Whenever I take a picture or video out my window, it always focuses on the screen instead of what I actually want to take a picture of. I can press on the screen to adjust the white levels, or press-hold to lock the auto-focus, but there doesn't appear to be any way to force it to focus far instead of near. How do I force the camera to focus on distant objects instead of the near screen?

iOS 10.3.1

  • 1
    I don't think it's possible with the default camera. Have you tried 3rd-party camera apps? They might use software to do the focusing instead of the camera lens.
    – fsb
    Apr 14, 2017 at 0:05
  • The camera in iOS 12 on the iPhone 8+ works. It failed on the iPhone 5.
    – Chloe
    Jul 9, 2019 at 6:03
  • You should add this as an answer because comments can be deleted and are not used for results in searches.
    – fsb
    Jul 9, 2019 at 12:14

1 Answer 1


2022.06.13 As of IOS 14.5, there is still no manual focus adjustment in the phone or tablet's native.Camera.app. Maybe there will never be.

It appears that to focus at a different distance, you can lock the point of focus by pressing and holding the screen with your finger on a certain, chosen point. If you want to focus on far-distance, aim the phone to include a far-distant point, lock that point, then re-compose the frame to include what you want.

When it locks, the Camera app will lock the focus distance, exposure level, and color balance determined by the sensor - for the area around the lock-point. When you set the lock, you can manually bias the exposure + or - up to 8 f-stops from the exposure the camera has determined automatically. Do this using the slide-area to the right of the yellow focus-box that appears around your locked focus point.

The camera app does not include any other mechanism to modify focus when taking photos. The focus / exposure / white-balance locking has been available since at least IOS 12. As mentioned in the comments, it may be possible that a different camera app could set +/or lock focal-distance using software.

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