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Anti-reflective coating on iPhone camera lense wearing off

12179 Views 33 Replies Latest reply: Dec 10, 2007 7:44 PM by Daniel Collins RSS
  • shinchanwu Calculating status...
    hey guys, i have the same problem on my lens.

    it's the AR coating that's wearing off on the lens to cause the problem. and i used to work in the lab for an optometrist, so i know that those AR coatings (anti-reflective) are very delicate, and they cannot endure high heat. when your iphone's lens is exposed to excessive amount of sun light of heat, the AR coating will crack, and the only way to fix this is re-coat the AR coating.

    i don't know how apple is going to fix this problem because i am sure everybody's iphone will have chances to be under heat and sunlight, and this problem will occur very often.....
    XP, Windows XP
  • MegaBit Level 2 Level 2 (440 points)
    The coating on mine started to flake off only a week or two after I got it back in early July. This iPhone is always in a case designed for it with a microfiber interior and I only clean it with a microfiber cloth.
    PowerMac G5, PowerBook G4, MBP, iPods, & iPhone, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • gthompson1245 Calculating status...
    You can use pure Isopropyl Alcohol on a Q-tip to remove any fingerprints, dust and any oils on the iPhone's lens cover. The odds of it being the AR coating are low, however you can remove the coating with Alcohol.
    Mac Pro 8 Core, Mac OS X (10.4.10), 8GB RAM 2 TB
  • WhyPhone Calculating status...
    Mine started flaking off after about 2 weeks. I keep it in the pocket of my jeans all day at work and the thing gets pretty polished by being there. It really blurred my photos. I am happy to report that now all of the AR coating has flaked off and my pictures are back to normal. I can't tell the difference between my pics with AR and without, but when I had blotches of semiflaked AR on the lens, my pictures were pretty bad.
    Macbook 2.0, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • Andrew Harris1 Level 1 Level 1 (90 points)
    I have this problem too. I live in Canada and I have unlocked my phone so I can't return it. I read on this site that the AR coating can be removed using a glass etching solution. The caveat is this will only work with plastic lenses... does anybody know with any certainty that the lens in the iphone is plastic? I would assume so but with apple you never know. The touch screen is glass.

    Anyway for tips for removing the AR coating...

    http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf947057.tip.html
    Macbook Pro 17
  • SergeMerov Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I really wouldn't try it with a plastic-only solution. The chances of the lens being plastic are very, very small in my opinion. Maybe it's just because I've seen few or no plastic camera lenses, but it seems that if they're willing to make the screen out of breakable glass to enhance the clarity over plastic, they would do the same with the lens. Remember the 5Gen ipod faces? It would really suck if your lens was that scratched, no?
    Macbook 13", Mac Pro, 30" Cinema Display, iphone, Mac OS X (10.4.10), I <3 Macs.
  • David M Brewer Level 6 Level 6 (9,180 points)
    Having worked with lens that are coated (Astronomical). I would say leave the coating alone. These coatings are very thin. Missing some of the coating should not make the image blurry.

    Using an etch to remove the coating would probably distort the lens. The above link for an etch was used on eyeglasses. Eyeglasses and the lens in the iPhone are completely two different types of lenses. Eyeglasses are correcting lens and the iPhone lens is a focusing lens.

    Since the iPhone lens is exposed all the time these coatings should start to flake away...it's common.

    As for using pure alcohol...may be a few cap full' in a bottle of distilled water.

    As for seeing defects in your photos... Nah...not from the coatings.

    my 2 cents.
    g-4 1.2 gig 1.5 gigs of ram, 2-21" Sony monitors, Mac OS X (10.4.10), Quicktime 7.2-FCS-Flash MX2004 Professional-Dreamweaver MX2004
  • Larry Wiezycki Calculating status...
    Definitely there will be defects in your photos from the coating coming off the lens. That was how I noticed my problem in the first place. The lens itself was clean - but the coating was gone and it was messing up the image. This was so pronounced that turning on the photo app and holding it next to another iPhone with an intact (and clean) lens for comparison showed white haloing and blooming around light/dark contrast areas of virtually any image.

    As for an unlocked phone I'd just reflash it as far back to stock as you can and take it in for service. Apple is just going to end up repairing and reflashing the phone to resell it as a refurb anyways. True they won't service you if you don't have an AT&T account activated with that iPhone but only you can decide if a $500 device is worth scrapping one of its cool features in order to have a cellular plan on another carrier. Apple has stated that they will not support your iPhone if it stops functioning due to unauthorized software being loaded onto the phone.

    BUT no 3rd party software or SIM unlock that I'm aware of has the ability to affect the AR coating on the camera lens. However, if you demonstrate the problem while snapping a picture of an Apple Genius while using the iPirate program - well, then you're taking your own chances there.
    MacBookPro 2.16 CoreDuo / 2GB, Mac OS X (10.4.9), M-Audio FW-410
  • JamesChow Calculating status...
    I got the iPhone as a gift and i'm having the same problem. Do I need to bring the receipt to the Apple store?

    Is there any way I can just remove the coating completely, I don't really use the camera, but the blotchyness really gets to me.
  • Judge Mental Calculating status...
    I also have this issue. I stared to notice that the quality of my pictures was becoming poor. I thought it was just a dirty lens but it appears to be more than that. It's too bad they didn't make the lens out of the same material they made the screen out of.

    I wonder if its worth getting fixed? After all.... *wont the new one run into this same problem?*
    iMac, iPhone, all Mac since the 80's, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • holocent Calculating status...
    I am having this issue as well :/ I have only had the phone since October 7th, and it has been in a case with a nice lip around the camera window. I have no idea how it happened. With the phone being so new in my case, just barely over a month now, should I attempt taking it into an Apple store tomorrow, and what are my chances of walking out with a phone tomorrow vs waiting for a repair/replacement from warranty? Thanks for the advice here! - nat
    Windows XP
  • edwinsail Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    I, sadly, have the same experience with the lens being blotched and not half as clear as it was a month ago when I bought it. I guess I'll have to visit my local Apple store for advice. I even used Apple's iKlear on it, and tried gently cleaning it with a Q-tip, but to no avail.
    Mac 24" Intel Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.5.1), Mac user since 1986
  • Analoglife Calculating status...
    Same problem - glad I found this thread before I started poking around the edges with an xActo knife trying to find the edge of a suspected plastic packing shield .... I will have to see if I can tolerated any visible aberrations in my typical photos before I mix it up with Apple.
    Many, Windows Vista

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