How to use the second camera on the iPhone 7 Plus

The iPhone 7 Plus comes with an additional camera module around back. Here's what you need to know about how it works and how to use it.

Taylor Martin CNET Contributor
Taylor Martin has covered technology online for over six years. He has reviewed smartphones for Pocketnow and Android Authority and loves building stuff on his YouTube channel, MOD. He has a dangerous obsession with coffee and is afraid of free time.
Taylor Martin
2 min read
Sarah Tew/CNET

The biggest difference between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus isn't the size -- it's the camera. The 7 Plus includes two 12-megapixel cameras that fire off when you capture a photo, giving you one superimage.

But that's not all the second camera is for.

The two cameras are fitted with different lenses. One is a 28mm f1.8 wide angle lens and the other is a 56mm f2.8 lens, which Apple refers to as telephoto. As CNET's Lori Grunin explains, this isn't technically telephoto, but it does allow you to zoom in on your subject without degrading the quality like digital zoom does.

Switching cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus

Screenshot by Taylor Martin/CNET

So how do you even use the second camera on the iPhone 7 Plus? If you've tinkered in the camera app at all, you may have activated the second camera by accident without even knowing it.

To select the camera with the 56mm f2.8 "telephoto" lens, open Camera and tap the circle icon above the on-screen shutter button that says 1x. It will then say change to show 2x, which lets you know you're shooting at 56mm.

Zooming further

This doesn't affect your ability to use digital zoom like before either. To zoom beyond 2x, you can either:

  • Pinch within the viewfinder to zoom in or out.
  • Place your finger over the 1x logo and slide up and down (or left and right, depending on the orientation of the phone) to adjust the zoom level.

Zooming past 2x will degrade the quality of the photo as the optical zoom stops there. Beyond 2x, the camera is really only cropping the photo in real time (using digital zoom), rather than zooming in any further.