How to Use the Hidden Camera Level Tool in iOS 11

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.

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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.

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.
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

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11 months ago

Does not work for me

It’s only when you’re pointing the camera straight down
Rating: 7 Votes
Avatar
11 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.
Rating: 6 Votes
Avatar
11 months ago
Thank you for pointing this out.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
11 months ago
Does not work for me
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
11 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.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
11 months ago
Like most iOS app settings, it's in the wrong location. You should be able to change app settings within the app instead of having to exit the app, open the Settings app, scroll down to find that app, change the setting, close the Settings app and re-open the app you were using in the first place.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
11 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...

Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
11 months ago

More importantly, how do I turn off the crosshairs and leave the grid on?!? Or right, you CAN’T! Thanks Apple. :mad:

Are the crosshairs a big problem for you? If yes, why? I’m just curious.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
11 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.


I like that all settings are found in one area, saving the app from clutter.

As for this ‘feature’ – I assumed everyone knew. Been using it for a while. Useful when ‘scanning’ documents.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
11 months ago
It's not really evident unless you're directly over an object. The phone has to be +/- 1-degree level to even see the crosshairs. Works on iPhone 6s Plus.

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Rating: 2 Votes
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