Why Does the iPhone Have 3 Cameras?

Samsung &Amp; Iphone Cameras

Have you ever wondered why there is so much hype about the newer models of the iPhone – mainly those with three cameras on the rear? And why three cameras in the first place? Obviously, they aren’t there simply for fashion, so what’s the actual purpose of the three cameras on these newer models of iPhone. 

Quick Answer

The main reason some iPhones have three cameras is that it allows for more versatility. Smartphone cameras have thin lenses, hence, a single focal length. The multiple cameras on iPhone make it possible to take different angles of view or magnification without compromising on the phone size (its primary function) and quality of picture or video. 

According to Apple, you could take more professional-looking pictures and videos with the three cameras. Apple even claims its newer devices that feature three cameras are even more advanced than some high-end DSLR cameras.

This article will help you understand the purpose of the three cameras on an iPhone and how to use them. 

How To Use the Three Cameras on an iPhone

Any iPhone with three cameras features wide-angle, ultra-wide, and telephoto cameras. Each camera is constantly in sync with the other. This is to attain perfection such that there is no difference in color temperature, exposure, contrast, etc. when using any of the three cameras. So, when you switch between the cameras, there is almost no shift in color or exposure. 

Switching between the three cameras is essential when you want to take different kinds of photos. Each camera is better at taking a particular picture than the other. However, you don’t need to be too concerned about which camera lens to use. The iPhone’s AI automatically adjusts which lens to take the best quality image. 

The wide-angle camera is perfect for taking moderately wide-angle views and is suitable for many scenes. The ultra-wide camera lets you zoom out to take a much wider field of view and capture more scenes. At the same time, the telephoto camera enables you to zoom in to take a closer view of your subject. 

Here’s how to switch between the cameras.

  1. Open the Camera app using a shortcut or from your home screen. 
  2. Tap on the “0.5x” to use the ultra-wide-angle camera, the “1x” to use the wide-angle camera, and the “2x” to use the telephoto camera, all near the shutter button. 
  3. Tap the shutter button after selecting any camera to capture the picture. 

Did you know that capturing images/videos outside the frame on your iPhone makes it possible to help improve the composition when editing? To activate this feature, go to your Settings > “Camera”, and then toggle on the “Photos Capture Outside the Frame”. 

What Is the Purpose Behind the Three Cameras on iPhone?

If your iPhone has three cameras, there is a reason behind it. In this section, we will discuss three purposes the three cameras at the rear of some iPhones tend to achieve. 

Reason #1: Keep Phone Compact 

One of the main reasons iPhones have three cameras is to keep the phone compact and pocket-friendly. A regular DSLR camera features a large adjustable focal length lens which helps it capture a different subject’s perspective. 

For iPhones to compete with this feature and maintain their compact nature, designers came up with the brilliant idea of including different non-adjustable thin lenses of different focal lengths. So, when you need to adjust the lens’s focal length on an iPhone, it simply switches to another camera. 

Reason #2: Take Pictures From a Different Perspective 

While on some older models of iPhone, you may find both wide-angle and telephoto cameras, while on the newer iPhone 11 and later is the additional ultra-wide-angle camera. With all three cameras combined on one device, you can take amazing pictures from different perspectives, even if you are standing at the same spot. 

The telephoto camera lets you take pictures of a distance that will be clearer than if you used the wide-angle camera. This is because you are not just zooming at the pixel; instead, you are switching to a better-specialized camera equipped with a different piece lens. The same ideology applies to all three cameras on your iPhone.  

Reason #3: Improves Picture and Video Quality 

Contrary to your thought, the iPhone camera does not work separately. When you switch to a different camera, while the camera is what displays on your screen, this does not mean all other cameras have stopped working. Instead, when you snap a picture, all cameras simultaneously snap the same picture

For example, the ultra-wide and wide-angle cameras capture the same image simultaneously. Your iPhone then combines the images and frames taken by the cameras and refines them into a better picture or video with the Deep Fusion image processing system.  


When you switch on the Photos Capture Outside the Frame feature on your iPhone camera, it no longer uses Deep Fusion to enhance the image.


Apple’s improvement on its cameras over the years, like the inclusion of three cameras (wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto cameras), is nowhere too far from what is in the industry today. But with iPhone’s three rear cameras, you get more added features to capture your subjects better and more professionally. For example, you enjoy taking better low-light pictures, improved portraits, and so on. 

Undoubtedly, the iPhone’s camera has proved helpful to anyone buying this rather expensive device.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *