Taking photos in the moment: (de)activate the camera spirit level on the iPhone

If you use the regular camera app on the Apple iPhone to photograph your surroundings, there are various help mechanisms available. The grid, which can be used to divide the recording area into rectangles of equal size, has of course been known for a long time. There is also help when taking photos of objects or documents over which you balance the iPhone - a crosshair ensures that you don't hold the device at an angle and the photo becomes too distorted. If you like horizons, you can go iOS 17 Also use a spirit level to take straight photos. And that's what the following is about.

With the spirit level activated, the camera app will show you when you hold the iPhone at an angle. If you hold it straight, the white lines will become a yellow line, which then disappears.
With the spirit level activated, the camera app will show you when you hold the iPhone at an angle. If you hold it straight, the white lines will become a yellow line, which then disappears.

Activate the camera spirit level on the Apple iPhone: This is how it works!

If you have an iPhone with iOS 17 or newer, you can activate and deactivate the capture assistance for recent photos in the settings. After switching it on, it is displayed above the image preview in the camera app when taking photos and consists of three white lines, which join together to form a long, yellow line when the iPhone is positioned straight. This disappears if you continue to hold the device upright. 

This is how you set it all up:

  1. Opens the Settings on your Apple iPhone
  2. Select the menu item Camera from
  3. Activate the switch under “Composition”. spirit level

Problem solution: When the grid removes the spirit level

It happened to me on the iPhone 12 Pro that after additionally activating the grid lines in the preview display, the spirit level lines disappeared. Actually you should be able to combine them. The only solution to the problem was that I deactivated the spirit level, opened and closed the camera app, then deactivated the grid, opened and closed the camera app again and then activated the grid and spirit level. After opening the camera app again, both composition aids were displayed at the same time again. So apparently it was just a bug. Maybe restarting the iPhone would have helped.

Using the iPhone as a spirit level is different

By the way, the setting is only intended for taking photos. If you want to use the iPhone as a spirit level to see whether a picture is hanging straight or whether you have applied the painter's tape correctly, then the Apple smartphone offers a function specifically designed for this purpose. You can find these using the tape measure app. On compatible iPhones, this not only offers the option of using the camera to determine the distance between two points or the area of ​​a rectangle, but also a spirit level function. You can find details about this in this post: Apple tape measure app – ruler and spirit level always with you.

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2 comments on “Just taking photos: (de)activate the camera spirit level on the iPhone”

  1. Hello! Speaking of photos. I need help with photos (on a Macbook) + iPhone. It used to work better (for me)...

    What is the best way to get my pictures from my iPhone onto my Macbook / in Photos?
    “My Stream” no longer exists (or does it?).

    If I open photos on the MB, I can only import them if the iPhone is connected via cable, right? In any case, I don't see an iPhone in the import dialog.

    I don't want to use iCloud photos or I only have relatively little storage left.
    I don't really understand iCloud either > I'm always worried that my photo DB from the MB will be uploaded there and it's huge.

    Also annoying: when I connect my iPhone to the MB, I'm always asked "Trust this computer?" Yes-ha! Both are mine, both registered to me in my iCloud account...
    Where has the connectivity gone?

    How do you do that with photos using Apple apps?

    Thanks for support!
    best regards and stay healthy ;)

    1. Hello Mac! So I activated iCloud photos and set it so that the originals are in iCloud and the optimized version is on the Mac. This means that the memory on the Mac is not so tight. And I use the 2TB iCloud model. The advantages I get from this are worth the 10 EUR/month to me. And when I drag a photo from the Photos app on the desktop to the Mac to edit, it of course brings the original to the Mac.
      If you don't want to use iCloud Photos, your only option is to sync between iPhone and Mac. But I believe you can (if you connect the iPhone to the Mac and click it in the sidebar) choose to sync over Wifi. Then you save yourself the hassle of messing around with a cable.
      But perhaps there are other ideas that other readers contribute! LG, Jens

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.