If you think that your iPhone 6 Plus has been taking blurry photos, and you haven’t been able to figure out why, then you’re not alone. It turns out that some of the iPhone 6 Plus handsets that Apple sold between last September and this January have faulty components that cause blurred photos and need to be replaced.
As evidenced by a thread on Apple’s support website, a small cohort of users has reported problems with the phone’s rear-facing iSight camera since shortly after the smartphone went on sale last fall. Even when the phone is held still, the camera can struggle to focus, either manually or automatically. The issue isn’t resolved by setting up restarting, resetting, or restoring the iPhone, nor by updating the phone’s software, returning all settings to default, or even trying third-party camera apps, since the issue is with the camera’s hardware. Some users reported as early as last October that Apple had replaced either their camera, or, in some cases, their entire iPhone, when they went to the local Apple store to resolve the camera issue.
Apple reports that it’s determined that in a small percentage of iPhone 6 Plus devices, the iSight camera has a component that can fail and cause the photos taken with the device to look blurry. The affected devices fall into a limited serial number range, and were primarily sold between September 2014 and January 2015. The company has launched a replacement program for the camera in the affected iPhones.
To find out if your iPhone 6 Plus is eligible, you’ll need to find the serial number. You can do that by opening the Settings app and navigating to General, then About to find the serial number. Alternately, if you still have the original packaging from your iPhone, you can find the serial number printed on the barcode label. Once you enter the serial number on Apple’s website and determine that your phone is eligible for a camera replacement, you can choose an Apple authorized service provider, an Apple retail store, or contact Apple technical support to have the iSight camera replaced. Wireless carriers aren’t participating in the program, so the easiest solution is likely to take your iPhone to the nearest Apple store to have the faulty camera system replaced.
Apple’s replacement program will cover faulty iSight cameras for up to three years after the date when you first bought your iPhone, but otherwise doesn’t change the standard warranty or AppleCare policy you may have elected to purchase.
If your phone isn’t among the affected serial numbers but you’re still having issues with blurry photos, one of Apple’s unrelated support pages, which was last modified in June, offers some suggestions you should try. If your photos are blurred or out of focus, the company suggests beginning troubleshooting by making sure that the camera’s lens is clean. Use a microfiber cloth to clean the exterior surface of the lens, or if you can see dirt or debris inside the lens, take your phone to your local Apple store or an authorized service provider to get help.
If that doesn’t help, then you should also make sure that nothing could be blocking the camera lens. If you have a case on your iPhone, try removing it. With the iPhone 6 Plus, specifically, a metallic case or even a magnetic lens, like ones made by several third-party manufacturers, can interfere with the phone’s optical image stabilization. If you’re using a metallic case or a magnetic lens, try taking a picture without it, and then compare the image quality. Other steps that Apple recommends when troubleshooting out-of-focus images include making sure that you’re adjusting the focus in the preview screen, holding your iPhone steady as you adjust the focus, and making sure to set HDR to Auto or Off.
Edward Moyer reports for CNET that the photography abilities of the iPhone 6 Plus and the iPhone 6 have been a major marketing point for Apple’s first large iPhones. As tech-savvy users increasingly rely on their smartphones instead of dedicated digital cameras, Apple made photography the focal point of its marketing around the new phones with its “Shot on iPhone 6″ ad campaign.
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