Apple's native Camera app in iOS 11 has plenty of tools for helping you get the right shot, but some are more hidden than others. The camera level is the perfect example of a really handy tool that many users don't even know exists, mainly because it's part of a feature that's turned off by default.

If you tend to take pictures of things when standing directly over your subject, like a meal on a table or an ornament on the ground, then you'll want to use the camera level, as it helps you capture a balanced shot without having to use a tripod arm or mount. It's also useful for taking a shot of something directly above you, like an object on the ceiling or in the sky.


Here's how to enable and use it on iOS 11.

How to Enable the Camera Level on iPhone and iPad

The camera level tool is part of the Grid overlay, which is useful in itself for applying the rule of thirds in your pictures for more balanced compositions. First then, you need to turn on Grid mode.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iOS device.

  2. Scroll down the list and tap Camera.

  3. Toggle on the switch next to Grid.

camera level 1

How to Use the Camera Level on iPhone and iPad

  1. Open the Camera app on your iOS device.

  2. Set the capture mode to Photo, Portrait, Square, or Time Lapse, using the sliding menu above the shutter button.

  3. Point the camera straight down above your subject (or straight up if the subject/scene you want to capture is above you).

  4. Line up the floating crosshair with the fixed crosshair in the center of the screen by adjusting the angle of your phone's camera. The crosshairs will both glow yellow when in perfect alignment.

  5. Tap the shutter button to capture the shot.

camera lens tool how to

The aligned crosshairs turn yellow (right), indicating the lens is parallel with the ground.

The level tool also comes in handy when scanning documents on a desk with your phone's camera, but iOS now offers a dedicated scanning feature in the Notes app, so you'll probably want to use that instead.

Top Rated Comments

Someirishguy Avatar
59 months ago
Does not work for me
It’s only when you’re pointing the camera straight down
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iVoid Avatar
59 months ago
It’s only when you’re pointing the camera straight down
Well, that's..... useful for taking downward pictures... Would have loved the level to be available in regular shots so I can level the camera to keep the horizon level in my landscape shots.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
UberTiger Avatar
59 months ago
This really highlights how poorly designed some of the Apple apps are that you have to leave the app and dig into a submenu of the completely seperate settings app to toggle features like this.

It’s mad that you also have to go to this page to change the camera recording quality.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mtneer Avatar
59 months ago
Thank you for pointing this out.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tomtendo Avatar
59 months ago
Does not work for me
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
efktd Avatar
59 months ago
Not with my iPhone 7 either

Edit: I posted before reading others’ comments, it does work, but it doesn’t make much sense if it will only work facing down. How often do people actually take photos in that manner?
More than you think...

Attachment Image
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Purple

Apple Planning to Hold iPhone 14 Event on September 7

Wednesday August 17, 2022 9:51 am PDT by
Apple is aiming to hold its first fall event on Wednesday, September 7, reports Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The event will focus on the iPhone 14 models and the Apple Watch Series 8. The standard iPhone 14 models are expected to get few changes, but the iPhone 14 Pro models will include updated camera technology, the removal of the notch in favor of a pill-shaped and hole-punch cutout, an A16...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.6.1 and iPadOS 15.6.1 With Bug Fixes

Wednesday August 17, 2022 9:50 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 15.6.1, minor updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems initially released in September 2021. iOS 15.6.1 and iPadOS 15.6.1 come a month after Apple released iOS 15.6 and iPadOS 15.6 with new Live Sports features and bug fixes. The iOS 15.6.1 and iPadOS 15.6.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices...
10th Generation iPad Render

10th-Generation iPad With Major Design Changes Reportedly in Production Ahead of September Launch

Monday August 15, 2022 8:02 pm PDT by
Apple's rumored 10th-generation iPad is currently in production and will feature "major" design changes, according to a report from Taiwanese website DigiTimes. A mockup of the potential 10th-generation iPad design by Renders By Shailesh The report did not provide any specific details about the 10th-generation iPad's new design, but rumors suggest the device will feature a larger 10.5-inch...
airpods pro black background

AirPods Pro 2: Five New Features and Improvements to Expect

Sunday August 14, 2022 3:28 pm PDT by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro are finally nearing launch, with a release expected later this year. If you are considering upgrading to the new AirPods Pro once they are released, keep reading for a list of five new features to expect. In addition to all-new features, the second-generation AirPods Pro will likely adopt some features added to the standard AirPods last year. H2 Chip ...
Apple Watch Series 3 v 8 1

Apple Watch Series 3 vs. Apple Watch Series 8: 20 Major New Features and Changes for Customers Upgrading

Tuesday August 16, 2022 6:52 am PDT by
It's crazy to think about, but next month will mark five years since Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 3. Despite being a severely antiquated smartwatch, the Series 3 has remained at the bottom of Apple's lineup for $199. Suppose you're still holding on to your Apple Watch Series 3. In that case, this article will list all the major new features and changes you'll get if you decide to...
ios 16 lock screen feature2

Apple Seeds Sixth Betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Monday August 15, 2022 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth betas of upcoming iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming a week after Apple released the fifth developer betas. Registered developers can download the iOS and iPadOS 16 profiles from the Apple Developer Center, and once installed, the betas will be available over the air. iOS 16 introduces a revamped Lock...