How To Set Focus And Adjust Exposure In The iOS 8 Camera App

Apple regularly adds something new to make the camera on the iPhone better with each successive model. With the past few versions of iOS, Apple has also been making improvements to the camera app. Features like panoramic photos, a timer, time-lapse video recording, and even filters have been added. With iOS 8 the most noteworthy addition to the Camera app was the ability to set focus and exposure separately. This isn’t something only newer devices can do. Long before Apple added this ability to the camera app, lots of apps in the App Store existed that allowed you to set focus and exposure separately. Now that it’s a stock feature, users won’t have to hunt down a good app to achieve this. Here’s how you can set the focus and exposure in the Camera app in iOS 8.


Older versions of iOS allowed you to set and lock the focal point when taking a picture. The exposure was automatically set for the same point as the focus area. To set focus in iOS 8, tap anywhere on the image and hold until a solid yellow box appears. If you have a shaky hand, you can lock the focus point by tapping and holding on the screen until an AE/AF Lock tag appears at the top of the view finder. This is exactly the same as it was in older versions of the OS though you might be confused because the control quickly transits to the exposure setting.


When you tap an area on the screen, the yellow square that appears with a little sun next to it is the exposure setting. You can tap it and you will see the lighting adjust for the picture accordingly but if despite trying different points, you don’t like the level of exposure you’re getting, you can increase or decrease it to suit yourself.

Tap on the screen and when the box with the sun next to it appears, slide your finger (without lifting it after setting the exposure point) up or down. You will see a slider appear next to the box and the little sun icon will move up and down with your finger. Moving it up increases exposure and moving it down decreases it.



The control is nice to have but a little clumsy to use. I wouldn’t mind slightly larger controls if it meant I could manage them better.

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About Kelli Smith

Kelli Smith
Kelli runs customer support and creates content for Skillcrush, a digital skills training and education platform with friendly instructors, an active student community, and laser focus on helping you achieve your career goals with technology. She has an MBA and successfully ran an international company and her own freelancing business before pursuing her passion for tech by taking advanced web development classes. Kelli loves listening to tech podcasts at 2x speed, looking for cute Corgi photos online and teaching and performing country line dancing—as a true Texan living in Finland would do. Say hi on Twitter.

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