iPhone 4 bugs: Blue tint in pictures, you may have this bug lurking also!

There is a interesting bug in iPhone 4 photos where a blue tint shows up in the middle of the image. This bug has been widely noted and appears to effect only the back, 5mp camera and not the forward facing VGA camera. It also seems to still be a problem under iOS 4.2.1. Some have stated that this may because of the lighting conditions, while others have noted this effect under many different types of light. I have not had this issue myself with my iPhone 4 or heard of any of my friends having it either. I wrote too soon! I tried taking a picture of a white blanket with my iPhone 4 for the post... and here is what happened..

After the shock lifted, I realized that at close range, I too have a blue tinge on my photos.

This is quite an annoying issue and I have been told of many people exchanging their iPhone 4's only to get another phone and have the same problem. This seems to be an issue which effects most if not all iPhone 4's. This issue also occurs with video.

Possible causes

  • fluorescent lighting
  • iPhone 4 defect

Potential fixes

  • use incandescent lighting
  • install Camera Spot Fix app
  • exchange iPhone 4
  • live with it

Want to know if this happens on your iPhone 4? Take a picture of something white like a piece of paper from close range (2 to 3 feet) and let me know what you see. You may be as shocked as I am.

Let me know if you have this problem and if any fixes have worked for you. Also, does it affect your day to day use?

[Thank you Peter for emailing in this bug!]

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

iPhone 4 bugs: Blue tint in pictures, you may have this bug lurking also!


I noticed this issue since the first few days I got the iPhone. Back then, I was using the camera almost everyday for work. It annoyed me and still annoys me when I use the camera.

turning on the HDR seem to solve the blue tint under the florescent light. true test would be to take a picture of white snow (NYC) outside under natural light conditions.

I just tried it, a photo of a white sheet of paper also had a blue tint in the middle. Almost exactly like the photo of the blanket. :/

Just checked mine, and, of course it is there. ANOTHER black eye!!! I know: What you are seeing is the "magic". It must be something with the white balance, if you move off the white object, the spot goes away. I tried it over a sheet of paper. With the paper flat, it was there. If i lifted an edge, and cast a shadow across the paper, it was gone. Then again, maybe you just can't see it but it is still there. Lay the paper flat again, and it returns. Is it just the 4's?? Anyone with a 3GS see this too?

Oh no - just taken a pic of my note pad and I have a big blue dot in the middle! It even shows up in the preview - I was only expecting to see it in the photo.
Do you think an apple store would swap it out? I've had it since launch. I've never noticed it before but once you have seen it you can't unsee it!

This is almost definitely an issue with flourescent light. I've taken a ton of pictures of snow outside over the last few days with no blue spots.
More important question...is Apple aware of this bug?

@ Rob curious, did you take your phone to the apple store. Esp if this has happened since day one and you take lots of pictures? If it is part of your daily life would think you would want to get it fixed? Just saying. If you did what happened?
It is simple if you are having problems with your phone, make an appointment and take it in to be looked at. The genius will take care of the rest. Most times if it can't be fixed they will replace the phone

I often take pictures of a whiteboard at work and get a blue area in the middle. It may be a fluorescent light issue because I have never seen it in other situations, including in snowy conditions. A truly scientific test would be to take the exact same picture with different lighting, but I am not able to do that.
What I would like you all to consider is that I use a Palm Pre, not an iPhone. So it seems to me that this may just be the way cell phone cameras work.

I too have the issue. Actually, more often my biggest issue is the overall white balance is very pink or purple in anything but very good lighting. Anyone else?

For those who don't have the issue, make sure you're taking photos under flourescent lighting as this seems to be at the heart of the problem.

Ok it only shows up sometimes for me. It depends on the lighting situation I've taken a few pics first one had the blue spot. But I then tilted the phone a little and it was gone so it's the lighting conditions I've never had the blue spot when taking shots outside though funny huh.

I looked at a white sheet of paper using the "normal" camera. In florescent lighting I see the problem big time. Walking out into cloudy conditions I see no hint of the problem.

I have not taken it to the Apple Store. I should make an appointment. I have notices this issue in normal lighting too. It is very obvious on white backgrounds, by a lot.

It happens to my iPhone 4, always does when shoots a white object (no matter the object was far or close), HDR didn't always solve this, but it did sometime.
I hope Apple will fix this on the next software update.

I don't have anything like that on my photos... I did not really have "any" of those "mentioned" issues since iPhone 4 got out..
Wow, either some people are really unlucky, or I am blessed.
(knocks wood)

I can see the cameragate press conference now with jobs informing us all this is a problem with all camera phones and that we're "photoing things in the wrong way"
Seriously though. Just don't take photos under florescent light, no big deal.
Sent from my iPhone.

Nope no issue at all. I've notice no one ever says anything any issue. And when it's mentioned on a blog. All of a sudden everyone has the problem. Hmmmm..... Weird.

I just tried it. For me, the spot appears when the flash is not used. I took the same photo with the flash..no spot.

I have that problem too, just checked now!
It must be software, because before 4.2.1 it never happened!

iPhone 4 with latest update 4.2.1 - No problem, no issue.
Checked some older pictures - not there either.

This probably has to do with the overabundance of blue in the fluorescent bulb illumination spectrum. The iPhone CCD is probably adjusted/normalized to solar or incandescent illumination, where relatively less blue composes the spectrum. Fluorescent bulbs, depending on the fluorescent phosphor dopant, probably feed the camera more blue than it's been programmed to correct for.
I've never noticed it before, but now I can't stop seeing it! I'm surprised, though, that it shows up in the final image as well as the preview.

I only ever got a tint when I tool a photo using the flash in a very dark area... And the blue tint on photos went away when I removed the blue Frogz case I had on it which was designed in such a way that the flash reflects the color of the case... whoops.

darn, i too have same problem. i just took a picture of a white tissue under a bright light. it has the blue or green tint in the middle. but the hdr one don't have it likely due to the hdr manipulation.
i checked my old pics and they have it too. :-( but the hdr ones don't have it.

Just done a whole lot of tests (bright sunlight and incandescent lighting) and do not see any issues at all. (iPhone 4, iOS 4.2.1)

It's probably a software bug. Someone who has the issue should take the time to submit a proper bug report. It's amazing to me how many bugs are known but go unreported. If you report a bug via Apple's website you WILL get a response and the bug WILL be fixed in short order.

I noticed the same issue now - But it definitely has to do with fluorescent lights. With 'regular' light bulbs it doesn't seem to happen.

One other feature of florescent lights other than their cool colour temperature is that they have very low persistence. If you photograph under fluorescent light with a shutter speed of less than 1/60th of a second your exposure may not be consistent.
In a digital camera, the pixels are not sampled simultaneously. In bright florescent light the "shutter speed" may be 1/500th but it takes 1/60th of a second to sample all of the pixels, resulting in the appearance of uneven exposure.
To see a more striking artifact of this, go outside in bright sunlight and take a picture of someone waving their arms or swinging a bat. Their arms or the bat will appear bent.
As Scotty used to say, "You canno' change the laws o' physics, Capt'in". However, that doesn't mean that you can't hide them with clever software.

Just tested my roomates brand new iphone 4 and yes it there under CFL -fluorescent lighting. No problem with natural lighting. Also I tried this with my Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant. Same problem! Of course I also noticed how much more detail the photos are on the iphone4.

I don't have an iPhone, but I just tried this with my HTC Evo.
Incandescent - Red tint
Florescent - Blue tint
Natural sunlight - Slight red tint
It sounds like this is an effect of the lighting

this is nothing new. this is a problem with a lot of "cameras" period. it has been there since the first iphone. you're just noticing now though.

I was gonna say that this must be a software thing not a hardware thing. I've looked at past pictures taken under the older softwares (4.0, 4.1) and I see nothing. It's funny because now that you mention it, it's all I see whenever taken pictures under incandescent bulbs. Also, I don't seem to notice it with other colors, just white.

I checked mine in a couple of light conditions, with different white surfaces, happy to see I have no problem like this, especially since photography is a key function of my iPhone.

It is a fluorescent light issue. In my bathroom I turn on the lights (fluorescent) and the spot appears. I turn off the lights (daylight through windows) and the spot disappears. Never noticed it before.

I highly doubt this is a bug to me. Just sounds like photography 101. I have a kodak camera, an iPhone 3G, and I had a Sony errison z500A and the cell phone both have this issue. It's not a bug but simple photography basics or either apple is using cheap lens in it's expensive glass sandwich.

your iphones have ever fallen down?
my phone appears to have this issue only after he has fallen
and the blue shows up even if I take a picture of my LCD monitor
very strange
(sorry the english, i'm from brazil)

Thanks for sharing this. It must be intermittent from device to device. The images on my iphone are perfect, but my wife's has the issue. At first we thought it was happening from the screen protector shield.

Checked mine and my tint seems to be more violet or purpley, or maybe a reddish or rose color too. It's probably more ofthat crap-tactic Apple Reality Distortion BS.

I've always had this problem, i have changed my iphone 7 or 8 times and all had the same problem. I decided to live with it.
Even other iphones i checked have it, i would dare to say that all iphone 4's have this problem.

See below for the likely issue... just Google the term:
White Balance is an aspect of photography that many digital camera owners don’t understand or use – but it’s something well worth learning about as it can have a real impact upon the shots you take.
So for those of you who have been avoiding White Balance – let me introduce you to it. I promise to keep it as simple as possible and keep what follows as useable as I can:
At its simplest – the reason we adjust white balance is to get the colors in your images as accurate as possible.
Why would you need to get the color right in your shots?
You might have noticed when examining shots after taking them that at times images can come out with an orange, blue, yellow etc look to them – despite the fact that to the naked eye the scene looked quite normal. The reason for this is that images different sources of light have a different ‘color’ (or temperature) to them. Fluorescent lighting adds a bluish cast to photos whereas tungsten (incandescent/bulbs) lights add a yellowish tinge to photos.
Read more: http://www.digital-photography-school.com/introduction-to-white-balance#...

I also have it with my iPhone 4 iOS 4.2.1.
Also a VERY ANNOYING problem I faced was that the iPhone even if it is in the area of a WiFi (at home) when in "sleep" mode it wont connect to the WiFi when needed but it will go to the 3G network :-(
This problem started after the 4.2.1 version was loaded in both my iPhone 4 and my iPad 3G.
I use an APP (Download Meter) but you can see the 3G data usage from Settings--> General --> Usage (at the bottom of it) where I realized it.
Crosscheck it if you want and maybe open another entry on your blog to see if more people have this issue.

For those that don't have the issue...please make sure you're taking photos of white objects/backgrounds under flourescent lighting.
I'd be interested to know if there are some who truly do not have the issue, becuase then you have the possiblity of a bug and not general behavior.

...or Phone Camera! However you wanna put it. You want accurate white balance with your photos... hey, I got a solution... DON'T USE A FRIGGIN' CAMERA ON A PHONE!!!

Just heard about this on the podcast. I'm happy to say my phone has nooooo problems :o) I took a picture of a sheet of paper inside under flourescent lighting and nothing. I also agree it's white balance maybe since Apple is going all out with 5MP and HDR they will put a manual white balance setting but really how many times do you take shots with the iPhone where the shot was so important and the majority of it would be white?

Ok guys,
I have not read all comments but this is a hardware issue not software.
Look at the camera lens on your iphone 4 you will see a little blue spot in the center it is big not small and can be seen with a naked eye and once you have seen it you have your answer i ordered a new backplate and now have no bluespot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My network requires to access the wap sites only through a proxy. Can any one guide me how to use wapzilla over 3G through a proxy since the app does not support entering a proxy.