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Apple’s Public Response For Purple Lens Flare on iPhone 5 Photos

Right after the iPhone 5 hit the stores and as the happy owners finally got their hands on the eagerly awaited device, complaints began to flow in: users noticed a purple flare or halo showing up in photos taken with the device's camera, especially when it had been pointed at or near bright light sources.

iPhone 5 purple haze

This, however, isn't an issue specific to the iPhone 5: as Gizmodo points out, the same purple flare can be seen on photos taken with the iPhone 4S camera, while the iPhone 4's camera somehow manages to eliminate it.

After receiving these complaints, Apple acknowledged the issue, and now the company has posted a public support document.


A purplish or other colored flare, haze, or spot is imaged from out-of-scene bright light sources during still image or video capture.


Most small cameras, including those in every generation of iPhone, may exhibit some form of flare at the edge of the frame when capturing an image with out-of-scene light sources. This can happen when a light source is positioned at an angle (usually just outside the field of view) so that it causes a reflection off the surfaces inside the camera module and onto the camera sensor. Moving the camera slightly to change the position at which the bright light is entering the lens, or shielding the lens with your hand, should minimize or eliminate the effect.

Apple's public announcement comes after an iPhone 5 owner contacted Apple Support to clear up the issue and received an email from the company's engineers saying the problem is normal, and that users are advised to point their iPhone away from bright light sources while snapping a picture.

Dear Matt,

Our engineering team just gave me this information and we recommend that you angle the camera away from the bright light source when taking pictures. The purple flare in the image provided is considered normal behavior for iPhone 5's camera. If you wish to reach me regarding this case number *********, please contact me at 1-877-***-**** ext. *******. I currently work Thursday-Monday: 7:00am - 3:30pm Mountain Time. If you reach my voicemail, please leave your name, phone number, case number and the best time to reach you. Email is ***********

The iPhone 5 camera is 20% smaller than the previous-generation 8 MP camera used in iPhone 4S. Apple used sapphire this time, which has no effect on coloration, as first reported by some users. [Image credit: Gizmodo]

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