest thing about saying, *your stupid* is that it should be *you’re stupid*. Made me laugh, thanks.

        • Chris F. says:

          I had the same issue, I had a password previously set up and when I went to camera by sliding the camera icon up (from the locked screen- prior to entering password) it would take me to camera and then I could hit the home circle and it would bypass the password. I went into settings and turned my password on and then off- it asked me to enter my password twice to do so. Afterward, I relocked my phone and checked again. Bypass is gone.

          Still hate that you can see pics though from the locked camera slide screen. I like being able to take pics quick, but if I drop my phone I dont want someone having access to every pic I have ever taken on there! This needs to be fixed.

  29. Shantanu says:

    Same here does not work on ipad 2 . Get the flower thingie icon

  30. helmuth says:

    does not work on iPad2 and they all have iOS5. btw I have installed it on 3 IPads now but fail to see what ithe big deal is all about, sorry

  31. Budisatva says:

    This comes from Cydia like in 2009, finally becomes a feature.

  32. Jerky says:

    To see the Camera button on the lockscreen you have to double-click the home button and run iOS 5. No iOS 5 = no camera button!

  33. PRiCK says:

    Works on iphone. Both the camera access and mp3 controls show in lock screen.

  34. Sandy says:

    For me it actually brings up my music still in the lock screen and I can control the volume and skip back and forth to other songs. Ha ha!!!!

    • Lee Yaw On says:

      Mine also

    • Speed says:

      Just push home once to open screen then tap camera once and pull screen up with finger. Camera will appear. I too also tapped twice and and got music player. Had to play around to get right combo. Good Luck

    • Karen says:

      I may be the last person to figure this out, but on my iphone 3gs, double clicking brings up the music. Upward sweep from the camera icon opens the camera.

    • ken says:

      Can someone help me? I used the locked screen camera method, but now my music is up on the locked scree and I cant access the camera through the locked screen. I dont know what to do to fix it. Thanks

  35. Tryg says:

    You can also use the controls on the headphones to snap a picture.

  36. lolz says:

    Old tweak in Cydia.

  37. Charlie says:

    Its probably as fast it will get, but I would not say its immediate. You still have to wait for the software to start. That is if it does not hang first.

    3Gs user.

  38. Gary says:

    No, it doesn’t work on ipad2

  39. afrodjmac says:

    yea I only get the slide show flower or the iPod player thingy :\

  40. Max says:

    Indeed this feature isn’t present on the (or at least my) iPad 2.

  41. mw says:

    Thanks. Did not work on ipad2 with 5.0. No camera icon appears as you depict even when double tapping

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