Does taking pictures of the sun damage an iPhone?

Does taking pictures of the sun damage an iPhone?

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taking photo of sunrise using iPhone. - sun damage an iPhone
Does taking pictures of the sun damage your iPhone?

Everybody wants a good beach photo. However, just like your skin and your eyes, take note that your iPhone’s camera is not totally safe from the sun, too. So, you have to be careful. Will the exposure to the sun damage an iPhone, even if it’s a newer model like the iPhone 11?

Yes, frequently taking pictures of the sun directly will eventually damage your iPhone and its camera. The sun’s heat is the culprit. iPhone cameras use Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) sensors, which the sun’s heat can permanently damage, especially if you take long exposure photos. Even a few minutes of direct exposure can already have an impact on the camera’s sensors. Besides that, the heat from the sun can also affect the camera’s other internal parts.

In this article, we will expand on our answer above. We will also provide some damage-prevention tips.

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How does the sun damage an iPhone camera?

blonde girl taking photos of the bright sun in an urban area. - sun damage an iPhone
The sun’s heat, especially, can potentially deteriorate your camera sensors.

The iPhone cameras have been the devices’ selling point to their avid fans. Despite the tight-knit competition in the smartphone marketplace, people still fall in line for the iPhone. However, that doesn’t mean it’s safe from damage from the sun.  

To delve more into how the sun damages an iPhone, you should get to know its sensors better. Through this, you can also know how your iPhone camera works and the ways to prevent heat damage from occurring. 

Related: iPhone Camera Settings for Sunrises: 11 Tips for Great Pics

The iPhone camera’s sensors: CMOS 

a cross section of a black smartphone's sensor parts. - sun damage an iPhone
CMOS sensors may be strong but that doesn’t mean they’re invincible.

The iPad and iPhone cameras use Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS), which are image sensors that convert light to electrons. CMOS sensors are known to produce lower quality images when compared to Charged-Couple Device (CCD) sensors. However, despite having CMOS sensors, the iPhone camera compensates through its powerful camera software, which is effective in reducing noise and sharpening the final image. 

Moreover, CMOS sensors are cheaper to produce, more robust than CCD sensors and have longer battery life. In fact, in an experiment where the durability of CCD and CMOS consumer-type camera sensors were tested using lasers, both were damaged but the CMOS sensors proved to be sturdier. 

a space-gray iPhone camera laid on denim clothing.- sun damage an iPhone
CMOS sensors can withstand damage better than CCD sensors.

Nevertheless, you still shouldn’t be complacent when using your iPhone camera to shoot bright sunny skies. Take note that CMOS sensors are like small computer chips, which means they already generate a small amount of heat, even if you’re just taking a few photos. 

Now, think about taking numerous amount of photos in a hot and bright environment such as the beach. More likely, the CMOS sensors in your iPhone camera will generate even more heat. If you’re neglectful of this activity and if you allow this to happen all the time, then your camera’s sensors will eventually be up to no good. 

As you can see, taking photos of sunsets and sunrises will not damage your iPhone. However, it all boils down to your camera usage and habits. Even though most CMOS sensors have a UV coating and the ones in the iPhone cameras are small, your phone can still heat up to the point of damage. And it will be more likely because of neglect.

What to do if your iPhone heats up

two white iPhones, with one of them having its battery taken out.
Cool down your iPhone to avoid damaging the sensors.

Now you know the CMOS are robust but not totally susceptible to heat damage. Therefore, it’s only logical that you have to be wary of how your phone heats up. Follow these tips if your phone starts to warm. 

  • On a hot day, avoid leaving your phone in an enclosed space such as your car or a small humid room. 
  • If you notice your phone starting to heat up, cool it down by removing the case. A better step would be to get an iPhone case with good ventilation or invest in a portable iPhone cooler radiator.
  • On a sunny day, don’t let your phone out when you’re not using it. Keep it in your bag or place it under a shady spot. 
  • Get off the grid temporarily and turn on your AirPlane mode. It saves your phone’s battery power, which is usually consumed by using cellular data or WiFi.
  • Turn off your phone for a while. Like people, your phone needs to shut the world off and take a breather.
  • Turn off your GPS and avoid using Maps, as these two generate a lot of heat on your phone.
  • If you’re driving a car, place your iPhone mounting device (if you have one) near the AC vents. 
  • If you play mobile games constantly, definitely invest in a cooling device for iPhones that have built-in fans. You should get an iPhone radiator to prevent your iPhone from overheating.
  • Uninstall your heavy apps. Some of those might be corrupted, which might be straining your phone, causing it to easily heat up.
  • Check if your apps run background processes. You can toggle them off by going to Settings > General > Background App Refresh. 
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iPhone 11 Pro camera sensors: What to look forward

For the iPhone 11 Pro, three’s a powerful crowd.

iPhone cameras have been using cameras manufactured by Sony and Omnivision. And with the new iPhone 11 Pro’s three beast cameras, should you still be worried about it getting damaged by heat? 

Most probably, your mind will be at ease because of their powerful sensors. While they don’t guarantee total susceptibility from the sun’s heat, the options and tricks of the three sensors can allow you to take great photos easily.

As a  result, you won’t be spending too much time taking numerous snapshots, saving your phone from the heat and battery-draining camera usage.

Related: How to Take Amazing Beach Pictures with an iPhone

Check out the features of the iPhone Pro camera sensors:

  • The iPhone 11 Pro has three sensors from three cameras—the Ultra-Wide camera, the Telephoto camera, and the Wide camera. 
  • Each of the three cameras has 12-megapixel sensors. 
  • Any of the three cameras can also record 4K-resolution video at 60 frames per second (fps).
  • The power lies in the three sensors’ ability to combine their data, producing stunning and detailed low-light shots and clips.
  • Even if you’re just using one camera, the other two sensors still help in balancing the exposure levels of your final photo.
  • The iOS 13 software allows you to toggle clips quickly from any of the three sensors. 
  • The telephoto lens allows 2x optical zoom, which generates a detailed, better output compared to digital zoom. 

Conclusion 

Going to the beach may give you that detox from the stress of life. However, before you hit the shores, don’t forget to protect your skin, eyes, and your iPhone camera from the heat of the sun. Therefore, don’t be complacent—if you like the beach bum lifestyle, take the necessary steps to sustain your iPhone camera’s quality and health. Invest in an iPhone case with good ventilation or a cooling device for iPhone that secures your camera from heat damage.

Photo Video Lounge is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc.

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