Daily Tip: How to use AE/AF Lock on the iPhone's camera in iOS 5

Wondering how to us iOS 5's new AE/AF lock to stop your iPhone's auto-focus from wrecking your perfectly set up shot? Fret no more! With iOS 5, locking exposure and focus couldn't be easier, and after applying the lock, you can even recompose your shot without the camera kicking in the auto-focus.

Here's how!

  1. Launch the camera app and get your subject in the frame
  2. Tap the object/person you with to focus on and hold your finger on the screen for a few seconds
  3. Release your finger after the blue focus square pulsates
  4. The square will disappear and AE/AF Lock will appear at the bottom of the screen
  5. Perfect your composure and snap the photo!

The times I find this feature most helpful is when taking photos of my daughter or dogs, because anytime they move, the camera wants to refocus - even if it's just a head turn. I've lost a countless number of shots because of this. Now I just trigger the AE/AF lock and snap away!

Let us know how this tip worked out for you, and if you have any questions, ask them in the comments below!

Daily Tips range from beginner-level 101 to advanced-level ninjary. If you already know this tip, keep the link handy as a quick way to help a friend. If you have a tip of your own you’d like to suggest, add them to the comments or send them in to dailytips@tipb.com. (If it’s especially awesome and previously unknown to us, we’ll even give ya a reward…)

Leanna Lofte

App and Photography Editor at iMore. Mother, wife, and math instructor. Follow her on Twitter @llofte and send her apps to consider for review at iosapps@imore.com

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There are 20 comments. Add yours.

Andy Harris says:

Worked on my 3GS here. To get rid of it, you can't tap & hold again. You can, however, flick it to video, then back to camera mode.

Daniel Pinho says:

nope, don't tap and hold again. Just tap anywhere on the screen and the AE/AF lock will go away.

claudia_ovoxo says:

My AE/AF lock won't go away , it just blurred out everything on my camera , it doesn't wanna take far away photos , when I do they don't come out clear , they come out blurry . What do I do ?

andsoitgoes says:

Awesome. Thanks! I feel dumb for not having known this ;)

Wiltron says:

Now THESE are proper tips to be posting.. the stupid "How to turn on your iphone lol!" tips are just fodder for making a website look like they post a lot..

Chris MacDonald says:

A HUGELY important tip! Thanks.

Chris MacDonald says:

A HUGELY important tip! Thanks.

Chris MacDonald says:

A HUGELY important tip! Thanks.

KoreanwGlasses says:

So important you said it thrice

Gregory Gammill says:

I found out when I saw it on a commercial. So stupid they don't have the slider on screen all the time.

ravedog says:

I thought it was stupid as well... at first. Then I realized that it is the same "gesture" you use in all your other apps to... wait for it... zoom. so rather than clutter the screen with one more OS element... just use the gesture... BRILLIANT (least I think so!)

Gregory Gammill says:

I found out when I saw it on a commercial. So stupid they don't have the slider on screen all the time.

Matt says:

Thank you!! This was a great tip!!

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Andrea says:

Kinda crappy that you can only zoom in with the photo feature now, and not the filming one too... sigh It worked fine without this damn feature...

nikon af-s dx nikkor says:

I just like the helpful info you provide for your articles. I'll bookmark your weblog and test once more here frequently. I'm moderately certain I will be informed a lot of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the following!

Adam Cronenberg says:

Thanks so much for this list! Does anyone know which app would work best for DubLi?

Karama Yangu says:

My AE/AF lock won't go away , I'm using IPad 4.

Aashish Priye says:

An very important feature of iOS that I didn't know existed. Thanks