[Updated: Aug 05] Apple's lens flare issue lives on in iPhone 12 lineup & it's even more noticeable, but you can try these workarounds

New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…

Original story (published on November 16, 2020) follows:

As if the iPhone 12 display and close-range autofocus issues weren’t enough, users are now reporting that they encounter random lens flares when there is a bright light source in the camera-view.

There has been a slew of complaints on the official Apple forums as well as Reddit about the same.

iphone-12-lens-flare
Source

I’m glad I found this. I compared the lens flare against my SE2, and it’s “worse”, I guess because there’s a much bigger sensor and a much bigger lens. Hovering my hand above the camera got rid of the flare and damn my photo looks a lot better.
Source

Users say that annoying lens flares appear whenever they click an image of an area with a bright light source. The light source could be anything ranging from the sun to indoor lighting.

Furthermore, the flares appear in two forms. They can either be small green spots or a hazy, mirror-like image (ghosting) of the light source in question.

So what exactly is a lens flare? Well, it is basically a non-image forming light that is scattered in the lens system after it hits the front element of a lens.

Now, this isn’t exactly a new issue, and hence shouldn’t be treated as a deal breaker. In fact, flares show up on nearly every smartphone or even DSLRs when pointing the camera towards a light source.

iphone-12-lens-ghosting
Lens flare ghosting in low-light conditions

However, several users opined that the issue is far more pronounced on the iPhone 12 series than it was on previous generations.

This never happened on my Xs Max and is happening now on my 12 Pro. I spoke to Apple and T-Mobile. Apple was willing to replace the phone and T-Mobile told me that they had been receiving a few replacement requests because of the issue. I hope Apple does something about it. It doesn’t seem like a normal issue and really messes up Night photos. The moon looks like a giant out-of-focus ball of light in my photos.
Source

A professional photographer also had something to say:

As a professional photographer, I can tell you that the living room image you took shows that there is indeed a defect. It’s an internal glare/reflection issue. The protective glass over the lens element should be anti-glare coated like any other conventional DSLR camera lens to prevent mirroring/ghosting of the image. I am putting in a replacement for my own iPhone 12 Pro because of this issue. It’s ridiculous.
Source

It is important to note here though that historically, complaints like these show up soon after the release of every new iPhone. There have been similar threads for the iPhone 11 Pro, X, and even the 8 Plus previously.

This could either mean that users might have misinterpreted lens flares or that the issue is a part of some larger problem in Apple’s camera hardware that has stretched itself across several iterations of the iPhone.

Or it could be a bit of both.

Also noteworthy is that Apple told The Verge that there shouldn’t be any increased lens flare over the previous iPhone 11 lineup, but that improved low-light performance means people are noticing it more.

That being said, the issue can be tackled with ease by the following no-brainer workarounds.

Workarounds for the iPhone 12 lens flare issue

1. Adjust camera angle: The most obvious thing would be to pay attention and spot lens flares before clicking a photo, and try to point the camera in such a way that the flare disappears.

Alternatively, if you are trying to click a photo of subjects like the sun or moon, adjust the camera in such a way that the flare aligns OVER the light source. That way, it will not be visible in the final image.

iphone-12-snapseed-fix
The “Healing” feature in Snapseed

2. Use Snapseed: For adjusting existing images, download Snapseed and use the “Healing” tool. Simply tap on the flare after selection and watch it magically vanish as if it never even existed in the first place!

To download Snapseed, click here.

And that’s all for now. Hopefully, Apple will address the iPhone 12 lens flare issue soon given the number of complaints.

Update 1 (August 05)

IST 10:55 am: New reports indicate that iOS 15 Beta latest beta seems to automatically remove lens flare from photos in certain Conditions. More on that here.

PiunikaWeb started as purely an investigative tech journalism website with main focus on ‘breaking’ or ‘exclusive’ news. In no time, our stories got picked up by the likes of Forbes, Foxnews, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Verge, Macrumors, and many others. Want to know more about us? Head here.

Want to work for PiunikaWeb and enjoy best-in-industry compensation & benefits? You'll be glad to know we're hiring experienced candidates.

Zohaib Ahmed

Simply love being surrounded by technology as it's a constant reminder of how far humans have advanced as a race. Every new development feels exciting, which I convey to others through writing. And after a day's work, gaming just feels therapeutic.