Apple responds to ‘purple haze’ iPhone 5 camera complaints

In addition to the back panel scratching and light leak complaints, early iPhone 5 purchasers have spotted another flaw in Apple’s latest handset: a purple haze or halo is appearing in some photos taken with its rear camera.

Over the past few weeks, users have been reporting that when the iPhone 5’s iSight camera is pointed at or near a bright light source, a purple flare appears in the photo. And this weekend, Apple responded to the issue…

In response to the ‘purple haze’ complaints, Apple posted this support document yesterday (via MacRumors):


A purplish or other colored flare, haze, or spot is imaged from out-of-scene bright light sources during still image or video capture.


Most small cameras, including those in every generation of iPhone, may exhibit some form of flare at the edge of the frame when capturing an image with out-of-scene light sources. This can happen when a light source is positioned at an angle (usually just outside the field of view) so that it causes a reflection off the surfaces inside the camera module and onto the camera sensor. Moving the camera slightly to change the position at which the bright light is entering the lens, or shielding the lens with your hand, should minimize or eliminate the effect.”

Sure enough, when the smart folks over at dpreview, a highly-regarded photography site, gave their in-depth review of the iPhone 5’s camera, they touched on the purple haze problem. And they said that while the issue might be a bit more prominent in the 5’s photos, all lenses are susceptible to it to some degree.

I myself haven’t noticed any kind of predominant purple flare in my iPhone 5 photos, even when taking pictures in lowlight settings or in other so-called problematic situations like outdoors in direct sunlight.

Still, it seems to be an issue for at least some iPhone 5 users. And perhaps it would have served Apple better to come up with something different than a response that’s reminiscent of “you’re holding it wrong.”

What’s your take on the purple haze/flare problem?