iOS5 Focus: Camera Button On Lockscreen

iOS5 is bringing many new features to Apples mobile operating system, some have got more press than others like iCloud, the Notification Centre and iMessage.

There are lots of smaller features that haven’t got as much attention though, some of them very useful.

ios5 camera button on lock screenToday I’m taking a quick look at the addition of the camera button on the lock screen. iOS5 will intorduct the ability to activate the camera from the device lock screen – at first you cannot see it, the lock screen looks as normal, to see the camera button you need to double click the ‘home’ button and the lock screen changes as shown on the right:

This then opens up the Camera App as normal, but there’s a couple of extra points I want to talk about.

Speed to picture:

It may seem obvious but until you try it you don’t realise the significant speed benefit this feature brings. For people like me with a lock code on their device, the time it takes to power on your phone, swipe to unlock, enter your lock code, reach the homescreen, click the Camera icon (assuming its on your homescreen and not in a sub folder) wait for it to start and then click the shutter button can be as much as 8 seconds. If you’re trying to capture a moment or event you’ll likely have missed it. By contrast the double-click of the homescreen and pressing the camera button on the lock screen leads to a ready to shoot state of around 3-4 seconds – better than twice as quick. I recently went to LegoLand for the day with my son and very quickly realised what a huge change this feature made to taking photographs.

I was able to capture spur of the moment photos far more easily  than I could of without this feature, getting the camera out of my pocket and being ready to shoot much more quickly so even un-anticipated shots could still be captured.


The advantage this also gives is someone else can pick up your phone and take a picture with it. Handy if your phone is across the room or next to someone else when ‘photo moment’ arrives. Or even if you simply want to be in your photo. A potential issue would be the ability to look back through other photo’s on a locked device, but Apple have thought of this and it has been prevented. Clicking the familiar thumbnail that shows the previous image opens up the photo library but only shows images taken in that immediate session, not the full Camera Roll of images in the library.

Finally the iOS5 update has also brought in the ability to take a picture by pressing the volume up key, meaning you don’t have to touch a certain spot on the screen to activate the shutter, which often moved the phone at the crucial moment and could lead to a blurry shot. This helped a lot with photo taking, and also makes self portraits far more achievable than they were before. As previously reported you can also take a picture with the Volume Up key on the headphones allowing you to snap without touching the phone at all, perfect for close up work.

Note: This look at the camera button on the lock screen is based on iOS5 Beta 6 and may change in the final release. All information is accurate at the time of writing.


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