Apple: iPhone 5 Purple Flaring Is Normal, You’re Just Holding it Wrong

Remember this photograph tweeted last week by @weaksauce12? It shows the strange purple flaring reported by many iPhone 5 users, which is being called everything from “purple haze”, to “the Hendrix effect”, to “Purplegate”. Fingers were pointed at everything from the phone’s new sapphire lens to the infrared filter — or supposed lack of — inside.

If you were patently waiting for a fix, you’ll be disappointed to know that there doesn’t appear to be one on the horizon: Apple is saying that the excessive purple flaring behavior is “normal”.

Gizmodo has obtained an email sent to iPhone 5 owner Matt Van Gastel by the company’s AppleCare Support department:

Our engineering team just gave me this information and we recommend that you angle the camera away from the bright light source when taking pictures. The purple flare in the image provided is considered normal behavior for iPhone 5’s camera.

So it appears that capturing bright light sources as purple is actually just another characteristic of the phone.

Don’t want your photos to look like your finger slipped on the tint slider during post-processing? Simply “angle your camera away” from all bright sources of light. If you ever want to add some artsy sunbeams to your images, you’ll simply have to get used to the fact that sometimes the sun is purple.

Image credits: Photograph by @weaksauce12. Screenshot by Matt Van Gastel/Gizmodo

  • Dustin Farrell

    Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

  • PhotoShark

    haha….i see they are going back to the “you are holding it wrong” excuse again. yeesh.

  • Christopher Michael

    I guess this hurts for photogs…I’ll keep my iPhone 4S…

  • Mark Wheadon

    I feel a Prince song coming on… Wait, I don’t think that was sun? ;-)

  • Olaf Arisson

    get the Samsung Galaxy s3, Samsung don’t lie to ya

  • Alex

    well obviously it will have lens flare… its not exactly a precision optic.
    All phones do this and you are an idiot if you place the sun just outside the frame then complain about lens flare.
    Better to worry about why you just spent £550 on a phone.

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    Samsung have lied to many people, ask the Indian tech bloggers who were left in Germany after their return flights were taken away from them. Samsung promised them free flights to and from a tech show to review their products but surprised the bloggers when they arrived by telling them that they would be wearing Samsung outfits, standing at their booth and selling Samsung products. Of course the bloggers said NO because they are independent reviewers and were not biased to one brand or another. Samsung knew this before they took them to Germany yet threatened to leave them there if they said no and that’s exactly what they did. Samsung are a terrible company. (But so are Apple, Foxconn anyone?)

  • Maria

    apple is always saying it´s the fault of their dumb users…. and i tend to agree.

  • Dave

    If you want an Apple tech to look at it, just navigate to the nearest Apple outlet by using the ‘Maps’ feature on the iPhone5…..oh wait, never mind.

  • jeremyalb4

    Haha iphone suck samsung s3 is so much better

  • Roy

    Haha language skill suck paying attention in class is so much better

  • Jordan S

    The problem is a little overblown. Yes, it flares purple with a source JUST on the edge of the frame. Move the camera very slightly, and it goes away entirely. And that’s either direction. Put the source a little more in the frame, no purple. Put it a little more out…no purple. Frankly, I didn’t notice it before seeing an article on it because the situations that cause it are generally poorly composed photos. I don’t think I’ve intentionally ever put a light source at the very edge of the frame…it’s distracting when placed there.

  • Mark Dub

    Well crap.. I have 2 important weddings coming up, as well as a commercial shoot. All at sunset. I guess i’ll have to buy another cell phone to take pics with.


  • 3123123213

    as if it would change something on your 0815 images.. in fact purple fringing woudl give it something special….

  • Dave Polak

    My Iphone 4S does the same thing and I’ve seen other mobile/smart phones do this as well. I’m not worried as I never use the phone as a serious camera.

  • Chris Lyn

    Good one!

  • Chris Lyn

    Funny I never heard Apple say that you won’t get lens flares if you put a bright light source at the edge of your composition.

  • Jake

    Haha making fun of language skills of a person when you don’t know anything about them or whether English is even their first language makes assholes feel so much better

  • Dana Andrews

    I recently saw an image very similar to the example being used for the purpling. The sun in this other image was a warm welcoming yellow with no evidence of purple. It really was a great picture. It is a shame that the iPhone cannot do this but look, how many images do you need that in? For the guy doing the wedding… Are you kidding me!?! Doing a wedding with an iPhone? I use $15,000 worth of photographic equipment and I am not considered a full service photographer (no video team). If you are using an iPhone for a wedding then they have a professional there. Get copies.

  • runs with scissors

    I prefer oranges to apples. Just a non conformist I suppose.

  • runs with scissors

    You are right, I’m sure that Samsung purposely withheld that information from those poor souls to entrap them into working the booth. (Eyes rolling)

  • Nick Nieto

    It’s just flare…deal with it. People should stop whining about stupid crap.

  • Denver Engagement Photographer

    Yes, it’s normal. And the Washington Monument is over there…

  • seanlucky

    Um, pretty sure that person was being sarcastic…

  • Choen Lee

    Here comes the sun little darlin’….here comes the sun….
    I say, it’s all right, it’s all hahahahahhahaha

  • 9inchnail

    The old Apple strategy: “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature”

    In this case: built-in Instagram.

  • mko

    How typical

  • Daniel Morelli


  • Chahk Noir

    Can’t fix that with a bumper.

  • Bryan Dobson

    Strange. 400+ 4S photos and not a single one with this purple haze. Checking the 30 I have with the 5 I could 6 already with haze. Odd.

  • Trevor Ford

    AHAHA it’s like the antenna all over again. “Oh no our product isn’t broken, you’re holding it wrong.” Can’t wait for when they start shipping out camera bumpers to everyone.