Camera app

Most Android device manufacturers provide a customized version of the Android Camera app, but these still tend to support a basic set of configuration options.

Accessing the Camera app settings

  • Open your device's Camera app
  • Find the Settings (gear icon) menu

Common settings

Picture size

The Picture size determines the resolution, in pixels, of the images that your camera saves on your device. The higher the resolution, the more detail will be retained in the images. Most devices with both a front and rear camera will have a separate Picture size setting for each. In general, it is best to leave these at the setting with the highest number of pixels.

This control may also influence the aspect ratio of the pictures taken with the Camera app - that is, the ratio of height to width. However, if you select any aspect ratio other than the one provided by the highest resolution setting, you will not be using the full area of your camera's sensor, equivalent to cropping the image after taking it.

You may reduce the Picture size if you like to take lots of photos and have very little storage space on your device. Otherwise, it is best to leave it at maximum.

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Video size

This setting determines the resolution of videos you record in the Camera app. It is the video equivalent to the Picture size setting.

The maximum resolution you can select here will be determined by the device's video capability. Some devices support UHD (Ultra High Definition, sometimes also called "4K") video mode which uses 3840x2160 pixels. This mode consumes a lot of storage on your device and uses a lot of battery power while recording, so even if your device supports this you may want to select the next lower resolution, FHD (1920x1080), for general video recording.

Timer

The Timer setting allows you to set a delay between pressing the button to take a photo, and the photo being taken. This can be used when you would like to take a photo of yourself and have time to get into position before the photo is taken. It is most useful when you can rest your device on a surface or mount it on a tripod or similar, to ensure it can stand in the correct position on its own.

Grid lines

The Grid lines setting turns on the display of horizontal and vertical lines over the top of the image within the Camera app. The lines do not appear in saved images.

These lines can assist in ensuring your camera level, and they can also serve as a reminder to position subjects according to the photographic rule of thirds, whereby images can be more interesting if their main subject is not in the center but off to the side, about one third in.

As well as a grid, this setting may allow you to enable a cropping guide, such as a square (1:1) guide, which overlays a square over the image to signify what would remain after cropping the image to a square. Again, the guide does not appear in saved images, and this does not crop the saved image.

Location tags

When enabled, this setting saves you current geographical location into the image file, allowing image viewers to later see where in the world the image was taken. This is saved in the form of metadata embedded into the file, which is not visible in the image.

This is a convenience feature, but also carries a privacy penalty: anyone you share your saved images with may also see where it was taken. When enabling this setting you should be careful to understand which ways of sharing images will allow the receiver to view this location data.

Review pictures

Immediately after you take a picture, this setting determines whether the picture you just took will be displayed on the screen for you to check. When disabled, you may still see an animation indicating that a picture is taken but the result will not be shown in the viewing screen, which will go back immediately to previewing the scene ready to take another photo.

Even you have Review pictures turned on, you should still be able to take another photo while the last one is on screen.

Storage location

On devices that can accept microSD cards for added storage space, this setting allows you to choose whether to use the device's internal storage or the microSD card to store your images. If you have one, it's often good to use the card because photos, and especially videos, can occupy a large amount of space and having space on your device's internal storage is required for the smooth operation of other important aspects of your Android system.

Changing this setting will not move images you have already taken but will affect where new images are saved to.

If the storage space on your microSD card fills up, your camera may change this setting to your device storage, and won't change it back if you clear your microSD card, so be sure to check setting is switched back again after clearing or replacing your card.

For the purposes of this setting "SD card" refers to the storage card even if it is technically a "microSD card".