How to Use the Lock Screen Camera in iOS 7 & iOS 8

Mar 8, 2012 - 39 Comments

iOS Camera icon You may have noticed that with new versions of iOS on iPhone and iPod touch, the behavior changed for how to access the lock screen camera compared to iOS earlier versions. That camera change actually happened with iOS 5.1 and has carried forward to iOS 6, iOS 7, and iOS 8, and it has has caused some confusion as to how it works compared to earlier versions.

The confusion happens when a user taps on the iPhone Camera at the locked screen, which they notice that if you just tap on the camera icon, it now just causes the screen to bounce but the camera doesn’t open. No, the bouncing screen doesn’t mean the camera isn’t working anymore, that little bounce is intended to indicate how the locked screen camera access feature works.

So the big question is: how do you access the lock screen of an iPhone with a new version of iOS like iOS 7 and iOS 8?
You now swipe up to activate the lock screen camera in new versions of iOS. Likewise, you can swipe down to deactivate the camera and return back to the lock screen.

This works the same in all new versions of iOS, though it may look slightly different. The thing to remember is that to access the camera you must swipe up from the camera icon in the corner. If you swipe too broadly from the bottom of the screen, the Control Center opens instead, which, while you can access the camera from there too, it’s not as fast.

Access the Lock Screen Camera in iOS 7 & iOS 8 by Swiping Up from the Camera Icon

The camera access will actually follow your finger, so if you want to you can tap and hold onto the camera icon, then slowly slide it up. That may help you get the hang of the feature, but once you get it down, you can access the camera with a small flick up.

You can always unlock the device too and then tap on the Camera icon itself, but that sort of defeats the purpose of the quickness of the lockscreen access.

New Lock Screen Camera Gesture in iOS 5.1

Get used to the new swipe gesture, it’s actually faster than the double-tap home button method before in iOS 5, and you’ll be able to take pictures quicker than ever after you get accustomed to it.

iOS 5.1 Lock Screen Camera

There is no way to return to the old behavior anyway, so old habits will have to be broken here. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as this swipe-up trick should help to prevent accidentally opening the camera, while still allowing users to secure their devices with a locked passcode too.


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


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. […] the screen by hitting the power button, and note the lock screen gesture based slide-to-access camera option is now […]

  2. hmog says:

    I AGREE WITH TOM how do I disable this crappy feature- I really do NOT want someone to pickup my phone and add photos- why is this even added to the updates? Who thinks this is a good idea?!!

  3. Joe says:

    So simple yet – really? Just like everyone else I had to research it to…

  4. […] missed the shot you were hoping to get. Obviously the quickest way to access the iPhone camera is using the lock screen camera swipe instead of manually launching the Camera app, but what if both methods take a long time to […]

  5. Landon says:

    I am having a different problem that figuring out how to bring up the camera. All the photos I took from the lock screen do not show up in my camera roll. They are just black squares. Can anyone help me with this? I am on 5.1.1

  6. […] text alongside that icon. The “Edit” option will not be visible from the lock screen camera roll, you must be in the Photos app directly. stLight.options({ […]

  7. […] the Camera app as usual and aim it at whatever you want to take a picture […]

  8. Jason says:

    I seriously thought it was broken myself. I couldn’t see the little swipe line indicators until this post was found. I feel like a dummy that I didn’t notice it… it was driving me crzy!

  9. […] Open the Camera app or swipe up to access the lock screen camera […]

  10. Liz says:

    @Kim: On your normal locked screen, just tap your home button or lock/unlock button so your locked screen comes on and is lit up. Normally we would swipe across (from left to right) to unlock the iphone. In this case to access this shortcut to the camera app, you need to place your finger on the camera icon (on the furthest bottom right croner, to the right-side of the “slide to unlock” bar), hold it down and “flick” up. Or you can also place your finger on it to hold the button and drag it upwards. You should see the bottom of your locked screen following your finger upwards. Once in the camera mode, you can also drag from anywhere on the top of your screen and “flick” or drag it downwards this time to get back to former the locked screen. or press the lock/unlock button on the top right on the phone itself.

    @Tom: It only allows you to delete the photos you snapped in that “session” of when you swiped up to use the shortcut to the camera app… I tried snapping a photo, swiped down (meaning to exit). Swiped up (to open camera again) and it didn’t allow me to view or delete any pictures which are already stored in my album. If you press the bottom left icon to view pictures in your album it says “Your iPhone is locked. Unlock your iPhone to see all of your photos and videos.”

    Previously i was wondering why the screen just bounced when i pressed the camera icon and nothing happened. So thank you for posting this and letting me in on this oh-so-very-convenient-and-quick feature! :) I just noticed a bug? with this though… if you are in the camera via short-cut mode, if you press the home button, you would go to your main screen which is unlocked. Meaning anyone can just swipe your camera using this feature, while in this mode just press your home button AND access everything on your phone!!! o.O

  11. Kim says:

    The explanation is not only insulting but poorly written.

    Can someone pls rewrite with actual instructions?

    I wipe up and it doesnt work.
    I tap and wipe and it doesng work.
    Randomly i get it to work but i still dont know how its supposed to work – plx explain? Thx!!!!

  12. Tom says:

    I love the way someone can pick up my locked iPhone and start taking pictures. Or worst still look through my photos and start deleting them too! Marvellous upgrade. Now how do I disable this feature???

  13. Morgan says:

    Does thie work on the iPad 2 when it is updated to iOS 5.1? Thanks

  14. Jess says:

    Thanks so much for this! I was so confused why I suddenly couldn’t tap my camera!

  15. Dan says:

    No access to mail or text a photo is a security feature. Since you have not entered a password, you may not access those features due to the possibility that you are not the phone’s owner and the nasty things a non owner might do to misrepresent the owner. Smart, actually.

  16. Thank you so much! says:

    Thanks! This really helped me to figure this out! I thought that my phone was broken! :D

  17. megan hayes says:

    thank you so was trying everything to get my screen back to the old way but thanks for that info.

  18. Jim Gates says:

    Is it only on my phone or with everyone – when entering your camera using this method there’s no way to email a camera roll picture or video, nor message it – NOT other options. You have to exit this view and go in through the camera the normal way to get those options.

    I hope they fix THAT soon. Doesn’t make sense to have to exit to get back in just for those options.

  19. timoby2k says:

    pretty lame.. no way to figure out you need to push up.. the bounce thing just made me think i was doing it wrong..

  20. hilarie says:

    I updated a half hour ago. I had no idea why the touted camera thing no longer worked. I Googled. I found this. Does this make me smart or dumb, 9-year-old 2-seconders?

    What a bunch of arrogant m-fers. I don’t RTFM on almost anything but I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing intuitive about either ios or OSX. The only way you figure out new stuff in those systems fast and on your own is through studying them assiduously. Mostly you do it by asking.

    Studying assiduously can be a good thing to do in a complex discipline. Succeeding at it is not a mark of intelligence so much as diligence. Using an iPhone is not (supposed to be) a complex discipline. Marketing is: Easy. Reality is: Complex and arbitrary.

    Yeah, I really value all the time I spend reading how I must now interact with my phone. So much better than walking with a dog. So much like work.

  21. margaret says:

    I agree with GGBBYeah….I would love to be able to direct the camera feature to any app, especially Hipstamatic, which is my preferred camera app.

  22. Minx says:

    Well said Zorro. Jaded with people belittling others as if they set some kind of standard on how quickly one should learn or know how to do something. It’s frivolous and doesn’t give you any sort of bragging rights.

  23. Zorro says:

    I can’t believe the “I’m smarter than everyone and I figured it out in 2 seconds” comments. Pro Tip for you guys: Nobody gives a damn!

    Just because you live on your phone trying to learn every feature or have some help desk job and make a measly $40,000.00 a year does it mean that your opinion matters. It doesn’t!

    Grow up and learn how to interact with other humans. Probably explains why you are still single sitting at home lonely on the weekend playing video games!

    • Jimmy John says:

      I agree with Zorro. I’m pretty smart and I couldn’t figure it out. And it’s not like Apple hasn’t pushed software updates before that were less than perfect. Lime – KMA!

  24. GGBBYeah says:

    It would be awesome if this feature can be modified to go to the voice memo app instead of the camera

  25. Lime says:

    I knew someone would reply that it helped. I navigate through life in constant amazement of the things I see on a daily basis that people can’t figure out, or do so poorly at, that it just boggles the mind. I figured it out in 2 seconds. I then handed it to my 9 year old, he tapped it twice and swiped it up and had it figured out in the same 2 seconds. I read tech blogs daily and also own/ moderate one. You wouldn’t believe how many people dont know you can lock the screen from rotating on the iPhone. The owners manual is on the phone! Seriously?! Blown away daily. I smh at this, and wonder why the country is where it’s at today.

  26. David says:

    This feature does not seem to exist on the iPad version (9B176) of 5.1 like it does on the iPhone version (9B179). Wonder why?

  27. Cassie says:

    Wow thanks I thought it was broken!

  28. Jack says:

    This would all be nice if you could even get the update to 5.1. I’ve been trying for two days now, several times, and can not get a connection to the servers. Even a direct download from another site will not connect.

    • Joi says:

      I can’t either, Jack. I keep getting a message that says “Unable to check for update. An error occurred while checking for a software update”. I dont have my Mac yet so OTA is the ony way I can do it at the moment and it’s not working. I was wondering if I was the only one having this issue. That being said, anybody know what the deal is? I have an iPhone 4S.

  29. tricky business says:

    Yeah, it’s pretty lame if you couldn’t figure this one out… I Read more ‘reviews’ about this new feature and i was kinda amazed by peoples reactions. “When i press it, it only jumps up and down for a short period? Is it a bug?” What do you think Sherlock? Geeze…

  30. Jon Goober says:

    Who couldn’t figure this out on there own? Mariah may have some deficiencies of a cellular origin going on in her brain.

    • Grammar Guy says:

      Perhaps you can work on figuring out the difference between there, their, and they’re? Example: It sounds like from the post up there, that what they’re saying is that their grammar sucks.

    • Sammysalsa says:

      Couldnt figure it out that’s y I searched it

  31. […] Update: You now swipe up to reveal the lock screen camera in iOS 5.1 […]

    • vortexnad says:

      OK…I am a techno-tard at the best of times, but I seriously thought the last upgrade finished off my iphone 4 video recorder. That is why I come here first, so that this site & you techno-brainiacs can enlighten me. :)

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