Why the camera on your iPhone is black and how to fix it

Why the camera on your iPhone is black and how to fix it

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Two iPhones on wooden table.
Why the camera on your iPhone is black and how to fix it

It was a perfect Sunday morning with your family—until you were about to take a picture and noticed that the camera on your iPhone is black. Your other apps are okay but your iPhone camera seems to have gone “blind”. What should you do? Is it still fixable? 

In this article, we’ll discuss the few possible reasons why your iPhone camera has a black screen. Along with that, we’ll provide some tips on how to fix it. 

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Why your iPhone camera has a black screen

Your iPhone camera might have a black screen because it froze, its flash did not sync well, or your iOS is unstable. You can fix these issues with a few easy steps on your own. These solutions do not even require you having a background in troubleshooting or the help of an Apple technician. Below, we’ll go deeper with the possible culprits of the black screen on your camera app. 

1. The camera didn’t load properly. 

guy in blue shirt holding a grey smartphone, with a pot of plant beside him
Your camera froze? An iOS update might fix it.

Most iPhone apps don’t cause problems. However, there will be times when you will deal with frozen apps such as the camera; that is why the camera on your iPhone is black.

That could also happen because you might be running an older iOS version on your phone. Apple releases software updates that solve freezing issues, so if you haven’t boarded the updating train yet, you might have to join. This way can fix your camera’s black screen illness.

2. Something is blocking your rear camera. 

Man in a suit holding a shot of whiskey on the other hand and iPhone on one hand.
Did you know that metallic cases might interrupt your camera’s gyroscope?

You might have bought a protective case that unintentionally blocks your camera or your flash. Apple’s support page also suggests that a magnetic or metallic case might be interrupting with your camera’s optical image stabilization (OIS). The OIS is a gyroscope system that detects and follows your hand’s movements, avoiding shakiness when you’re capturing a photo or recording a video.

So, if you’re seeing a black screen on your camera, make sure to remove the case first and then reopen your Camera app. See if the black screen is gone. Meanwhile, if you’re choosing protective cases for your iPhone, make sure to choose a non-metallic material and it should have spacious cutouts for your camera. One good example is the Tech21 Evo Check Case. 

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3. Your iPhone needs a good ol’ restart. 

close-up photo of smartphone homescreen, laid on a wooden furniture.
Sometimes, even just restarting will fix almost any issue.

Even the pre-installed Camera apps in newer models, such as the iPhone 8, aren’t safe from crashing or black screens. It’s a good thing that Apple releases updates to fix this (sometimes even without your prior knowledge). Now, a sure quick fix for black screens is restarting your device. Reboot it and then let it breathe for 10 to 15 minutes. This will refresh your device’s memory and settings, including your camera app. 

Related: How to fix an iPhone camera that keeps freezing

4. It’s a bug from a software update. 

iOS 12.1 Software Update settings on iPhone screen.
Even the good guys cause trouble sometimes.

Updating your iOS is typically a good thing because it resolves crashes and bugs. However, sometimes, the opposite happens when you update your iOS to the latest version.

For instance, in 2018, a few iPhone users complained about encountering camera issues after updating their iOS to the 11.4 version. These problems included their cameras having black screens, their cameras losing their ability to focus, and even their batteries losing power faster than usual. If this is your case, you can follow any of our tips below to fix your camera’s black screen. 

Related: Can You Replace an iPhone Camera?

How to fix your iPhone camera’s black screen 

1. Forcefully close the Camera app. 

iPhone taking photo of flat-lay of iPad, eyeglasses, laptop, and notebooks.
Exiting the camera app forcefully is the best first way to fix a black screen.

Doing this might help the camera app load properly again. To forcefully close your camera, just follow these steps.

Double-click the home button

  1. Tap your Home button twice.
  2. You will see a preview of your running apps.
  3. Look for the Camera app’s interface and swipe up to close.

Use the Home button in AssistiveTouch. 

  1. Tap on the AssistiveTouch button.
  2. Double-tap on the Home button. 
  3. This will show the multitasking interface.
  4. Swipe up the Camera app’s interface to close it. 

Use the Multitasking button in AssistiveTouch. 

  1. Tap on the AssistiveTouch button.
  2. Tap on the Multitasking button. 
  3. This will show the multitasking interface.
  4. Swipe up the Camera app’s interface to close it. 

Turn on 3D Touch. 

With 3D Touch turned on, you can long-press on the camera icon and it will launch the selfie camera instead of the rear one. Now, if you own any of iPhones 6S, 6S Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, X, XS, and XS Max, you can use 3D Touch to close your camera. 

  1. Firmly press on the left area of the display. 
  2. This will open the multitasking interface.
  3. Swipe up the Camera app’s interface to close it. 

2. Restart your iPhone

Restarting iPhone with Apple logo and black screen.
Any smartphone can benefit from a quick reboot.

Any smartphone will benefit from an occasional reboot. Restarting your phone will prolong the battery, retain memory, and avoid crashes in general. Restart your iPhone in these quick steps.

Long-press the sleep/wake button and the home button

  1. Long-press the sleep/wake button and the home button at the same time.
  2. Press them long and hard enough because pressing the two in a split second will create a screenshot, instead of restarting your phone. 
  3. As soon as the black screen and Apple logo appear, release the two buttons.

Use AssistiveTouch to restart your device

  1. Launch your Setting app. 
  2. Tap on General > Accessibility.
  3. Turn on the AssistiveTouch option. 
  4. The AssistiveTouch button will now appear on your screen. Tap it.
  5. The AssistiveTouch menu will appear. Tap the Device button. 
  6. Tap on the Lock Screen button. 
  7. After that, the power slider will appear. 
  8. Slide to the right to turn off your iPhone. 

3. Do a hard reset. 

iPhone syncing with Mac laptop.
Hard resets delete everything, so backup your data before doing it!

A hard reset will restart your device and revert your present settings to the default one. This will also remove the iCloud and iTunes data you stored and the passwords to the WiFi stations to which you connected. Here’s how to back up your iCloud data and then do a hard reset. 

1. Backup your iCloud data, first.

  1. Turn on your WiFi.
  2. Tap on your Settings app.
  3. Select your Apple ID.
  4. Tap iCloud. 
  5. Scroll down and select iCloud backup.
  6. Slide to turn it on. 
  7. At the bottom of the screen, select the “Backup now” option. 

2. Do the hard reset. 

  1. After successfully backing up your iCloud data, go back to Settings by tapping on the Apple ID option at the upper left part of the screen. 
  2. Tap the Settings option. 
  3. Scroll down and then select General. 
  4. Select Reset. 
  5. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.
  6. Type your Passcode.
  7. Tap the “Erase iPhone” option that shows on the prompt.
  8. After that, tap on the following prompts that will appear as if you just bought your iPhone.
  9. You can also restore your phone’s data from the iCloud backup.
  10. Reopen your camera app to see if it still has a black screen. 

4. Update your iOS. 

Vibrant full-screen logo of iOS 13 on iPhone, held by one hand. Red background.
There’s no harm in updating to a newer iOS, especially if you backup data occasionally.

We mentioned that updating your iOS to the latest version might also cause problems instead of solving them. However, the main goal of iOS updates is to fix bugs, so you have to try updating your iPhone to see if it fixes the black screen. And if updating to the latest iOS does cause problems, you can always restore your previous settings through your saved iCloud or iTunes backup. Here’s how to update your iOS.

Update your iOS manually.

  1. Turn on your WiFi.
  2. Go to Settings. 
  3. Tap on General. 
  4. If you see a red circle with a number 1 on the Software Update option, then select it.
  5. Select Download and Install. 
  6. If you want to update now, select Install. 
  7. Enter your passcode to begin the updating. 
  8. If you need more space before the updating can start, just remove your apps or delete your unnecessary files manually. 

Update your iOS automatically. 

  1. Turn on your WiFi.
  2. Go to Settings. 
  3. Tap on General. 
  4. Tap Automatic Updates.
  5. Your iPhone will automatically update your iOS whenever there’s an available update.

Use iTunes to update your iOS. 

  1. Turn on your PC or Mac. Make sure the WiFi is turned on as well. 
  2. Connect your iPhone to your computer.
  3. Download and open the latest version of iTunes, which is the iTunes 12.10. 
  4. After launching iTunes, select your device by tapping on the mobile-shaped button beside the “Music” dropdown menu at the upper left corner, under the player.
  5. Tap on Summary and then select “Check for Update”.
  6. Tap Download and Update.
  7. Enter your passcode to proceed. 

Conclusion 

Fixing your iPhone camera’s black screen is easy as long as you follow the steps above. However, upon fixing your phone, don’t forget to practice good phone habits to prevent these types of situations from happening again. On the other hand, if all else fails, just go to the nearest Apple center to let a professional peek the root cause of a black screen on your iPhone camera.

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