Shooting photos has become second nature to most iPhone enthusiasts, particularly since iPhones have some of the best mobile phone cameras in existence. But mobile phone cameras — just like standalone cameras — can be noisy, and each iPhone camera is accompanied by a shutter click that plays whenever you snap a photo. But sometimes that sound is both unneeded and unwanted. If you’re attending a meeting, or in a crowded room, you may prefer to shoot photos in silence. Thankfully, you can turn off the iPhone camera sound in most countries. Here’s how to do it, and why you may not be able to turn it off in some locations.
Turn on Live Photos
One of the easiest ways to shut down camera sound is to enable Live Photos in the iPhone Camera app. When Live Photos is turned on, your shutter sound is turned off by default. In iOS 14, the Live Photos control is the series of circles at the top right of the screen. First tap to switch it on, and then tap the arrow at the top middle to fine-tune the control to Auto, On, or Off. Then go ahead and photograph silently.
In iOS 13, the Live Photos control is located second from the top left.
When the Live Photos button is yellow, that means it’s on. When the button is white, that means it’s off. Live Photos differs from regular photos in that it saves a small video for every shot you take and that takes up more space than other photos. If you don’t need live photos on all the time, be sure to tap to switch it off.
Use the mute switch
Another easy way to mute iPhone camera sound is to use the ring/silent switch on the upper left-hand side. When you flick the switch to mute, you’ll feel the iPhone vibrate and see a notification signaling the switch. Turning off the ringer mutes all notifications, incoming calls, and other alerts, so although you may want to use this control judiciously, it’s great to know about if you need to quickly turn all sound off.
Turn down the volume
What can you do if the silent switch isn’t working? If you’re having problems getting your silent switch to cooperate, turning down the volume is the next best thing. Do that by using the volume button on the left-hand side of the phone. Just hold it down until you see the volume drop all the way down. But you have to do it at the right time. Here’s why: In iOS 13, if you do it while you’re in the camera app, it will start taking pictures in burst mode. If you do the same in iOS 14, the Camera will start shooting video. Yikes.
The real trick is to reduce the volume before you open up the Camera app and get started with it. Alternatively, while you’re still hanging out in the Camera app, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen (in iOS 13) or swipe down from the top right-hand corner (iOS 14) to reach the Control Center. Once you’re here, you can decrease the loudness.
In some countries, prominently Japan and South Korea, the camera shutter sound remains on all the time. Shutter muting is not allowed, as phones bought and sold there are customized for those markets to guarantee total privacy and stop unknown recording or photo taking. Although it’s not an actual law, producers and Japanese wireless providers have agreed to create phones in this way so that they make a distinguishing noise whenever you open up and use the camera. If you’re living or visiting these specific countries, your camera app will still produce noise even if you mute your iPhone device.
There are a few potential workarounds, such as muffling the sound by covering the speaker as you shoot. You can also use the headphone jack and capture photos using your headphone as a shutter. You can use third-party camera applications rather than your iPhone’s default Camera app. One other option is to utilize the volume buttons on your iPhone as shutter buttons. If you’re taking pictures legally and not infringing on anyone’s privacy in these nations, we suggest you give it a try.