Not long after Apple launched its latest iPhone, complaints started creeping up around the Web of a purple haze that would appear in certain photos, more often than not ruining it. In a message to one customer, AppleCare stated that it was considered to be normal behavior, and that the recommend course of action would be to point the camera away from light sources. Following-up, Apple has publicly released information stating the same.
Apple still believes that this isn’t a reason for concern, and goes on to state that this problem isn’t unique to its iPhone 5. Instead, most “small cameras” are affected: “ Most small cameras, including those in every generation of iPhone, may exhibit some form of flare at the edge of the frame when capturing an image with out-of-scene light sources.“
This may be true, but the fact of the matter is, this really hasn’t been a popular issue until the iPhone 5, where the issue is pretty common. From what I’ve been able to see from tests that have been conducted (so far), no one has taken an identical photo alongside the iPhone 5 where both phones exhibited the same issue.
In some photos, the effect is hardly avoidable – it could potentially dominate the photo. The purple color is similar to that seen with a chromatic aberration effect, although that typically affects only edges.
If you own an iPhone 5, you’re likely out-of-luck with a fix, aside from forcing yourself to shoot away from bright light sources. And it’s important to note, while this issue is rather severe (in my opinion), you might not ever notice it. Chock it up to “Antennagate”, where some had the issues and others never did.