Seeing Purple Halo In Your iPhone 5 Photos? Apple Explains Why [Official Statement]


Some reports from last week pointed out that Apple’s support staff is responding via emails to users complaining about a ‘purple lens flare’ or halo showing up in photos taken with their iPhone 5’s camera, when pointed at or near bright light sources. Now, Apple has responded with a public support document addressing and explaining the issue, notes MacRumors.

While the purple halo effect (shown above) is not exclusive to the iPhone 5, it has caused concern for some users. According to Apple’s engineers, the issue is in fact normal and users are advised to point their iPhones away from bright light sources when taking photos. Below is Apple’s official statement:

“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”.

Even though Apple has added several enhancements to the iPhone 5 camera, it is essentially the same as found in iPhone 4S. However, that does not mean that same phenomenon can not be observed in older iPhone models.

Have you noticed any purple lens flare in your iPhone camera photos? If yes, let us know which iPhone model you’re using!


  • winnertakesteve

    The most distressing thing about this “issue” is how the “it just work” mentality has fostered such a sense of entitlement, that people will now complain about any problem as a design defect, even if it is the result of their own incompetence. Complaining about a lens flare “problem” when you angle your lens towards the sun to me is about one IQ point away from complaining that your pictures are all turning out black when you use your camera in the dark.

  • Kirk

    I agree. Great points.

  • The fact of the matter is that this is a tempest in a tea cup being hyped up by Gizmodo to generate page views. The vast majority of users will not run into this in the vast majority of situations. We should not feed the trolls on Gizmodo any more. They are upset over being banned from Apple events because they bought a stolen prototype and dissected it for page views.

  • Farids

    I agree. lens flare has been a phenomenon, as old as cameras and lenses, and since they were invented. That’s why we have had the name “lens Flare” for more than a century. That’s why, in the times of pre-digicams, seasoned photographers would use polarizer filters and still take multiple shots of a subject, when it was in front of an intense light source. Now, most digicams have multi component lenses (have more than one lens). Trapped light between components, angle of light and the elements (and coatings) used in making the lens components can cause abnormal output (such as lens flare). This happens in multi thousand dollar cameras and lenses and more so in smaller, especially extremely small smartphone set ups. So Lens flare itself is the result of a normal camera design, and not a flaw. We will have to sit tight and see what software update Apple will come up with, to minimize it.

  • Bob

    My iPhone 4 wont work underwater and i cant seem to make phone calls when the battery is dead … i’m sending a formal complaint to Apple along with my ‘purple halo’ issue. I’m sure it’ll go to the “are you kidding me” department as ‘STAT’ priority.

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  • Mindfield

    I got a very slight purple aberration in one photo I took that had the sun just out of frame. It wasn’t much but it was there. However, the vast majority of the pictures I take do not exhibit this behaviour, even on very bright days. Besides, it’s only good photographic form not to shoot into (or just beside) a bright light source. It’s kind of a non-issue. The only people who will complain are those who are taking poor or amateur pictures where the light source is very near the subject.