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How to fix iPhone 8 rear camera that won’t focus, autofocus not working [Troubleshooting Guide]

One of the many things that lets Apple gained respect from the global smartphone users is it’s camera. Realizing it as a key to establish an edge over other variants, Apple constantly strive to augment the camera features on their every new flagship devices, especially on the Plus (bigger) models. But even though the iPhone’s camera system is designed to be as robust as possible, there are times when certain factors can cause the camera to glitch. This is when camera problems begin to surface.

Tackled in this post is a particular issue with the iPhone 8’s rear camera that won’t focus. For some reason, the autofocus function is unstable or not working as intended. What’s causing this problem to occur and how are we going to fix it? If you have the same questions in mind that you needed some answers for, then this post might be able to address your concerns. So keep on reading.

Before we move any further, if you are looking for a solution to a different problem, them drop by our iPhone 8 troubleshooting page for we have already addressed some of the most common problems with this device. Odds are that there are already existing solutions to your problem. Try to find issues that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work or if you need more help, fill up our iPhone issues questionnaire and we’ll help you with you problem.

Why is your iPhone 8 camera unable to focus?

This can denote a hardware problem on the iPhone depending on the case. It’s most likely related to the hardware if the autofocus was previously working fine until you dropped the phone or got it wet. In that case, the physical camera might have accumulated any sort of physical or liquid damage.

On the other hand, you can consider it a software-related issue if the problem suddenly occurs right after installing a new app, content or software update. Many people were bugged by the same issue with the rear camera that is unable to focus after upgrading their iPhone 8 to iOS 11.2.1. Apparently in this case, the update is to blame. There might be some bugs that came with that update and ruined the camera focus. But the good thing about software-related issues is the fact that they can possibly be resolved by end-users using various workarounds. All it requires is time and effort in troubleshooting the software issue that’s affecting your iPhone camera.

What must be done to make your iPhone 8 camera autofocus work as it should?

After digging into relevant sites and forums, I’ve managed to mapped out some helpful workarounds and potential solutions to a problem on your iPhone 8 camera autofocus. However, you may need to go for a trial-and-error procedure unless you have identified the underlying cause. Just don’t forget to test the camera after completing each method so that you’ll know if autofocus is already working as intended. Start whenever you’re all set.

Remove any case and magnetic lens from your iPhone.

Non-Apple cases, protective covers, and magnetic lens may not properly fit with your iPhone. Some third-party cases may hinder or cause pressure to some portions of the camera, thus affecting the rear camera autofocus. To ensure that this isn’t the culprit, try to launch and test the camera autofocus without any case or magnetic lens on your iPhone 8. If autofocus is working properly, then you need to replace the case or magnetic lens with something better, preferably a high-end Apple-compatible accessories for your iPhone 8.

Clean the camera lens.

Dirts and dust on the camera lens can also affect the overall quality of the image or video captured by your iPhone 8 camera. Usually, the output photos are unclear or blurry. That said, try to scrutinize your camera lens for some dirts or dust and clean it up if needed. You can use a microfiber cloth to wipe the camera lens.

Force the camera app to close then restart.

Forcing the camera app to close can also be helpful if the camera app is not responding or glitching and that all it’s features including autofocus are not working as intended. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Double-press the Home button on your iPhone. Doing so will open a preview of your most recently used apps. These apps are not opened but rather just in standby mode.
  2. Swipe right or left to locate the Camera app preview.
  3. To quit the app, swipe up on the Camera app’s preview. You can also quit the rest of your background apps to prevent them from crashing in the background and eventually affects other apps functions.

Forcing an app to close is highly recommended if the app suddenly becomes unresponsive. After quitting all your background apps, launch the Camera app again. When you’re in the camera viewfinder screen, try doing these:

  1. Press and hold the camera button.
  2. Then wait until the camera has acquired focus.
  3. Finally let go of the button when the picture becomes clear.

If that worked then you’re good to go. Otherwise, try other possible solutions.

Restart your iPhone (soft reset).

A soft reset or restart on your iPhone might be everything you need to rectify the issue on your iPhone 8 camera autofocus especially if it’s just one of the minor app glitches that randomly transpires in an app.

To restart your iPhone 8, press and hold the Side (Power) button until the Slide to Power Off screen appears. Drag the slider to turn off your iPhone completely. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Side button again until the Apple logo appears.

Wait until your iPhone boots up completely then try to open the Camera app again. Take a photo and see if autofocus is already working as it should.

Clear the Camera app cache and data.

Accumulated cache files and temporary data stored on the Camera app’s cache folder can get corrupted at any time. When this happens, the entire camera app’s function might as well be affected. Bulky cache files can also cause an app or device itself to perform very slowly. A soft reset or restart can also help clear cache files from the phone but that may not be able to wipe everything.

But unlike Android devices, cached files in iOS devices are automatically deleted when iOS detected a need for more space. Third-party apps however would require you to manually clear cache and data. As for the iPhone Camera app, it’s a stock app so iOS should carry out cache clearing when needed. But if you want to make sure everything is actually cleared, then you can try offloading the app instead. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap iPhone Storage.
  4. Tap Offload App. Doing so will free up storage and likewise empty cache on your iPhone 8.

If the problem persists or your iPhone camera still won’t focus afterwards, then go ahead and try some other workarounds applicable.

Enable Autofocus lock.

Your iPhone has a lot of advanced features for users to unearth and make use of. One of these is the AE/AF Lock, a feature that is specifically designed to help you achieve perfect focus and exposure in your photos. If you haven’t already, try to enable the AE/AF (Auto Exposure/Auto Focus) Lock feature on your iPhone to lock the focus and exposure values when taking photos with your iPhone camera. Here’s how to use this feature:

  1. Open the Camera app from the Home screen or Lock screen.
  2. Tap the screen to select the part of the image you want to expose and focus on.
  3. To lock exposure and focus, tap and  hold the focal point until the AE/AF Lock banner shows up at the top of the screen.
  4. When you’re all set to take the picture, tap the shutter button.
  5. Tap anywhere on the screen to unlock the focus and exposure again when not needed.

See if you get the desired image output.

Reset all settings on your iPhone 8.

You may need to consider this option if the problem persists after performing all prior workarounds. The underlying cause might be too tough to resist the standard solutions thus require a more advanced workaround. Resetting all settings on your iPhone 8  is a recommended procedure to carry out before doing a factory reset. Just be sure to select the right option though. Nonetheless, it is still recommended to backup your iPhone data beforehand for safekeeping. To walk you through the entire process, follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll to and tap Reset.
  4. Tap to select Reset All Settings.

When the reset is complete, reboot your iPhone then try to see if autofocus is already working.

Other Suggestions (optional)

  • Install the latest iOS update (if available). Software updates generally contain system enhancements and bug fixes. If the problem with your iPhone 8 camera autofocus is somehow inflicted by some software bug, then the update might be able to fix it. To check for available update on your iPhone 8, head over to Settings-> General-> Software Update. If an update is available, you will see a notification. Read and review the update details then backup your iPhone data to proceed with the update download and installation.
  • Perform a factory reset. A factory reset can likewise be a potential solution if the problem is caused by intrictated bugs on affecting the iOS functions. This reset however will wipe out all your iPhone data including personal information, customized settings, contacts details, etc. That said, creating a backup is recommended beforehand. You can do a factory reset through your iPhone 8 settings menu or use iTunes on your computer.
  • Try the tapping and slapping trick. It may sound weird but somehow works. Should you wish to take your chances and give it a shot, gently tap or slap the top of the phone where the rear camera lens end several times using the palm of your hand. Many users have obtained remedy from doing so. But it shouldn’t be done repeatedly as doing so can likewise damage other components of your iPhone.

What to do if the problem persists and autofocus is still not working on your iPhone 8?

So you’ve tried everything there is for you to try on but to no avail. Well then if that’s the case, your next best and clever option would be to avail for warranties. This is a new iPhone so most likely it’s still eligible for warranty. You may contact your device carrier or the store where you purchased your iPhone for more details on how to avail for warranties, when needed. Otherwise, contact Apple Support to escalate the problem and ask other options especially if a new software update has triggered the main issue on your iPhone 8 camera autofocus.

Connect with us

If you need more help with the use of certain functions and features of the new Apple iPhone 8 smartphone, feel free to visit our Tutorial Page. There you can find a list of how-to contents, step-by-step tutorials, as well as answers to FAQs regarding iPhone 8. If you have other concerns or encountered some troubles while using the phone, you can reach us through this form. Just be sure to tell us more details of the problem or device issue(s) you may have and we will be more than happy to assist you further.

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