Apple's native Camera app 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 and later.

How to Enable the Camera Level on iPhone and iPad

The camera level tool used to be part of the Grid overlay, but Apple has separated out the function in recent versions of iOS, and it now has its own switch.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iOS device.

  2. Scroll down the list and tap Camera.

  3. In the "Composition" section, toggle on the switch next to Level.

settings

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
79 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
79 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
79 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
79 months ago
Thank you for pointing this out.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tomtendo Avatar
79 months ago
Does not work for me
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
efktd Avatar
79 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

Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iPhone Notch

Apple Explored These Notch and Dynamic Island Designs for iPhones

Friday February 23, 2024 2:05 pm PST by
With the iPhone 14 Pro models in 2022, Apple introduced the Dynamic Island, which can morph and expand to display system alerts, sports scores, and a variety of other information. The feature makes the space surrounding the front camera and Face ID sensors useful compared to the notch on older iPhone models. Apple explored a variety of ideas for the iPhone's notch area over the years before...
General Apps Messages

Apple Announces 'Groundbreaking' New Security Protocol for iMessage

Wednesday February 21, 2024 6:00 am PST by
Apple today announced a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol for iMessage called PQ3. Apple says this "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks." Apple believes the PQ3 protocol's protections "surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps," according to its blog post:Today we are announcing...
Next Generation CarPlay Porsche 1

Apple Launching Next-Generation CarPlay This Year With These New Features

Wednesday February 21, 2024 2:03 pm PST by
Apple recently updated its website to confirm that the first vehicle models with next-generation CarPlay support will debut "in 2024." This wording is shown on Apple's regional websites for the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries. The iOS 17.4 beta includes code-level references to eight new CarPlay apps:Auto Settings: This app will let you manage paired iPhones...
cracked glass vision pro

Handful of Apple Vision Pro Units Develop Identical Crack in Cover Glass

Friday February 23, 2024 4:46 am PST by
A small number of Apple Vision Pro owners have claimed that their headsets developed a hairline crack down the middle of the front cover glass, despite having never been dropped or mishandled. Photo of hairline crack in Vision Pro front glass (credit: Reddit user Inphenite) The first report was posted in the subreddit /r/VisionPro about 18 days ago, and several more have appeared in the last...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Monday February 19, 2024 6:52 am PST by
Apple last month confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU and Apple Podcasts transcripts. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay later this year. More details about the new...
New Macs iPads iOS 17 4

What to Expect at Potential Apple Event in March: iPads, Macs, and More

Friday February 23, 2024 8:35 am PST by
Apple often holds its first media event of the year in March, so the company could be just weeks away from announcing new products. Below, we have outlined what to expect from a potential Apple Event this March. Past Apple Events in March Apple has held five events in March since 2015:Monday, March 9, 2015 Monday, March 21, 2016 Tuesday, March 27, 2018 Monday, March 25, 2019 Tuesday,...
Oled iPads and MackBook Pro Notch

Apple's OLED Roadmap: New iPad Mini, Foldable iPad Pro, and More

Wednesday February 21, 2024 5:29 am PST by
Apple is planning to launch at least nine new devices with OLED displays across the iPad and MacBook product lines, according to an updated forecast from research firm Omdia that sets out the company's plans in detail. As widely rumored, Apple's push to transition to OLED will apparently be jump-started by the release of new 11- and 13-inch iPad Pro models this year. The displays will...