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Customize iPhone Camera Modes

Customize iPhone Camera Modes

Don't want to read? Video version below. OR search for podcast under 'Gregory Schmidt'.


The Modes

Apple offers up to seven different camera modes on their devices.

To switch between modes, users swipe left or right. Unfortunately the sequence of these modes is unmodifiable. 

1 - TIME-LAPSE
2 - SLO-MO
3 - VIDEO
4 - PHOTO (standard mode)
5 - PORTRAIT
6 - SQUARE
7-  PANO

PHOTO (mode 4) is the standard mode. In my case, the second most used mode is PANO (mode 7). In order to get there I have to swipe three times - through PORTRAIT and through SQUARE.

Ideally, users could re-sequence the camera modes and remove unwanted modes. This improves usability by making it faster to shift camera modes. 

Also, in current state, in order to get from mode 7 (PANO) to mode 1 (TIME-LAPSE) the user has to swipe backwards seven times. Ideally, mode 7 could cycle to mode 1 via a long swipe or double swipe. Same for mode 1 to mode 7.

3 swipes required between Photo & Pano


Camera Mode: Proposed Upgrades

Under Settings, users should be able to: 

1. Re-sequence the camera modes:  permit the user to cluster their most used camera modes adjacent to each other. For me: portrait - video - photo - panorama is the right order. 

2.  Remove Unused Modes:  I have never used, and will not use, SQUARE mode.  However, the setting panel doesn't allow users to remove unwanted modes.


Camera Settings Panel: Mockup

Quick mockup showing how to incorporate ability to re-order and inactivate camera modes. 

Original iOS Camera Settings

Example of a new camera settings panel


The movable camera mode list, with option to turn on/off each item draws on the pre-existing iOS user interface language. See 'Accessibility Shortcut' for a similar design 


Why is it like this?

I suspect the current camera mode sequence has been developed with input based on usage data from the billion iPhones out there. Perhaps the sequence is designed to highlight new camera modes and increase familiarity and usage of them. Perhaps there is a technical limitation that requires the lens system to shift between modes in a particular sequence.

Regardless, the camera is an important part of the OS, and an area further camera customization is always appreciated.


May be interested in: post on watchOS timer app suggestion.  

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