Does an iPhone camera lens protector affect picture quality?

Modified Nov. 3, 2023, 9:20 p.m.


Should you use a protector on your iPhone camera lens? Let’s find out if it affects picture quality and if it is needed.

iPhone camera lens protectors do affect picture quality. Depending on how bad the protector is, the quality of your pictures could be heavily reduced.

Everyone wants to get the best quality when they take pictures, to share with their friends, or to save the best memory they can. Unfortunately, to get the best quality, you can’t use a camera lens protector.

If you still want to protect your iPhone camera, try to choose the best iPhone lens protector you can find. They are usually more expensive, but that’s mostly because of the expensive materials used in these protectors.

Let’s first see how a camera lens protector can reduce the quality of the photos you take with your iPhone, and then show why you don’t actually need one if your iPhone is not too old.

How iPhone camera lens protector reduces picture quality

iPhone camera lens protector can affect the quality of the photos taken with your iPhone in multiple ways. Depending on the quality used, the results can be very different between the two protectors.

Camera lens protector affects light

Your iPhone camera, such as any other camera, needs light to take a good picture. The more light there is, the better the photo will be. That’s why for several years, smartphone cameras were bad at taking pictures at night, only a little light reach the camera sensor.

A camera lens protector can have a meaningful impact on how much light reaches the camera sensor of your iPhone. All protector reduces the amount of light, for the best of them you won’t see any difference, but for some, especially the case that becomes yellow with time, the picture quality will be affected.

Protector can add focus issue

Each time you want to take a picture, you first want your iPhone to make focus on the object you want to photograph. By doing this, the object will be clean and sharp in the picture.

But when you add a protector lens to your iPhone camera, your iPhone can have difficulties focusing on the right object, especially in difficult conditions such as during the night, or very close to the object you want to photograph. As a result, the picture can be blurred.

Camera lens protectors add flares

When the picture you are trying to take with your iPhone contains a light source, a flare usually appears in the photo, a light trail that should not be there. It’s normal to see one, iPhones get better and better at reducing flares, but they still remain.

When you add a lens protector to your iPhone camera, the flaring behavior is getting worst. Indeed the layer added will reflect the light even more. This issue is appearing with any kind of lens protector.

Lens protectors have more scratches

By adding a lens protector to your iPhone, you want to avoid any scratches on the iPhone camera. But you can’t avoid the ones that will appear on the lens protector itself, and they appear way more easily than on the iPhone camera.

As a result, you will have more scratches with a lens protector than without. And as scratches obviously decrease the quality of the pictures taken with your camera, using a lens protector will affect the quality of the photos. Scratches can also make your iPhone camera keeps refocusing.

Should I use a camera lens protector on my iPhone?

As I explained before, a camera lens protector is always reducing the quality of the pictures taken with your iPhone. The better lens protector won’t affect too much the quality of the photos, but still, there will be a difference.

If you are reading this post, you still want to protect your iPhone camera to get any scratches or damage. Cameras are really expensive on iPhones and that’s the first thing touching the ground when you are laying your iPhone anywhere.

Moreover, scratches on the camera would also affect the quality of the photos. But is it really needed to add a lens protector to your iPhone camera?

iPhone cameras are made of sapphire, one of the most durable and hard transparent materials that exist. You won’t make scratches easily on the camera glass, even if you have your keys in the same pocket, or putting your iPhone anywhere.

You should not use a camera lens protector on your iPhone. Your iPhone is strong enough to avoid too many scratches, and the protector will reduce the quality of the photos you take.

However, I recommend using a good iPhone case that correctly protects the iPhone and the camera, without adding any layer on the camera. It means that the case needs to have edges that will touch the ground before your iPhone camera does.

If you want to take better pictures, stop using the 16:9 ratio on your iPhone camera setting.



Maxime Levesque is a technical engineer with more than 5 years of professional experience. He is an expert in computer and phones, mostly on Apple products. Maxime is also the founder of TechBrowser.

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