The iPhone 5′s new camera is supposed to be incredibly amazing with improved low-light performance and a fancy crystal sapphire lens that is less prone to scratching, but for many users though, the new camera is having a weird issue where a purple halo or flare splashes across a photo when a bright light source is just outside the frame, and there’s no way to get rid of it.
Lens flair is a common occurrence with all camera lenses, but it’s generally not purple and this issue never happened with the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s which is why many iPhone 5 users have been upset by the purple halo discovery.
To test your own iPhone 5 for the purple flare issue, aim your iPhone 5 camera towards a bright light source, then move the camera so the light source is off-screen. Look for a purple halo, flare, or haze emanating from the direction of the off-screen light source.
The purple flare defect was first reported on Anandtech’s forums and appears to be fairly widespread. We tried it out on our iPhone 5s and experienced the issue on a couple of our cameras, while some users have reported to have no issue at all.
At this point it’s unclear whether the cause of the purple flare stems, but a popular theory is that the issue is coming from the Sapphire lens. Sapphire comes in a range of colors and the halo might be cause by light refracting through purple sapphire lenses.
Some iPhone 5 camera enthusiasts have commented that Apple has changed the noise on photos from speckles to smearing, and that this may cause the purple halo effect to be more pronounced in photos. We reached out to Apple for comment this morning on the issue but have yet to receive an official reply related to this issue.
Here’s a video example and more pictures of the iPhone 5 purple flare: