Have you ever missed capturing the perfect photo or video opportunity because you got hung up getting to your smartphone’s camera app in time? Your phone likely has some shortcuts built into its software and settings, although some may be less obvious than others. Here’s a quick guide to getting the speed you need so you don’t miss your moment.
Need the camera now? With most recent iPhones running iOS 14, just swipe left from the lock screen to go directly to the camera app. Pressing the camera icon in the bottom-right corner of the lock screen also opens the app.
On many Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy phones running Android 11, you can open your default camera app by rapidly pressing the phone’s power button or Side key twice. (If not, open the Android system settings and check the Gestures options, or confirm that Samsung’s Side key settings have the Quick Launch feature enabled for the camera.)
You can also tell your phone’s assistant to open the camera for you. Android’s Google Assistant will even snap the shutter or start recording on command, as will the Bixby assistant on Samsung Galaxy phones.
And the volume buttons on many phones also double as an additional shutter button.
Smartphones typically have one front-facing camera for self-portraits and at least one camera on the back. To switch between them, tap the circular-arrows icon in the camera app or tell the voice assistant to “take a selfie.”
On recent Google Pixel models, hold the phone and twist your wrist twice to switch between the front and back cameras. On newer Samsung Galaxy phones, swipe up or down in the camera app to switch cameras.
Tap the screen to choose one on phones with multiple rear cameras (wide-angle, standard, and telephoto). Move the on-screen zoom slider to adjust the angle. Tap the screen to get to the controls for exposure and focus.
Want to jump right into video recording? With an iPhone XR or later, press and hold the camera’s shutter button to record a QuickTake video, or slide your finger to the right to lock the video recording so you can still snap photos. On a Google Pixel and certain Samsung Galaxy phones, press and hold the shutter button to record without swiping to the Video mode.
In Samsung’s Single Take mode on newer Galaxy phones, tap the shutter button once and move the camera around. The phone will capture up to 10 seconds of photos and video of the scene from different angles.