New iPhone 4 problem: Camera crashes, takes down FaceTime

FaceTime when the iPhone's camera doesn't work

FaceTime when the iPhone's camera doesn't work

You’ve heard about the yellow screen splotches and the wonky antenna that requires you to hold the new iPhone just right.

But now a new issue is coming to light: a faulty camera system that not only affects your ability to take pictures, it can foil your attempts to use FaceTime, the video chat feature that is the iPhone 4’s top talking point.

I ran into this issue over the weekend. Apple kindly sent me two iPhone 4s to test out. I’ve been trying to convince my wife that we need to upgrade our iPhone 3G’s to the new model, so I thought I’d show her how FaceTime works, figuring she’d be as wowed as I was when I tested it on a friend’s phone in the office.

But it didn’t work. While the phone I was using received my wife’s image, the small box that was supposed to display my image wasn’t showing anything. Meanwhile, on the phone my wife was using, she could only see her own image in the small box on her screen; she didn’t get any images from my phone.

FaceTime on the iPhone with the faulty camera; note the square that's supposd to show the forward-facing image

FaceTime on the iPhone with the faulty camera; note the square that's supposd to show the forward-facing image

I figured that I must have done something wrong or that there was a glitch, so I tried again. Same result. I tried turning off the phone and turning it on again. Same thing.

Wondering if there was something wrong with the camera on my phone, I called up the camera application. It seemed to work fine. I was able to take a few pictures. But when I tried to switch the in-use camera from the rear to the forward-facing one, the program locked up, showing an unchanging image.

I closed the program and tried to re-open it, but the virtual shutter refused to open. I couldn’t even use the rear-facing camera. The only way to get the camera working again was to turn off the iPhone (by holding down the power button for 5 seconds or so and sliding the slider to “power off” the device) and then restarting it.

It turns out that I’m not the only one that’s having trouble with the new iPhone’s camera. I’ve found four different discussions in Apple’s own support boards in which people have claimed having similar issues. It’s unclear yet how many iPhone 4s are affected by the problem and whether the camera problem is affecting FaceTime on other people’s phones.

The iPhone's camera app, locked and refusing to open.

The iPhone's camera app, locked and refusing to open.

An Apple representative I spoke with today said she was unaware of the issue.

Regardless, given the different issues that have come to light with the new iPhone 4, it sure looks like Apple’s quality control was asleep when the new gadget was being readied for store shelves.

How about you? Have you experienced this problem? If so, please let me know.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Share this Post

  • Just got the camera I phone 4 every picture after the 1st one , is just blue , cant see a thing.

  • John Brabant

    I am having same problem, except worse. The camera locked up after hitting the rear to front camera switch button on the touch screen. The difference with my problem is that I tried rebooting it as well as a number of on-line recommended fixes and I cannot get the camera to unlock from the shutter screen display. This camera problem began after experiencing another worse problem that at present remains unresolved as well. This other problem involves my phone not ringing or vibrating during incoming phone calls or messages. I have worked thru resetting all of the settings, etc, to no avail. This is the second iPhone I have had problems with. My first iphone 3GS owned by my employer totally locked up and became permanently disabled. Worst of all, Apple refuses to back up their product after the warrenty period, even where it is clearly a manufacturing or programming defect and for some reason, as you state above, pleads ignorance to knowing about these problems. Testimonials to these problems (all stating the same symptoms) are everywhere, both with the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4s. I would NEVER buy another iPhone. I had planned to purchase a new iMac, but no chance of that now. I am researching alternatives to this poor quality product and poor quality product service.

  • Sam Kapoor

    I think you are absolutely right about iphone 4 camera problem. I am personally using iPhone 4s and I am very happy with that but recently I got problem with iPhone camera. Sometimes when I open its camera, it hangs my iPhone device and showing me pure black screen. If you have same problem then you should look at Hope you would like the solution. As it’s very easy to understand & implement. Hope the solutions work for your Iphone 4s camera trouble.

  • Riya

    I have the same problem on my iPhone 4s… after rebooting it, my back camera works fine but the front camera doesn’t… I’ve even tried it with the app Camera+… still nothing…
    Please let me know if there’s any solution… because otherwise my phone is perfect… i didn’t have any other issue that some other people report…

  • daniella

    my iPhone had fell in milk with with cereal and that night i wanted to listen to music but it said it was on the headphones but i wasn’t wearing headphone but then i plugged in the headphones then i unplugged then so it work but then after i wanted to take a picture with my front camera but its didn’t work its showed a black screen then my phone froze and only my back camera worked help me please A.S.A.P. i have tried everything and i don’t have enough money to replace my whole phone or to buy a new camera

    • Put your iphone in a plastic food bag fill up with rice (dried) twist aknot in the bag tight and leave in sun or heat for 4-5 hours switched off. Then it will work. I know as I did this 1 week ago to my iphone as it fell out my pocket into the sea and now it works. Dont worry it will work. Hope this helps.


  • Camera wont open!!